Thank God we live in America, right? In America we are free and equal, aren’t we? Anybody can achieve the dream. Isn’t that so?
Long, long ago in Europe, in a land not so far away, there was a kingdom called Amorica. The people there fretted because the Glory that was Rome was gone, and now the Franks stood on their doorstep and threatened invasion. The people of Amorica trembled, because the Germans, that is the Angles and Saxons, already overwhelmed their cousins across the water and now the Franks were threatening them. What could the people do?
The Priest stood up to say some comforting words to the people. Unfortunately, because of the Glory that was Rome he said everything in Latin so none of the people understood what he was saying. That language was already dead as far as the people were concerned.
Then the King stood up and gave a rousing speech in High Britain because of the Glory that was Arthur, but that was not much better, though the people caught a few of the words. Their own language was more closely related to Welsh than Britain. Still, the King roused some of the nobles and perhaps that was a good thing, but what could the people do?
One of the beggars, the lowest of the low stood up last and looked at all the people. “Go back to your homes, ye idiots. At least ye got homes,” he yelled. And so that was what the people did because they figured life would just go on as it had and, as far as they knew, it would go on the same forever. So the Franks came and the people were right.
The King and his nobles owned the actual land and ruled the kingdom, except for the land owned and ruled by the church. The King passed decrees. The Church passed decrees. But the people just went on like the land itself. They were peasants, the serfs who worked the land, some merchants and craftsmen in town, perhaps guild members, and artisans of a sort, but all of them really peasants. They got up with the sun, worked until dark, had families before they died so their families could do the same thing after they were gone. And the beggars, the lowest of the low, still hung around the fringes of all this and…begged.
Let me be the first to say, welcome to the New Dark Ages.
Today the chief commodity isn’t land, it is industry, and the nobility is money-made, but this makes sense because today conquest is not by the sword. Instead it is by mergers and acquisitions. I call the nobility the Owner Class, but a more detailed description of how medieval it really is will have to wait for a future post.
The Church, of course, has been neutered in our present society, but it has not gone away. It has been replaced by Federal, State and local bureaucracies. Trust me, for every decree your CEO hands down, the government is handing down three. Again, the details will have to wait, but I might say that the more actual daily power our elected officials hand over to the bureaucracy, the more medieval we are becoming.
We, or most of us anyway, are the peasants, what I call the employment class. Some of us live paycheck to paycheck. Some of us do well enough, but only as long as we have a job. Lose the job and we risk losing our house, all our perks and benefits, and becoming part of the group that lives paycheck to paycheck. Note: when someone in the owner class loses their job they get a package generally worth more than what you or I would make in our whole working careers.
Serfs: workers, laborers, artists, craftsmen, small businessmen (merchants) entrepreneurs (for the most part) and etc. Most of us, anyway.
Then, of course, there are the beggars. We treat them better these days. We have welfare and plenty of other programs, but they remain a drain on the rest of us, a useless, non-working, permanent underclass of people. Again, more on that to come