While posting a comment in response to another commenters observation that the Iranian Revolution of 1979 was the work of the middle class, I posted the following. It's a good summation on my thoughts on revolution in general and deserve to be reprinted here.
@ Gordo. Absolutely true. Rutgers University, where I went in the Seventies was filled with Iranian foreign exchange students. almost all were anti-Shah from what I could tell. Quite a few are living here still, with deep chagrin. Or perhaps they're not wise enough to see how they played into the hands of the Mullahs.
The fall of Iran is just one more example, like the French Revolution, of the middle class and lower nobility reforming themselves into oblivion. Dictators usually fall when the business class give up on them. So it was in the case of Nicaragua. The revolution begins but is then hi-jacked by Commies, Islamic extremists, or as in the case of Russia by minority oligarchs.
Starting a revolution or a reform for that matter is usually a dangerous move. Reasonable people are rarely capable of prevailing in the tempest they call up. It's the hard men with unlimited objectives that win.
That's why helping the Syrian opposition is so foolish. However awful Assad may be, he is very unlikely to be followed by anyone who is not considerably worse.
I think we Americans have a hard time seeing this clearly, since our revolution turned out so much better. We are blessed that our founders were so moderate and averse to savage temptations. Just so, Robert E. Lee setting his face against continuing the Civil War as a guerrilla war.
The late Malcolm Muggeridge remarked that the crucial word association in "Revolution" was "To Revolve." That is, in the revolutionary context, to move ahead only to find yourself in the same place. That always stayed with me, as with age, I notice how little changes for the better no matter how furious we plunge ahead with "Change."
As above, the tragic consequence of middle classes everywhere is to assume that the civil and social ground on which they stand is firm. This leads them to tinker with mechanisms that support their own survival.
How obvious it seemed in the Fifties and Sixties to upset the constitutional principle of free association and freedom of contract in favor of government imposed racial equality. Equality today is as elusive as ever, but are the rest of us truly free anymore? In the Mid-Sixties many thought that we should open up our borders to the world rather than the wellsprings of our own patrimony. The white population that allowed that to happen will very soon be supplanted.
And so it goes, the comfortable extinguishing themselves on the altar of good intentions.