• New Registration

    To become a member of JackpineRadicals please see post: https://jackpineradicals.com/boards/topic/join-jackpine-radicals/

Home Main Forums General Discussion Some echoes of 1780s France in 2016 America.

  • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
    Moderator

    Some echoes of 1780s France in 2016 America.

    According to Peter McPhee, in Liberty or Death: The French Revolution, there were 18 newspapers in France in 1745. By 1780 there were 82, by 1789 there were a lot more, plus a large number of new periodicals and magazines that reached well over half the French population by 1788. The royal government had tried to suppress a lot of them, but they’d just reappear somewhere else. My point is that there was an entirely new medium of news, information, and propaganda that came into being in the decades before the French Revolution, and their influence had spread geometrically before the events of 1789.

    France also had an exceedingly complicated system by which the rentier ruling class, which amounted to about 1% of the population, extracted wealth from the bottom 99%. There were tolls and custom duties for trading goods across provincial, city, and town boundaries(Paris alone had dozens of customs stations set up on every road going into or out of the city in 1789), plus “privileges” and “rights” of the hereditary nobility and the higher levels of the Roman Catholic clergy from bishops on up. Not only that, but peasants were required to work on noble land without pay to bring in harvests and maintain roads, while only the nobility was allowed to supplement their diets by hunting.

    In French cities, tradesmen and working people commonly rented rooms from their employers, and had to pay about half of their earnings just to sleep in an upper story dump. Peasants in the countryside paid at least that much of their incomes and harvests to their “betters” who shamelessly flaunted their wealth and privilege. Not only that, but the French people never knew when or how much the next hit would be, but they just kept on coming. Prices always went up, never down.

    One of the things that radically changed in the 20 years leading up to the Revolution was knowledge of the American Revolution, including the soaring statements of the Declaration of Independence and the writings of Thomas Paine, not to mention those of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who were feted as heroes by the royal government. By 1789, everybody in France was familiar with this stuff.

    There are some parallels to all of this in our own America. The internet and all of its offshoots have definitely revolutionized the way news and information is passed on in this country. Instead of four major networks, plus the AP and UPI and a few dozen news magazines up through the mid-1990s, we now have at least thousands of different ways to gather information and opinion. Just as in prerevolutionary France, the ruling classes are now scrambling for ways to control that information, but other than reprioritizing internet search engines and suppressing certain points of view from a couple of carriers such as Facebook and Twitter, they haven’t been all that successful. Eventually the frowned-upon points of view will just pop up again somewhere else.

    The informational and opinionated cats are already out of the bag.

    In America we don’t have lords, nobles, and bishops with the right to extract our wealth from us, but we do live in a rentier society every bit as top heavy as the French ancien regime. Huge corporations have bribed our politicians into giving them essentially tax exempt status, with many of them actually getting reimbursed by the federal government for the wages they pay us through such things as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, where they are reimbursed for 6-12 months for hiring someone on Food Stamps or Medicaid. Others get property tax abatements for up to 15 years for opening a new facility, and some even get to keep the sales taxes they collect for a few years, to the detriment of local governments, not to mention our infrastructure. Then local governments turn around and raise local taxes on us in order to make up for part of their losses.

    Who makes up for our losses? No one.

    Meanwhile, the vast majority of us get saddled with paying some income tax, fees for materials needed for the education of our children, rent or mortgage payments to wealthy corporations that commonly equate to anywhere between a third and half of our net incomes, mandatory payments to wealthy private insurance companies for the “privilege” of “access” to health care with additional costs that are often prohibitive even with insurance, mandatory private home and auto insurance, not to mention the often outrageous rates imposed on us for keeping the electricity on and for heating our homes in the winter.

    The cost of local transportation has skyrocketed. Cars cost astronomically more than they did when I was a teenager. Instead of a nickle or a dime, a bus or train costs a hundred times more just to commute to and from work in the cities, and good luck to you if you live in the exurbs or the country and have to do the same. Critically, the cost of food keeps going up and up. What were once pensions and Social Security for comfortable retirements are now only myths for most of us. If you want to have a roof over your head, eat, have clothing, utilities, or entertainment, you’ve got to pay an ever-increasing percentage of your wealth to ever-increasingly wealthy people day after day, year after year.

    Prices always do seem to go up, never down, don’t they? Do our incomes? For an overwhelming majority of us, when they do, they are always offset by the rise in price of some necessity or the other. This has now been the pattern for about 40 years.

    Both 18th Century France and late 20th and early 21st Century America have seen at least two of the same major developments: a steadily eroding standard of living for the majority and revolutionary developments in the spread of information and awareness. In France, when the government first promised reform and then failed to deliver, it was overthrown, a development that was unthinkable just a few years before it happened. I see no reason why America should be any different. In fact, I take comfort in the knowledge that it’s not.

    Thanks for reading and have a nice day.

    Passionate Progressive, joentokyo, Koko and 50 othersB Calm, Cleita, Blackspade, Xyzse, tonyl, Betty Karlson, KenTanker0us, glinda, xynthee, eridani, carrotguy, kath, closeupready, JEB, LaaDeeDaaVA, 3FingerBrown, PADemD, FugitiveBirdie, ctsnowman, chknltl, NV Wino, leveymg, nevereVereven, TIME TO PANIC, tk2kewl, retired liberal, canoeist52, Entrepreneur, Utopian Leftist, Katashi, mrdmk, Johnny Rash, mmonk, NothingcleverjustRay, MrMickeysMom, iggy, Haikugal, Peace Patriot, Two way street, ccinamon, RufusTFirefly, Bisbonian, jwirr, djean111, Hobbit709, Land of Enchantment, Shlabotnik, Scott Crowder, Enthusiast, Coldmountaintrail like this
    No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

▼ Hide Reply Index
44 replies
  • 2 months ago #11
  • 2 months ago #40
    • Coldmountaintrail (9791 posts)
      Donor

      1. summary: inequality rising, no end in sight = instability

      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        7. Short, simple, to the point; excellent summary.

        .

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
    • Enthusiast (16201 posts)
      Donor

      2. Kicked and Recommended!

      "I got a great big pointed fang Which is my Zomby Toof My right foot's bigger than my other one is Like a reg'lar Zomby Hoof If I raid your dormitorium Don't try to remain aloof . . ." The Zombie Woof
    • Deadpool (17658 posts)
      Computer Janitor

      3. On The Daily Radical!

    • ThouArtThat (7922 posts)
      Donor

      4. Agreed – Great Comparative Analysis – The Wood Chopper Guillotines Await Orders

      eom

      "In America Today, Power Corrupts and Money Corrupts Absolutely" - Anonymous  
      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        8. Lol! I'm sure someone will make some money off of them, or an improved version,

        if the time ever comes. That’s not new, either.

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
    • Hobbit709 (4960 posts)
      Donor

      5. The 1% of their time didn't want to pay their fair share of taxes

      Climatic effects caused crop failures, leading to skyrocketing prices for wheat-thus the infamous “Let them eat cake” statement.

      I won't shut up and I don't waste my time teaching pigs to sing
      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        9. Climatic effects, combined with the French 1%'s refusal to drop their demands

        on the rest of the population so that they could maintain their lifestyles, were definitely an immediate contributing cause to the French Revolution. They had two harvest failures in a row, in 1787-88, which led to endemic famine for many. One year they had a bunch of hailstorms that destroyed crops and so much rain that levees broke, flooding even more farm land.

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
    • ThomPaine (6948 posts)
      Moderator

      6. Good post. I havent done any research but I'd like to see the

      charts of the wealth gap increases over time.  I’ll look, just wanted to say it.  Do the aristocrats not understand “The Art of  War”?  You don’t want to take away enough that the 99% has nothing to lose by revolting.

      Found some charts here:  https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/12/america-income-inequality-wealth-net-worth-charts/

       

    • RufusTFirefly (4606 posts)
      Mr. Jenkins

      10. Excellent comparison, OB!

      I must sheepishly confess to being a bit of a Francophile. For Americans who hate the French and the French who hate the US, rather than suggesting that we’re bitter enemies, I compare us to bickering siblings who are both children of the Enlightenment. (In many respects, some of which you mention, the two countries have historically admired and emulated each other, despite the superficial bluster.)

      I posted this elsewhere recently, but here’s an eye-opening quote from Mark Twain on the subject of the French Revolution.

      “There were two ‘Reigns of Terror,’ if we would but remember and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the “horrors” of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the guillotine, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror—that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.”

      – Mark Twain, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”

      If you want to see a movie that makes the connection between French unrest and modern media (and have a whopping six hours to spare!), watch Peter Watkins’ amazing “La Commune,” which is set some 82 years later during the Paris Commune. In a deliberate anachronism, two rival television networks, one a megaphone for Versailles and the other in the camp of the Communards, report on the same events in markedly different ways.

      Also, many people may not be aware that although Thomas Paine was initially revered as an inspiration of the Revolution and made a citroën of the Assembly, he was sentenced to the guillotine after he objected to killing the King. Thanks to a bureaucratic mixup (trés francais!), he narrowly escaped death.

       

      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        12. Thank you! I'll look for that. I'll give you a book recommendation.

        Vive la Revolution: A Stand-Up History of the French Revolution, by Mark Steel. (Haymarket Books, 2003). It’s like a British comedian is telling the story, and some of his jokes fell flat on my American eyes, but he paints a very sympathetic portrait of Robespierre, Marat, Danton, and of the Parisian people who supported the Revolution at the time.

        I found it quite refreshing, and I’m sure Mark Twain would as well.

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
        • RufusTFirefly (4606 posts)
          Mr. Jenkins

          15. Great suggestion! I'm a Haymarket fan and will order it today! Thx!

          Not from King Bezos I, of course, but from Haymarket directly. I have Danny Gluckstein’s Haymarket book about the Commmune (“The Paris Commune: A Revolution in Democracy”) but, frankly, was kind of disappointed by it. Drier than I would’ve liked. It’s such an amazing/tragic story. It deserves a more effective treatment. Watkins’ movie is brilliant, but its length and subject matter will scare off all but the most dedicated viewers. But you know what? The ever defiant Watkins doesn’t care.

          • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
            Moderator

            17. Serves you right. You're the one who told me about Haymarket.

            I will definitely find that movie. I’ll bookmark my own post just for that reason. The subject is fascinating to me.

            No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
            • RufusTFirefly (4606 posts)
              Mr. Jenkins

              22. Hah! I'd forgotten about that!

              If you want a comparatively brief introduction to Watkins (who initially gained notoriety when the BBC refused to screen his movie “The War Game” about England’s dubious plan for surviving nuclear war), the Internet Archive has the National Film Board of Canada documentary, The Universal Clock: The Resistance of Peter Watkins, available on its site.

              I met Watkins briefly years ago at a screening of his film about Edvard Munch. He seemed rather prickly. Not surprising from someone who’s been ostracized by the commercial film industry and has fought back rather than capitulate.

    • GZeusH (4410 posts)
      Donor

      11. One important difference

      In 1780s France, the 99% were starving.  As in famine, widespread crop failures, significant numbers of people dying of hunger.   In 2010s America, at least half the population are carrying around an extra few months worth of calories.

      It’s hard to ignite a revolution without widespread hunger.  Lenin had that going for him, and so did Mao.

      в NewYorkTimese нет известии, и в WaPo нет правды.
      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        14. That is an important difference, but it is also important to remember that

        most French people weren’t actually starving to death in the years immediately prior to the Revolution. There was widespread hunger and malnutrition and the associated diseases that came with those conditions, but not actual widespread death by starvation. It was important because it happened two years in a row, so everybody was starting to ask, how long is this going to last and why doesn’t the King do something about it? He actually did, tried to get them to switch to potatoes but Catholic doctrine taught that anything that grew under the ground was devil’s food. Oopsie!

        It is also important that the harvest of 1789-90 was a bumper crop(maybe the revolutionaries’ Supreme Being smiled on them), which definitely helped the Revolution to succeed.

        In this country, the price of food overall is going up, year after year, and incomes are not keeping pace over the long haul. The corporate media pays no attention, but everybody in my area knows it and I’m sure we’re not alone here.

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
    • iggy (3462 posts)
      Donor

      13. Thomas Paine's experience in France (from his own hand.)

      I WAS one of the nine members that composed the first committee of constitution. Six of them have been destroyed. Syeyes and myself have survived. He by bending with the times, and I by not bending. The other surviver joined Robespierre, and signed with him the warrant of my arrestation. After the fall of Robespierre, he was seized and imprisoned in his turn, and sentenced to transportation. He has since apologized to me for having signed the warrant, by saying, he felt himself in danger and was obliged to do it.
      1
      Herault Sechelles, an acquaintance of Mr. Jefferson, and a good patriot, was my suppliant as member of the committee of constitution; that is, he was to supply my place, if I had not accepted or had resigned, being next in number of votes to me. He was imprisoned in the Luxemburg with me, was taken to the tribunal and the guillotine, and I, his principal, was left.
      2
      There were but two foreigners in the convention, Anacharsis Cloots and myself. We were both put out of the convention by the same vote, arrested by the same order, and carried to prison together the same night. He was taken to the guillotine, and I was again left. Joel Barlow was with us when we went to prison.
      3
      Joseph Lebon, one of the vilest characters that ever existed, and who made the streets of Arras run with blood, was my suppliant as member of the convention for the department of the Pas de Calais. When I was put out of the convention he came and took my place. When I was liberated from prison, and voted again into the convention, he was sent to the same prison and took my place there, and he went to the guillotine instead of me. He supplied my place all the way through.

      /snip

      https://www.bartleby.com/400/prose/453.html

      “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels
      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        16. Thanks for the edition. I'll share another Thom Paine story. He was imprisoned

        and was sentenced to the guillotine by Robepierre’s Committee for Public Safety. Paine was still a popular figure in France, apparently also with his guards. He was sick, and persuaded them to leave the door open for more air, which they did. Shortly before the door was opened, it was marked on the outside that the prisoner inside was to be taken to the guillotine the next day. When the transport folks showed up, they didn’t see the mark because the door was swung open and the mark faced the wall.

        The next day, Robespierre was overthrown and the new Directory, of whom Syeves was a member, released Paine into James Monroe’s custody and he returned to the United States, or was it England? Anyway, he split.

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
        • iggy (3462 posts)
          Donor

          18. If it was dangerous for someone as popular as Tom Paine

          ..imagine what it was like for the less well known.

          “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels
          • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
            Moderator

            21. Not all that much, actually. Less than 3000 people died during the

            Reign of Terror. Most of them were people who were actually members of the ancien regime; the rest were mainly fairly well-known or outspoken political opponents of the Committee for Public Safety. There were some employers and landlords and such who got it to placate the Paris mob, but they were employers and landlords, so who cares?

            The less well-known were far less likely to meet the National Razor.

            No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
        • RufusTFirefly (4606 posts)
          Mr. Jenkins

          19. Great details on Paine's fate, OB!

          I think he must have fled to England first because to my knowledge his controversial views about slavery (early abolitionist) and religion (atheist) made him persona non grata in the fledgling United States until Pres. Thomas Jefferson courageously welcomed him back despite continued objections. (Caution: Written from memory, so I may have some of this garbled.)

    • MrMickeysMom (2524 posts)
      Moderator

      20. That was so good, OB…

      … I should cut and paste (keeping to 5 min limit one local council meeting remarks) to get them to see some parallels.

      My recommendation to anyone in local government is to read history, so this presents crib notes to what it takes to preserve the union. All this is best realized as the local official level. There are SO MANY fees that are being proposed currently in my little part of PA… This prompts a historically based conversation that addresses how important a budget process is.

      We are so corrupt at this point as a nation and fiscally irresponsible all the way down to the core communities. I served 5 years in local government, and learned how hard it is to not be a whore…

      And, there is NO way (unless one uses sites like JPR on the internet) to gain perspective on what it takes to recognize why a Westinghouse, or Bechtel, or a so-called” non-profit” health care giant, after getting tax abatements, or finance authorities to fund special rules for their part of the tax base, that the playing field is level for the residents of the community. Joe Baggadonuts will carry whilst the rest of the public is made to fund police and fire for the non-profits, certainly pick up the loss of tax base when Westinghouse moves to another carrot community.

      THANKS for this!!!

      Hell no...I'm not giving up...     cat-gif-238.gif giphy.gif
      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        23. Thank you! Please feel free to use whatever you feel might help.

        We went to a meeting with the mayor and the president of the council about a proposed property tax hike, to help pay for eliminating the Ohio estate tax and tax abatements to monstrosities like Amazon, and the mayor seemed absolutely clueless.

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
    • Johnny Rash (2068 posts)
      Donor

      24. So it is ….the more things change the more things stay the same.

      And it’s easy to do so when the ‘upper-crust’ of our Societies of yesteryear owns the biggest GUNS while the people have NONE. 

      Excellent read ….OB – thanks! 

      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        25. Glad you liked it. Speaking of guns, it didn't help any that few "commoners"

        ever became officers in the royal French Army and Navy. Nearly all of the officers were nobility, and considered enlisted men as little better than animals, and not as good as horses. That doesn’t mean enlisted men couldn’t read, and they did. When the Revolution came, so many refused orders to fire on their own people that most officers became afraid to follow orders like that. Many of them fled overseas.

        Others commanded revolutionary armies. The most notable exception to all of this was Napoleon, who was a commoner and an officer, and faithfully served the Revolution until he saw his great chance for power and glory.

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
        • Johnny Rash (2068 posts)
          Donor

          26. Sort of reminds me of when reading a book was a SIN punishable by death

          In a nutshell, things haven’t changed that much over the centuries methink!

          But how could they ever changed  …..those at the top liked it just the way they were?

          About Napoleon:  I wonder if Macron is a made-belief equivalent of a modern Napoleon?  What do you think?

          • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
            Moderator

            27. That's what much of the French press calls him, but he does come across as

            something of a stuck up prick. Comes with the neoliberal territory, I suppose.

            No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
            • Johnny Rash (2068 posts)
              Donor

              29. I think Macron has visited the Chocolate Factory too many times.

              Every-times he satisfies his beloved older wife, he gets a bigger piece-of-chocolate.

              Of course, it’s easy to do when someone is married to the Rothschild House.

              Personally, I think nobody does NeoLiberalism like Macron does …..nobody! 

        • carrotguy (561 posts)
          Donor

          35. i hope that pattern would continue

          but with the advent of citizen’s united, mainstream media’s corporate ownership driving some people towards alternative media (one america news network is worse than glenn beck times rush limbaugh), and the effects these “media outlets” could have shaping public opinion of the next generation, it wouldn’t surprise me if some part of the military were cultivated specifically to support the class war agenda by way of a race war motivation.

          do we still want to ban the AR-15?

          • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
            Moderator

            38. I don't see our military cultivating a race war. If there's any experience that

            shows Americans how stupid racism is, it’s serving in the military for a few years. As for Citizens United, yes, it’s absolutely critical to get money out of politics. It’s why I support Wolf-Pac.

            Ban the AR-15? Hell yes. IMHO. Won’t happen before a lot of other stuff happens, though.

            No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
    • nevereVereven (5886 posts)
      Donor

      28. Heartily recommended!

      Trump is a fool who may yet blunder us into war; the Dems and the Deep State cabal would give us war by design.

                                     
    • leveymg (5216 posts)

      30. Great OP. Rec, but modern media acts to deflect & deflate revolution as well

      We’re all so segmented into our own little atomized media segments that many have lost any sense of larger allegiance or a shared vision of a better nation, class or world to fight for.  Even when the objective threshhold is reached for Revolution, there has to be a shared sense that suffering is shared, and some alternative is possible.  Not sure we’re close to where the French were in 1789, the Russians in 1917 or China in 1949 in terms of realizing revolutionary potential.

      Even on the biggest political issue of our day — whether, and on what basis to remove the President — there is no coherent, shared reality.   Those whose view of Russiagate has been shaped by a saturation diet of MSNBC live in an entirely different universe than readers of the Daily Caller.  Entirely different narratives, timelines, significant events, conclusions.

      We are indeed fortunate here that our board is enriched by a skeptical, rational debate that sifts through a lot of competing universes.  As this post and thread proves, we are also lucky to know some good history.   That makes us just about the last propaganda-resistant audience.  We’re already convinced of some sort of revolutionary change, but we should be careful not to judge the world by ourselves.

      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        31. I'm certainly not judging the world as if it lived up to JPR standards, man.

        Historical analogies are seldom, if ever, exact. Maybe a better analogy is the Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and #MeToo movements. All got started by something on the internet that went viral, and it is very difficult to stop that without causing a furious majoritarian backlash. You also never know where the thing that goes viral is going to originate, either.

        Doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to suppress it, though. All the more reason to push for Congress to require net neutrality. How many Americans want that? I know it’s over 80%. It’s an issue progressives need to push, methinks. We might as well make suppression as difficult as possible for them.

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
        • leveymg (5216 posts)

          32. The shared enemy of many popular revolts are other revolts

          There have always been revolts and rebellions fought over inequalities, injustices, and differences in ethnicity, religion, race, gender and class.    But, something has to happen to pull people together into a unifying struggle.  In the days of old, there were overarching struggles, and all the Great Social Revolutions had one thing in common:  a cause, a banner, a plan.

          Overarching struggles feed upon and pull together a dozen old revolts into a coherent program for change.  In the 18th Century, it was the ideals of democracy and nation that served to unify the opposition.  In the 19th and 20th Centuries,  the shared vision of an international classless society was the stuff of revolutions.  Today, what is the mobilizing idea?

          A shot may be heard around the world,  but today all one hears is the constant chatter of automatic weapons fire from all directions.  What does it mean, and which way do we turn?

          Even if we have a way of communicating the desire for change, there has to be shared vision of the way forward.

          • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
            Moderator

            33. How about survival and peace? For me, it doesn't get any more basic than that.

            nt

            No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
          • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
            Moderator

            37. Or Liberty, Equality, Humanity!

            I think it’s catchy. 

            No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
    • sadoldgirl (3035 posts)
      Donor

      34. There are some problems with this comparison.

      One: The elite has learned to give most people the very necessities of

      life (water, food, shelter and clothing). IOW, we are still too rich.

      Two: They also learned to keep us at each others throats very effectively.

      Three: They allow everybody to own very powerful weapons, which due

      to my second point may lead more to a civil war. Many people in the

      South are still upset about the “invaders from the North”, and would love

      revenge of some sort. France was united, we are not (and perhaps have

      never been). Look how much people in WA have in common with SC, or

      TX with NY. It needs cohesion for success, which does not exist.

      Four: The art of propaganda has become far more advanced than during

      the 18hundreds. I think even Goebbels would envy the success of the US.

      Already now the internet  has been infiltrated in all kinds of ways.

      Psychology in that field alone has led to an unbelievable consumerism

      via advertisements. The greatest of these achievements comes by omission.

      But even if you take all that away, look what followed: A beloved dictator

      (Napoleon), who brought wars to almost all of Europe, even as far as

      Russia, followed by extremely unstable French governments and led to

      the empire of the UK, which lasted  more or less until 1950. That empire

      brought colonialism and suppression to many countries around the world.

      Not necessary good developments.

      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        36. There are so many problems with that comment I'm not sure where to begin.

        First, revolution in historical times is seldom a matter of necessity, or even of starvation. It’s always based on the perception that things are getting worse fast, and anger at those making it worse. The perception doesn’t even have to be completely grounded in reality.

        Having each other at our throats? That’s no different. Ruling classes always divide and rule. You also imply that we Americans are incapable of seeing past our differences, therefore there’s no hope, so why even try? If I thought things were hopeless, I wouldn’t bother posting anything and I frankly resent those who think I’m an idiot for having hope. Perhaps I’m being unfair and you don’t mean that, but I see plenty of those who do. Anyone who feels that way has a right to express their point of view, but by the gods I’m not going to quietly nod and take it anymore.

        Weapons? That’s because we allowed money in politics and the NRA bought politicians and sewed paranoia. Mostly irrelevant, anyway, as for any revolution to be successful it must have at least the neutrality of the armed forces, if not their support. People on left-leaning sites have a tendency to think that such a thing is impossible in the American armed forces. I know that is simply not true. So do the Joint Chiefs.

        France was far more divided in 1789 than America is now, on a scale so vast it’s difficult for us to comprehend. Most French people didn’t even speak French, for one thing. There were at least six mutually unintelligible languages at the time. French only became national after the revolutionaries set up, and Napoleon and his successors maintained, a public education system. So yes, someone from Washington state has far more in common with anyone from South Carolina than did two random people from Brittany and Marseilles in 1789.

        Yes, Napoleon came along, but the world might have been far worse if he had not. I can think of several theories, but this reply’s way too long already and the OP was just drawing some comparative history, which is never exactly repeated.

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
      • Grimaldi (172 posts)

        41. Great post sadoldgirl, not a single problem with it. Well said. n/t

    • Xyzse (4540 posts)
      Donor

      39. I must have not been paying attention or just too busy.

      I missed this well written essay.

      Thanks for posting as always.

    • Blackspade (4590 posts)
      Donor

      40. +1000

      Excellently written.

    • Cleita (3610 posts)

      42. I believe we got our term "laissez faire" economics from this era.

      It was mostly about unregulated capitalism that enabled the 1% to exploit the 99%. It’s increasingly happening here. It won’t lead to Revolution but I do think I see the seeds of civil unrest if not actual civil war beginning right now.

      • Ohio Barbarian (13463 posts)
        Moderator

        43. We do indeed get that term from that era. Sorry, but I can't type in text field.

        No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
      • carrotguy (561 posts)
        Donor

        44. the military might not overtly bring it about

        but i can see them being used as pawns if a class war dressed up as a race war (much like the civil war) were to break out.   while mr. barbarian has a point when stating that the experience of the military can bring people out of racist attitudes, citizens united and independent “news” (one american news network and alex jones) take things to another level