My dear friends at Breitbart London seem slightly-bemused by a historian’s description of Napoleon as a modern liberal, proto-EU poster child. A modern liberal, however, is precisely what Napoleon was; initially a supporter of the Jacobins, he was a child of the Enlightenment, an eager partisan of progress and modernity, which is of course precisely why he needed to be stopped.
One look at Napoleon’s record as a civil ruler is enough to make any gentleman of sound political mind and opinion cringe. That accursed Corsican scoundrel instituted numerous liberal reforms, eradicated the last remnants of the feudal system in France, and consolidated and strengthened sate power at the expense of the Catholic Church. Moreover, his conquering armies spread secularisation, liberalisation, and nationalism wherever they went, the consequences of which we are still dealing with today. (more…)