Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's All The Same

The American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Bolshevik Revolution.  What do these things (and, likely, every other "revolution" in the history of mankind) have in common?  An oppressive upper class which seemed to view the labor class as fodder for their own enrichment.

Now, each of these was wildly different in other respects, which is why one has been (until recently) a wild success, one was a miserable failure, and one looked like a success when viewed in poor light but led to hundreds of thousands if not millions of deaths and eventually also failed.  But, at bottom, they all came back to one thing.  The ruling class- whoever they were- did not pay attention to the ruled class.  To their peril.

When the North American Patriots revolted against the English Crown, the proximate cause was the Stamp Act.  Many things went into that, including the fact the taxes had to be paid in silver or gold, which the colonists largely did not have, due to prior tax acts.  But the ultimate cause was that the English government saw the Colonies as little more than a piggy bank to be raided at will for more funds.  We were lucky that the Patriots were made up of men like Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.

When the French rose up against their monarchy in a bloody revolution, the ultimate cause was also an assumption on the part of the noble classes that the commoners would simply surrender the produce of their own labor indefinitely, regardless of the results.  Whoops.

When the Russian Soviet rose up for the second time in about a year (the Tsars already having been overthrown and a "provisional" government already in place), it was because they believed that the Ownership classes- the Bourgeois- were seeking simply to replace the Tsars with themselves (the Bourgeois), not to actually establish a government, as we might say, "By, of, and for the People."

(Note: none of this investigates whether the people were correct in their beliefs, it simply gets back to what they believed).

What this shows is that people will bear up under a great deal of tyranny, but there is a breaking point.  Usually, if History is any indication, that breaking point involves people realizing that they are not in control of the produce of their own labor.  For if a man is not in control of the produce of his own labor, he is nothing more than a slave- whether to a private entity in the institution of Slavery, or to the Government.

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