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The age of chivalry is gone ~ Edmund Burke

In political science, a reactionary or a reactionist is a person who holds some views that favor a return to the status quo ante—the previous political state of society—which the person believes was better in some ways that are absent from contemporary society. As a descriptor term, reactionary derives from the ideological context of the left–right political spectrum. As an adjective, the word reactionary describes points of view and policies meant to restore a status quo ante.


  • Dilator, spe longus, iners, avidusque futuri,
    Difficilis, querulus, laudator temporis acti
    Se puero, censor castigatorque minorum,
    • Inert, irresolute, his neck he cranes
      Into the future, grumbles and complains;
      Extols his own young years with peevish praise,
      But rates and censures these degenerate days.
  • It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in—glittering like the morning star, full of life, and splendour, and joy. Oh! what a Revolution! And what a heart must I have to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honour, and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever.
    • Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
  • Malheureuse France, malheureux roi!
    • Unhappy France, unhappy king!
      • Étienne Béquet, Journal des Débats (10 August 1829). Last words of an article provoked by the substitution of the reactionary Polignac ministry for the moderate and conciliatory policy of Martignac’s cabinet. The culprit himself escaped punishment, Bertin, the editor of the Débats, having taken the entire responsibility of the publication on himself, for which he was sentenced to six months imprisonment and a fine of 500 francs. Cited in: Classical and Foreign Quotations (1904), no. 1479
  • Les temps ne sont pas difficiles: ils sont impossibles.
    • The times are not difficult, they are impossible.
      • Anonymous. The saying is ascribed to Montlosier, and, if really due to his initiation, may possibly belong to the accession of Charles X and the reactionary (clerical) policy which followed. Cited in: Classical and Foreign Quotations (1904), no. 3074

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