Time Essay: The Dynamics of Revolution

Edmund Burke cast an indignant eye across the English Channel at the French Revolution and wrote sarcastically: "Amidst assassination, massacre and confiscation, they are forming plans for the good order of future society." Burke was the prototype of skepticism about certain revolutions. Since the French Terror, history has paraded past too many Utopian dramas of transformation that ended by being as totalitarian, as murderous, as the regimes that they swept away—triumphs of hopeful zealotry over experience. Stalin turned the Russian Revolution into a self-devouring machine that crushed its own in the basement...

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