Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the three of the four Estates, a kind of early social partnership invented by the French, are crumbling.
I am working on the assumption that we accept the concept of the Fourth Estate.
And then there's one still doing quite well.
I bet you can't guess which one!!
I am beginning to realise that my entire world, my intellectual world that is, is framed by French Revolutionary philosophical constructs. And now that we seem to be going back to some kind of strange post-pre-Revolutionary version of society, it has me all a flutter intellectually.
The Estates were of course the clergy, the nobility, and the commons, the Rest of France.
And the Fourth Estate was the press. Or the meeja, as we call it nowadays.
Let's just take a quick scan and see how they're all doing.
The clergy we can pretty much agree on, I think.
They gradually lost relevance and by default power when people started to get educated and realise that hell was a concept rather than an actual destination.
An interesting side bar to this was that through the power of the replacement place of worship - television - people also found out that they weren't the only little boy that was buggered in the sacristy and consequently felt entitled to get very angry about it.
Which sped up the decline.
The Second Estate, otherwise known as the nobility, gradually lost some of their stranglehold on power and capital. There were various reasons for this, some of the more famous ones include: parliamentary democracy, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Crimea, in-breeding, the Somme Offensive, Communism.
They were gradually replaced by the common or garden rich. Also known as capitalists, or industrialists. Or self-made men.
Now known as the super-rich.
For the purposes of this post, we shall consider the nobility and their replacements the same.
After a long period of retrenchment driven by WWII, the GI Bill, and the creation of the welfare state, they are ON THE WAY BACK!
Why do I say that?
According to the Marquis de Vauban, a famous 17th century French engineer (and blogger for his time), the French population around 1690 consisted of 10% beggars, 50% near beggars, and 30% badly off.
Which left 10% who had most of the money.
That would be Estates 1 and 2.
And apparently it got worse before the Revolution, as there was a major recession followed by a period of high inflation caused by flagrant spending and a major increase in government debt.
Which generally enables a cash grab by those with the wherewithal to do it, i.e. the super-rich.
Nowadays, according to the UN, the top one percent of the world’s adult population owns 40% of the world’s wealth, while the top 2% owns over half and the top 10% owns 85%.
Which means, ehm, huh, blah di blah.... lookee see... seems that annoying 10% still has the lion's share of what's left of the planet.
And this was three years before the recent kick off of the latest major recession.
Which as we all know is resulting in stimulus packages and quantative easing (i.e. the printing of a lot of greenbacks and loonies), which will presumably result in ..... a period of high inflation blah blah blah....
I wish we could just call it the fucking cash grab it is and move on.
As I said, one of the Estates is still doing okay.
The Third Estate, known as the Rest of France, is the Estate I gave my heart to at an early age.
As we all know, it eventually became the Communes or Commons, which took advantage of the rampant inflation and poverty caused by the recession to seize power in 1789 and chopped enough heads off the other two to get some changes rammed through.
Mankind, well those of us born without a silver spoon in our mouths, entered a period of stability-ish.
In France, parliamentary democracy ensued and spread, along with capitalism, colonialism, the bustle skirt, culture for the masses, some dreadful poetry about nature and a few other things. (I'm synopsising here obviously)
It couldn't last.
Eventually, the poets had to grow up and get a real job. The military-industrial complex grew up on the backs of the workers. Markets were created for a load of inventions through the clever use of inter-locking treaties that impelled Europe into many many wars over some geo-politically important carbon-based energy resources (also known as the Alsatian coal mines).
However, some luck ensued for the hoi polloi. Eventually one of these wars became about FREEDOM. And consequently took so many working people to win, it forced through reasonable equality for our grandparents.
It took a long time, some tyranny, some setbacks, and the subjucation of everyone east of the Danube for seventy years, but eventually the Third Estate prevailed.
Their victory over the Second Estate complete, the Communards all went home, went to school, got big jobs and grew big bellies.
And drove big cars.
That took a lot of gas.
Here in Canada their children are known as the Canadian Auto Workers.
They had it good for a while.
But times change, and the whell turns.
And they are fucked now.
And rightly so.
And not just because they make crap cars.
And this is an irrelevant sidebar, but if I ever go to Ireland again and have to sit in a restaurant and be told that I am a traitor to the working class...
By some bloke with a Donnybrook accent...
I will SCREAM.
The reason I am not up for the CAW right now, even though my heart is very sore on their behalf, is because they forgot where they came from.
The Third Estate was 'the rest of France'.
Which translates into the rest of us.
Not some of the rest of us.
All of the rest of us.
Dudes - don't think you're going to get my support by running a campaign that accuses the rich of dividing the working classes and setting us against each other, when you lot were the ones who drew the line down the middle of us with a big $79 felt tip pen.
And are prepared to lose 10,000 jobs rather than rub out the line.
Not only did you show them the weak spot.
You were so friggin' hubristic you forgot we can all see the line too.
I'm too depressed to go on right now.
Goddamn it and I still have to weep over the decline of the clippable newspaper (and by default truthful journalism).