Erb's Thermodynamic Theory of Revolution

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I had a Political Science professor once by the name of Erb, who one day articulated what he called his Thermodynamic Theory of Revolution. This theory turns on the simple observation that if you look around the world at the dates that various revolutions and independence movements arose, a remarkable number of them — including ours — happened during the hot months of Summer.

The Declaration of Independence, Bastille Day, Cuba’s “26th of July Movement,” the August uprising by Solidarność at the Gdansk shipyard that triggered the fall of World Communism… all these things happened when people were hot. And bothered. Perhaps there really is some substance to the term “rebellious hothead.”

I will confess that Erb’s Thermodynamic Theory of Revolution has not held a lot of practical significance for me. I doubt I’ve thought about it twice since I was a college freshman. This is after all The Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave. We don’t have much need for revolutions.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately though. Mostly because we have recently acquired a remarkable number of state and local officials who are giving expression to their Inner Hitler. Most of us have long suspected that the sort of people who are drawn to political office have that sort of streak inside them. Usually they keep it hidden. This year, it is marching around the stage in a costume with a drum.  Which is starting to interfere with the whole business of this being The Land of the Free. I notice a large and growing number of people getting hot. And bothered. By that.


I’m on the West coast of Florida. It’s 90 degrees here today. I figure the rest of you will be along shortly. Not that Erb was a genius or anything, but I don’t think the politicians have a lot more time to put Hitler back in the box. The people won’t be coming to overthrow the government… that’s not what they want. What they want is for the government they have to go back in its cage.


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