I keep reading all these major polls showing President Obama and Romney seemingly running neck-and-neck. To paraphrase comedian Lewis Black, are you fracking kidding me?!
I don't understand why, after all the doubts and questions about Romney's sense of humanitarianism, his secrecy, his life-long removal from anything like the struggles of aaverage Americans, half the country thinks he'll move the country in any good direction. I'd like to take this opportunity to inform this half about the real direction this pair threatens to take us to, and how this could lead even to the end of the United States as we know it.
Far from "returning" to the values of the 18th century Founding Fathers, the Republicans and the 1% want us to become 18th century France...early 18th century France, a new "ancien " regime. Imagine Romney as Louis the 16th and Ryan as Turgot, and I will describe an overview of what that society was like, and will be like again here.
France, unlike England, was technically an absolute monarchy. Despite having local parlements, there was no elective popular body to strenuously curb excesses of power from the king. He had the right to decide where anyone would live, what anyone would read, what any class could do, or when and where to imprison you, whether you had a charge against you or not.
This priviledge was called a "lettre de cache". The monarch had a minister draw up the arrest order, filled in the name and his signature, and sent you off to any prison of his choice for as long as he liked without telling him or her why. This happened to Voltaire and to Beaumarchais, and a whole host of talented people, mostly for independant ideas.
The enormous mass of the French citizenry were illiterate day laborers, beggars, mass unskilled people scraping for a tiny wage, all heavily taxed, leaving barely enough to purchase a daily loaf of bread...well, half bread, half plaster filler. Of course, with no food quality regulation there was no guarantee that your bread wasn't infested with ergot fungus or other microbes. On occasion, whole villages would go mad and commit mindless sexual violence or kill themselves. The life expectancy was about 40. For girls, that meant they had to be "plugged and planted" as soon as the first pubescent signs appeared. There was no birth control. A family had to have at least eight children in hopes that the good Lord would let two of them actually survive childhood.
Was there a middle class? Yes, a SMALL one. There had to be excellent craftsman to make luxury goods for the overclass, educated enough to work at their craft and enjoy a moderate leisure, but this class had to be kept in the minority or else these upstarts might actually believe they could have a significant voice in government. Of course, their taxes had to be kept at a level just crippling enough to prevent them from purchasing titles or otherwise achieving a upper-class life.
There was no national health care. Banks could do what they wanted. There was no national education. There was little or no girl's education. Even Louis the 16th's aunts, the four princess daughters of Louis the 15th, could not read or write.
For someone like Voltaire to escape grinding poverty and be independant enough to write, he had to practice insider trading on a lottery and support piracy, commit trading fraud, and engage in usurious loans, move to Switzerland, and finally have the freedom to express himself.
If you were a Protestant, you had to practice your faith in the closet. Every meaningful occupation was closed to this illegal practice. Protestant marriages were not valid, nor could their children legally inherit anything.
Then Romney, I mean Louis the 16th came to the throne. This over-sheltered, undereducated young aristocrat could not make up his mind on anything. The tipping point started when he allowed France to get involved in a foreign war the country really could not afford (the American Revolution). How to pay for it? Why, taxes must be raised.
But both the aristocracy and the church could not be taxed at all.
Therefore, the peasants and the small middle class had to bear the cost. But that would mean the great mass of people would not even be able to afford the plaster that kept them basically ambulatory every day anymore.
Even for the peasantry, the idea that they were to be expected to legally starve to death to continue to support la Antoinette in wigs was at last the final straw. They had literally nothing else to lose. The citizens rioted, the Bastille fell, and the rest is is lots of history.
This is of couse a simplification with a slight tone of sarcasm that might have cropped up in there. For the United States to become a new ancien regime cannot and will not work. What took four generations to boil over in France will develop here within the next four years once we all realize what we have done if we vote our own version of Louis the 16th in office. The idea that we can accept non-survival is ridiculous. The memory of what we once had is still too fresh to be let go obediantly. We will have riots not seen since the Civil War. If driven too far, it could mean the break-up of the United States. Like Humpty Dumpty, we will not be put back together again.