"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." – Charles Dickens, 1859
Dickens famous novel (which was originally written as a weekly series in 31 installments) depicts life in the time of the French revolution but was also a parable, meant to warn the British aristocracy that they should not ingore the parallels to the social inequities that existed at the time in England. Dickens warned the nobles that the seeds of revolution were planted through unjust acts and surely there would be a time of reaping yet to come.
It is said that the French Revolution was sparked by outrage over a statement by the Queen Mary Antoinette who, when told that the peasants had no bread to eat, supposedly replied (she never actually said this) "Qu’ils mangent de la brioche" or "Then let them eat cake." It’s hard for us to imagine the impact of this statement in modern times but "peasants" were 90% of the population at the time and bread was 90% of what they ate, consuming 50% of the average family’s income (people weren’t silly enough to pay for housing back then – they just found a bit of land, bought some wood and nails and built their own homes). Brioche was a luxury combination of bread enriched with flour and butter so the statement "Qu’ils mangent de la brioche" implies both lack of caring and cluelessness on the part of the Queen.
The United States had what passes for a revolution between 2006 and 2008 as we threw out the Republicans and went with a Democrat-controlled government. While the Bush administration, the Republican Congress and Fox News may have been as clueless as a French Queen to the plight of the people – the fact of the matter is that the base pay…