Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Louis XV lived at Versailles, about twelve miles from the city of Paris, in the most beautiful palace in Europe, built by his very famous great-grandfather, Louis XIV.
Louis XIV was an absolute ruler, but with the noblemen scattered all over the country it was difficult to keep absolute power over them. So when he had moved to Versailles he made the nobles leave their estates and also come to live at Versailles, where he could have his eye on them. To keep them happy he established for them many more honorary offices at court such as those of Lord High Chamberlain, Grand Master of the Royal Hunt, Lord High Steward of the Kitchen, to which large salaries and no work were attached.
By the time Louis XV became King, it was the well established custom for all important noblemen to live at Versaille as near to the King as possible, every waking moment to follow him about. There were two hundred attendants stumbling over each other in the King's bedchamber alone. From the time he awoke and held out his white hands to be perfumed and jeweled to the time when the Lord High Keeper of it put the nightcap on his head, the King was never alone. The courtiers were always there, to watch his every move and imitate it.
What the King did and had one day, they did and had the next. What he was they became: the most fashionable, bejeweled and lace-trimmed noblemen in Europe, and the most useless. They danced, played games, chatted with each other and made love to the ladies. Every year their manners became more exact and fanciful, their clothes more delicate in color and more hung with lace, their wigs more finely powdered and their furniture more full of curves and scrolls and more richly gilded. And all they did was play. But as too much play becomes monotonous, all their amusements grew tiresome in time.
"Life is boring,"sighed the King. "Life is boring," sighed the noblemen, and yawned behind their white, jeweled hands.
Meanwhile, back on the estates, the peasants still worked and tilled the fields as they had always done. Only now each year they had to work even harder, for each year their lord at Versailles needed more money for his pleasures, to say nothing of the huge amounts needed by the King. So while the noblemen played, their overseers squeezed larger rents for the small fields, larger feudal dues and more enormous taxes from the peasants. When they had turned in their crops in payment, many peasants had barely enough left to keep from starving. "Life is hard," they said as they scuffed off their wooden clogs each sundown and wiped the sweat off with their rough brown hands. "Life is hard."
Between the peasants whose life was all work and the noblemen whose life was all play there was of course a very large middle class of people who worked for a living, but also had some time to play. The French name for them was bourgeois. Some of them were wealthy, most of them were just hardworking and thrifty, but all of them hated to see such a large part of their hard-earned money go for taxes.
"Life is unfair," they were beginning to say. Why should thousands of people work hard for their money, in order that one king and a few extravagant noblemen should have it to squander?
It was plain to see that such an unfair condition of things could not last forever. That, however, did not trouble the King. "It will last as long as I live," Louis would say. "After that," with a shrug of his shoulders, "what do I care what happens to France?"
This is the story of King Louis XV written by Genevieve Foster from the book George Washington's World. I know all of you have probably heard this story before, perhaps some of you have not. This is my first time hearing it, and I keyed in on the things that the peasants and the bourgeois were going through. Wow! Some things never change, do they? You could just insert Obama's name where you see the name King Louis and the story of present day life and politics would sound about the same, wouldn't it?
Take a look first at the noblemen who came to live with the King and in order to make them happy, the King offered them titles with no work and high salaries to go with them. Sounds a bit like all of those 'czars' that Obama employed early on in his presidency. Priceless.
All of those 'noblemen' wanted to be just like Obama, I mean, the King. All they did was play...golf. I mean, play.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, all of the peasants, or tax-payers, worked their fingers to the bone and had little left after all of their taxes were paid in order that the president, I mean, King and his cabinet, I mean, court may amuse themselves. Sound familiar? Some of us might identify more readily with the bourgeois, though. The bourgeois was mostly middle class people, bankers, bakers and such, wondering why they should pay all of their money to a king in order for him to squander it? Insert the word president where you see king and congress where you see noblemen. Makes sense.
King Louis, I mean Obama, is also utterly useless. He does nothing, he thinks of nothing and he only cares for his own pleasure. He has no interest in running a country whatsoever. He also amuses himself and his family, no matter how much it costs the American taxpayer. Hmmmm.....
I also feel that Obama's sentiment is the exact same as the sentiment that King Louis has at the end of the story, this situation will last as long as he is in office and then what does he care what happens to his country? "After that," with a shrug of his shoulders, "what do I care what happens to America?"