Napoleon’s Impact on Modern Multiculturalism

An anon talks about the impact of French history and Napoleon on multiculturalism as we know it today:


Was mostly fucked up by France, the way I read history. Damn France.

Prior to the French Revolution, Europe was pretty cool about this. If the King of Hungary or whatever happened to have a ghetto city that was majority Spanish, cool, more taxes for the King of Hungary.

Because back then, “army” basically meant whatever mercenary company the King had hired with those taxes. There were almost no standing armies until a few centuries ago. The Vatican still works this way: it rents the private military contractors known as the Swiss Guard

multicultural state napoleon armyThen along comes the French Revolution, shouting DEATH TO THE KING, and in the process of abolishing the monarchy, abolishes the separation of army and state. (Chew on that for a minute.) Formerly, the people paid taxes to the King and the King used the taxes as he saw fit, to build a palace, to hire mercenaries, to buy the Netherlands, or to sponsor a [space]ship to discover a new world. But now, the army was the people; every man of age might find himself drafted “for the people” and “in the public interest” and so forth.

Then Napoleon comes along and fucks shit up even worse by actually drafting every man of age he can get his hands on, resulting in what’s known as the Grande Armée. Most of which dies when he invades Russia, but in the meantime, he’s invading half of Europe and the other European powers have to scramble to get their own draft in order before they get zerg rushed.

Between these two French fuckups, the hypothetical city of Spanish expats in Hungary has become a massive liability. Instead of providing taxes for an army, it now has to provide soldiers. Spanish soldiers. Which might have difficulty integrating with the mostly-Hungarian draft army replacing the mercenaries, never mind how bad this could get if Hungary finds itself at war with Spain. Suddenly those expats aren’t taxpaying subjects anymore, but a potential fifth column.

Which means that local culture and oddities and expats have to be ruthlessly crushed, integrated, their identity rewritten. New “nationalisms” are invented on the spot, Greater France incorporating a lot of subcultures like the Burgundians, Britain suppressing the Scots then drafting them, etc.

In a saner world, people might have agreed that the general draft was a wicked thing, and signed a treaty mutually forbidding it, much like the use of poison gas. The French Revolution would have been put down and Napoleon would have been hung for war crimes. But he wasn’t, and now we have to live with the consequences: giant standing armies, giant casualty rates, giant drafts, and the flattening of culture into cheap chalupas and novelty sombreros.

The above essay mentions how subcultures and expats would be treated with suspicion during war times in a modern “nationalist” country after the cultural impact of Napoleon’s Grande Armée.  That’s absolutely what happened with the Japanese internment camps in the US during WWII.  It’s interesting how events from one nation hundreds of years ago can influence the events in another nation on a different continent.

On a personal level, I’ve always understood that nations generally want subcultures to integrate and assimilate in the main culture.  It’s such a common and universally promoted idea that I simply treated it as common sense without ever even questioning where it might have came from.  This essay shone a light on that and has certainly given me plenty of food for thought on this subject matter.

Original screen cap:

multicultural state napoleon

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