Special Opinion to the Mirror by Paul Plante
In a recent article in the Cape Charles Mirror entitled “Ferris Bueller’s Lesson: Trump’s Tariffs will be damaging to the US Economy,” this following comment was made, which comment deserves attention and consideration from every voting age person in America to wit:
“. . . nor will I disparage the only man who gives America a chance in the face of a long-term Democrat/Liberal/progressive plan to destroy us.”
Now, how that statement is to be interpreted is unclear without knowing exactly who is the “us” that are to be destroyed by this alleged Democrat/Liberal/progressive plan, but for the sake of argument, we can make some assumptions as to who the “us” might be, based not only on our political history, because Teddy Roosevelt was a true “progressive,” and we know who he was out to destroy, but also the political history of England circa 1900 to WWI, and perhaps more importantly Dutch history in the period of the Batavian Revolution, which was a period of political, social and cultural turmoil at the end of the 18th century that marked the end of the Dutch Republic and saw the proclamation of the Batavian Republic.
By the end of the 18th century, the Netherlands found themselves in a deep economic crisis, perhaps very similar to that we find ourselves in today in this country, and during that time in the Netherlands, the banks of the Dutch Republic held much of the world’s capital, with the government-sponsored banks owning up to 40% of Great Britain’s national debt.
This concentration of wealth in the Netherlands of that period led to the formation of the Dutch Patriots by a minor Dutch noble named Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol.
The Patriots who were the “progressives” of their time, were inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment, and what they desired were a more democratic government and a more equal society.
Jump forward in time to America at the close of the “Gilded Age,” and the “progressivism” of Teddy Roosevelt, and one finds that same theme, just as one finds that same theme today in America, where like before, we are looking at the essence of class warfare – the haves versus the have-nots.
In that period of time, the people of the Netherlands grew increasingly discontent with the authoritarian regime of the stadtholder, William V, while in our times today, the people of America are growing increasingly discontent with the authoritarian regime of Donald Trump.
Back then, the Dutch Patriots built support from most of the middle-class and founded militias of armed civilians, which between 1783 and 1787 managed to take over several cities and regions in an effort to force new elections which would oust the old government officials.
Today, in America, instead of militias, voting blocs are being created in an effort to oust the “old government” of corrupt Democrats and equally corrupt Republicans, and it is that which apparently Donald Trump is supposed to save “us” from, assuming we are a part of what Donald Trump represents, which is the same greed that was good in the time of the “Gilded Age,” and again during the reign of American Republican political icon Ronald Reagan.
That Trump is the champion of the “haves,” and the “greed is good” mentality that the “progressives” like Teddy Roosevelt were very much against is very much apparent in a Slate article entitled “Trump Celebrates Tax Bill With Mar-a-Lago Friends: ‘You All Just Got a Lot Richer’” by Daniel Politi on Dec. 24, 2017, as follows:
President Trump was in a celebratory mood on Friday night and told a group of his wealthy friends, “You all just got a lot richer” after he signed the tax cuts into law.
Trump reportedly uttered the words to a group of friends who were having dinner nearby at Mar-a-Lago, including two friends who spoke to CBS News about the remark.
Anyone spending time at what has come to be known as the “Winter White House” is not exactly suffering economically, considering the initiation fee is $200,000 and annual dues are $14,000.
Those are the people who fear the “progressives” in America today, and the “progressives” in America today are a reaction to those same people, just as was the case earlier in England, and before that in the Netherlands.
Without the one, there would not be the other.
The powerful few against the impoverished many, which takes us back to the Dutch Patriot Revolt, as follows:
After the halcyon days of the Dutch Golden Age of the first two-thirds of the 17th century, the Dutch economy entered a period of stagnation and relative decline.
The absolute size of Dutch GNP remained constant, but the economy was overtaken by that of other European countries in the course of the 18th century, and in a number of economic sectors, such as the fisheries and most industries that had sprung up in the early 17th century, an absolute decline occurred.
In a direct comparison with where we are today in this country, the deindustrialization of the Netherlands (“offshoring”) resulted in de-urbanization as artisans that had worked in the disappearing industries had to move to areas where work was still to be found, and the shrinking industrial base was also concentrating in particular areas, to the detriment of other areas where certain industries (shipbuilding, textiles) had formerly been prominent.
Thus, just as in America today, in the Netherlands of that time, economic inequality markedly increased during the 18th century with the Dutch economy becoming dominated by a small group of very rich rentiers, and the economy shifted to what we would now call a service economy, in which the commercial sector and the banking sector dominated.
As is the case in this country today, those shifts had a devastating effect on the people who experienced downward social mobility and ended up in the lower strata of Dutch society.
Just as is the case in America today, in the Netherlands back then, the disaffection with the perceived state of the economy and the diplomatic decline was paired with a growing disaffection with the political system of the Dutch Republic among middle-class Dutchmen.
The Dutch “constitution” defined the Dutch Republic as a confederation of sovereign provinces with a republican character, just like America started out so many years ago, where power was supposed to flow upward, from the local governments toward the provincial States, and eventually the States-General. ‘
Those local governments, however, though ostensibly representing “The People” according to the prevailing ideology, had in fact involved into oligarchies dominated by a few families that in the cities at least were not formally part of the nobility, but were considered “patrician” in the classical sense.
Just as is the case in America today, the concentration of power in a more and more closed oligarchy frustrated the middle class, that saw its opportunities for political and social advancement blocked, also because the political patronage in regard to all kinds of petty offices was concentrated in the hands of the oligarchs, who favored their own political allies.
So there is some necessary background, which brings us back to the central question in the minds of Americans all across America today – who exactly is it that Donald Trump, himself a member of the oligarchy, or plutocracy, going to save us from, and how?
So stay tuned, and we will hopefully see what answer emerges here.