One day the peasants seems properly pacified, and the next day they’re executing aristocrats. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. From Fred Reed on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:
It is easy to underestimate the peasantry, the little people. They appear well under control. All seems calm, unless one looks carefully. The means of control work smoothly: the legions, the church, the media, the secret police, the enforcers of political correctness. The serfs are cowed. Why worry about a distant peonage? Do we not have our castles? Let us dance and drink champagne.
And comes the guillotine.
I know three young women of exceptional intelligence and talent, all of them mature and disciplined. They cannot find jobs. It is not from lack of trying, far from it. One of them is married to a hard-working man in a highly technical field usually associated with wealth. He is paid a low hourly wage and forced to work on contract, meaning that he has neither benefits nor retirement. His employers know that if he leaves, they can easily find another to take his place. They have him where they want him.
Which may prove a mistake.
Yet this is become a pattern. In a country that prides itself on wealth and justice and boundless opportunity, none of these things actually exists except for our Bourbons. The rich in their palaces in Manhattan and Santa Clara prosper mightily, often by impoverishing the rest. It has happened many times in history. The results have been similar.
The guillotine was devised as a humanitarian measure to cut off a criminal’s head cleanly, the ax-wielding headsmen of the time being notorious for missed strokes and subsequent horror. When the meek and mild peasantry rose in 1789, proving to be less meek and mild than believed, the humanitarian aspects of the instrument were forgotten. The populace just wanted to see their betters bleed. They saw.
In the United States of today, clouds gather as the royalty toast each other with expensive wines. In numbers that a half century ago would have seemed impossible, the American young live with their parents, being unable to find jobs to support themselves. Waitressing in a good bar pays better in tips than a woman with a college degree can otherwise earn, assuming that she can earn anything at all. Employers having learned to hire them as individual contractors, they move into their thirties with no hope of a pension for their old age.
Desperation and hatred are close cousins.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon makes spaceships and buys the Washington Post as a toy and the newspapers have reported that a Croesus of Wall Street has bought a Modigliani, it may have been, for $55 million dollars.
Marie didn’t actually say, “Let them eat cake,” but might well have. Instead they ate her. But it can’t happen here. Oh no.
The homeless in San Francisco are now described as “a plague.” There seem to be ever more of them. But not to worry. Never worry. The stock market remains exuberant. In nearby Silicon Valley, a man buys a new Lamborghini every year.
The Russians simply shot their royal family in a basement in Ekaterinburg. The Romanovs, or at least those Romanovs, were actually nice people, very much an Ozzie and Harriet family. Perhaps if you met Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates or Elon Musk, you would find them charming, even decnet. They probably give money to charity. So did Andrew Carnegie. The Romanovs just didn’t pay enough attention. Neither, perhaps, do newer Romanovs.
To continue reading: Paris, 1787: It Reaches Manhattan, Doubtless Due to Continental Drift