11:23 AM

(1) Comments

In Response to Napoleon the Little..

Mister Nizz

I sometimes get such a good comment that it's a shame to bury it back in the comments section, next to the obits and car sales. This one was from Otto, concerning the recent piece on the move to get Napoleon III's remains back to France.

(Dear Mister Nizz)

The question turns on this. Is this"amour propre" or forgiveness.

If the latter, one must ask at what point is forgiveness given or witheld. Let us remember that Hitler restored German self-confidence, sparked, the economy, and made the trains run on time. He loved kids and dogs too-- and his mother loved him.

Louis Napoleon in addition to his architectural and city planning triumphs of Paris, also inaugurated the "institutionalized corruption" that has troubled France ever since- his comment to his supprters "Enrich yourselves" was of course at the expense of the public till. He did create a police state and he not only exercised remarkable ineptness in the Franco-Prussian War, but involved France in the expensive and embarrassing imbroglio in Mexico.

But beyond that, one must ask if the desire to return the remains to France involves an almost "Orewellian" rewriting of the history of Napoleon the little.
In either case if there is to be forgiveness than it cannot be at the price of that, and it must be forgiveness in full recognition of his shortcomings. How he got to be in an abbey chapel in England is part of that history.

To return his remains to France and recraft a legend around his revamping paris and making it the tourist capital it was, and ignoring the devastating effects of his regieme is an exercise in "Never-Never-Landism" that would make even the Illusionists of Disney Cringe.

It would however be an exercise in "amoour propre" entirely fitting for Louis Napoleon who if he was anything was the poster boy for "amour propre."


By the way, he made those broad boulevards and straight streets not for aesthetic pleasure or future tourist viewing- he did it so that artillery could command the streets of Paris and shoot down Frenchmen who tried to revolt. That's one reason he macadamed the steets too! To do away with the cobblestones that the Parisians threw up as barricades in revolt.