Or tea, as the case may be.
‘The revolution will eat its children’. But it’s interesting to think why autosarcophagarchy – that is, rule by self-cannibals – should be such a typical form of revolutionary decline. (Do you like my new word? I think I’ll teach it to my daughter.)
There’s shouldn’t be a problem in principle with being an idealist – i.e. having some vision of what an ideal state would be like that is radically at odds with actually existing reality. Whether it be True Communism or True Conservatism or what have you. Practicing revolutionaries should be able to talk the 1st best talk while walking the 2nd best walk. But there is, I suppose, something inherently maddening about that position, both to the one who assumes it and for spectators. The distance between real and ideal is so great that the practical negotiation of it can never look like an expression of what you have been talking about it, hence can’t look like prudent trimming. So it can’t help looking like rank hypocrisy to enemies and vile betrayal to friends.
This is accentuated by the rhetoric of naturalness that goes with utopianism. ‘Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains.’ Or in Obamacare, as the case may be. If the desirable state of affairs is so natural, and the actual state of affairs so horrible, it really seems the rickety structure ought to fall over if you push it. So therefore you ought to do so.
Of course, the case is a bit more complicated when the Robespierres in question were only ever recreational Robespierres to begin with. Napoleons of Notting Hill, not Napoleons. But the dynamic is much the same. (But you are bored with me quoting G. K. Chesterton, so I’ll cut it out.)