How long will this last? How much can you take? Do you have a line that won’t be crossed? Do you have a budget for direct action?
Even within the sanitized discretion of our modern parlance the questions, and the situation, bring to mind the passionate, confused, committed young man Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just. As this article notes, and you might read about him and his extended, late-eighteenth century moment,
When Victor Hugo in his 1862 novel, Les Misérables, described the young student Enjolras, who leads the climatic fight on the barricade, as having ‘too much of Saint-Just’ about him, his readers knew what that meant. A few years earlier, Hugo’s contemporary and fellow countryman, the great republican historian Jules Michelet, described Saint-Just as ‘the archangel of death’, a phrase that encapsulated the legend of the unnaturally beautiful and cold-bloodedly terrible Saint-Just.
So the question may be, do you have enough Saint-Just about you?
Image: Saint-Just in a portrait by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, 1793. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon