Saturday, July 14, 2012
Bastille Day - The Farce
The Kingdom of France was, undoubtedly, at a low point at the time. The economy was in shambles, hunger and poverty were widespread, too many in the aristocracy were living lives of indulgence far away from the people they should have been looking after and many in the clergy were more concerned with their own comfort than with administering the sacraments and teaching their people. However, the two young people at the pinnacle of power in France, His Most Christian Majesty King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, were not blind or uncaring to these problems. Both had each been working in their own way to solve the immense problems they had so recently inherited. King Louis XVI enacted many common sense policies to alleviate the suffering of his people. He cut expenses at Versailles, cut government expenditures overall, refused to go deeper into debt and refused to raise taxes. He ended the government monopoly on grain which allowed for lower prices that more people could afford. He taxed wealthy landowners for the first time and, though he was not required to, paid his own share as any other landowner would. Likewise, Queen Marie Antoinette helped to educate poor children, had her own kitchen opened to the poor, cut down on lavish parties (yes, despite all you’ve probably heard) and simplified her own wardrobe in an effort to make frugality chic.
On July 14, 1789 a Parisian mob stormed the Bastille, which was actually nothing like what they had been told or what most people today think it was. Naturally, it looked very harsh and foreboding from the outside, but inside the prison conditions were not terrible, certainly no worse than any other prison of the time and probably better than most. The fact was that there was practically no one in the Bastille. The popular portrayal would have one believe that the Bastille was crowded with the poor, tortured victims of an autocratic monarch. In fact, it was almost empty of prisoners. The only people present to be liberated were four forgers, two lunatics and a pervert who had been locked up at the request of his own family. The real victims were the unfortunate men who just happened to be doing their job guarding the prison. All 120 soldiers were brutally massacred by the hatchet-wielding mob and the governor had his head cut off and stuck on a pike. This was the bloody and inglorious start of the horrific bloodbath known as the French Revolution.
Of course, the real cause for celebration will be when France rejects the lies and illusions of the Revolution and returns to the path of God, glory and the Ancien Régime.
Vive le Roi!
The Mad Monarchist