I mentioned yesterday that I’m reading the 8-volume History of the English People by John Richard Green. And on Sunday, I got to the part where Richard II, the boy king and grandson of Edward III, was crowned. Boy King Richard got his first test at the tender age of fourteen during the Peasants Revolt of 1381.
What lead up to the Peasants Revolt?
Well, a number of things. But let me give you the Readers Digest condensed version.
There were three things that are chief among the causes: the Plague, subsequent laws against the peasants due to the plague, and onerous taxation.
The Plague first struck England in 1348 and it took more than a year before it began to abate. Though the numbers of dead are difficult to know, Green estimates nearly half the English population fell victim to this “Great Mortality.”
Farm lands lay fallow because there were too few people remaining alive to work the lands. Prices for grain skyrocketed, as did the demand for workers. As a result, the peasants who worked the land were in an excellent position to demand higher pay. And they kinda needed it since the cost of everything including the food they needed to survive became off-the-charts expensive.
Unwilling to meet this higher pay, the landed estates with the help of Parliament enacted a series of laws to bring the peasants into line. First, pay for work would remain at the pre-pandemic levels. Next, they made it illegal for any peasant to relocate in search of better paying work. If you left the farm to which you were bound, you were a fugitive and could be imprisoned for committing the crime of looking for a better paying job.
To add insult to injury, Parliament enacted tax after tax to refill the coffers of the Crown that were depleted after decades of war with France.
This does not make for happy peasants as you can imagine.
And in late May 1381, the Peasants Revolt began.
King Richard II put down the revolt the good old fashioned way. He set the King’s army after them, hunted them down and executed them – starting with the peasant leader Wat Tyler as he was meeting at Smithfield to parley with the 14-year-old King.
These rebels were not arrested and put on trial. Instead, they were summarily executed without due process. And those who killed them were immediately pardoned by the King.
Because, you know, lawlessness is okay when the Ruling Class does it.
Reading about the Peasants Revolt at this moment in time resonated for me as you can imagine.
There are some interesting parallels.
We are also dealing with the aftermath of a once in a century pandemic – though not as deadly as “The Great Mortality.”
We are also seeing our government enacting onerous dictates on us in response to this pandemic. But rather than forcing us to work, they forced us to stay home – going so far as to arrest business owners who defied lockdown orders to keep their businesses open while deploying police to shut down churches.
And now, with the aftermath of the pandemic laying waste to our economy, our government is planning on raising our taxes in order to pay for spending that does not one thing to improve the lives of the people.
We will have to foot the bill despite the fact that we’ve been economically devasted by the government’s pandemic response.
Unequal justice, like that during the Peasants Revolt, is already happening to us. BLM rioters storm DC and set fire to an historic church, yet not one thing happens to them. Meanwhile a bunch of Trump supporters get arrested and held without bail for the crime of wandering into the Capitol taking selfies.
The police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, like the King’s soldiers who executed the rebel peasants, faces no charges for her death. We don’t even know his name.
It’s like déjà vu all over again.
So imagine my surprise this morning when, on the heels of reading about the Peasants Revolt of 1381, the first column I read is Kurt Schlichter’s latest “Letting Hunter Biden Off is a Message to Us Peasants.”
Oh, the irony.
Get out of my head, Kurt!
The fact that the loser spawn of Grandpa Badfinger is thumbing his coke-caked nose at the justice system represents not merely the tacky machinations of a crusty pol protecting the family Fredo. It has a deeper and more cynical purpose – to show us that our overlords are unaccountable and that the law is now merely another implement in the regime’s toolkit of oppression. They are telling us that they and their scumbag progeny can do whatever they want, but that we can’t.
In the short term, this is infuriating. In the long term, it could bring down the system our garbage ruling caste inherited.
Our ruling class is clearly ignorant of history. Hardly surprising when you consider that history is the least-taught subject in public schools. Plus, like most “progressives,” these idiots think history began ten minutes ago.
You can’t learn from the past if you ignore its existence.
And these guys are ignoring the past.
You can’t push people to the brink and not expect some kind of equal and opposite reaction. History is chock-a-block with examples of this. And the 1381 Peasants Revolt is only one of many.
Schlichter’s column warns exactly that. Eventually, there will be pushback. And the ruling class won’t like it.
But it was this paragraph that really sealed it for me:
The liberal establishment has succumbed to the temptation to rely on power instead of the law impartially and fairly applied. It further imagines, since our ruling caste is historically illiterate and totally ignorant of human, much less American, nature, that it can flaunt this unfairness and to intimidate us with it. Hitler thought he could bomb the Brits and butcher the Russians into submission. But it just made them madder, and in the end he blew his miserable brains out in a dingy cave.
And, might I add, the Crown thought it could treat the peasants like chattel while taxing them into oblivion, but it just made the peasants revolt.
While Richard II put down this revolt, it wasn’t the last strife to occur during his turbulent and brutal reign. And in the end, his own cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, deposed him and left Richard to die of starvation at Pontifract Castle at the age of 33.
I realize this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist, but there’s a reason this current ideological “purge” taking place in the US Military has me nervous. Given history, I can’t help but wonder if the ruling class in America is anticipating the need to deploy US troops against the American people just as Richard II deployed his troops against the peasants.
Yes I know that sounds tin-foil hatty.
But it’s happened before.
History is like spicy food. It repeats on you.
You can’t blame me for wondering if it could happen again.
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