by Daniel Jupp
“Let them eat cake” was considered sufficient to brutally execute a Royal family, parade heads on spikes and murder thousands of the upper class throughout France radically overturning centuries of tradition and the entire power structure of an ancient nation.
It’s also a phrase for which there is zero evidence. Marie Antoinette, as far as the historical record attests, never said it. If it had any contemporary source, it originally came as ‘let them eat brioche’ and was likely an invention of the anti monarchist Revolutionary pamphleteers who, like the media today, churned out an enormous number of lies that were quickly accepted as true.
Today our elite is more oppressive than the French aristocracy were. It is certainly more oppressive than the rather naive and gentle Louis XVI who whilst financially profligate was something of a mild reformist in terms of autocratic rule. When the Bastille was famously stormed, there was hardly anyone in it. The revolutionaries were far bloodier, dictatorial and murderous than the people they replaced. There are at least 20 times as many political prisoners held and tortured for January 6th as there were resident in the Bastille.
And if we compare our current elite with other leaders prior to bloody revolutions? Nicholas and Alexandra in Russia represented another somewhat unworldly couple, prone to shared baby language and extraordinarily saccharine love letters. Indeed, the most certain way in which to ensure revolution seems to have been to be a gentle, weak inheritor of autocratic power, rather than a merciless, ruthless one. Nicholas would indeed order Cossacks to charge protesting crowds, but he probably did it a lot more reluctantly and a lot later than his harder, meaner ancestors. They would have crushed rebellion in an iron fist with the kind of psychopathic insistence that Nicholas lacked.
The same can be said of Charles I, who actually suffered a whole series of insults and humiliations from Parliament before he eventually raised his standard at Nottingham. These included being forced to order the execution of key allies and personal friends who had served the monarch well but were unpopular with factions in Parliament. Whilst Charles was stubborn and autocratic, he was not murderous or evil. He governed without Parliament because Parliament at that time was stuffed full of a few hundred argumentative arseholes who each considered himself more important than the King (Parliament, it seems, never changes, as Cromwell was to find).
George III was less of a tyrant than any modern western leader. Macron has put tanks on streets against his own citizens, and snipers on rooftops. Trudeau has had old ladies cavalry charged and assumed emergency powers in response to honking horns. The burden of taxation that was actually the chief cause of the American Revolution was a tiny fraction of that imposed by every supposedly democratic government today.
When our leaders say ‘let them eat bugs’ it’s an actual policy backed by forcing farmers to halt farming and investing millions in bug eating research that nobody asked for. No old aristocrat actually had a policy of deciding that peasants would eat mealworms whilst they dined on steak. When our leaders injected most of us with a cocktail of poison that has greatly increased miscarriages, heart attacks, sudden early deaths and a massive list of other new medical problems they acted in a more deliberately tyrannical manner than George III, Nicholas II, Charles I or Louis XVI ever did.
We have far exceeded the burdens that our ancestors found intolerable. Our masters today make the kings we toppled seem the victims of a gross injustice. Any man or woman of the 18th century would marvel at our general levels of comfort but despair at our general levels of acceptance. They would instantly know that our liberty has been taken from us, our institutions are rotten beyond repair, and our elite are criminals and murderers.
And they would know the proper response, too.