Tuesday, September 10, 2013

War on the Poor

Lawyers and lackeys and money-lenders, the meanest of lucky men, looted the art and economics of the Middle Ages like thieves robbing a church. Their names (when they did not change them) became the names of the great dukes and marquises of our own day. But if we look back and forth in our history, perhaps the most fundamental act of destruction occurred when the armed men of the Seymours and their sort passed from the sacking of the Monasteries to the sacking of the Guilds. The mediæval Trade Unions were struck down, their buildings broken into by the soldiery, and their funds seized by the new nobility.

Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith) (2012-05-12). A Short History of England (pp. 69-70). . Kindle Edition.

Chesterton marks Henry VIII mostly for being the weak king and agent that loosed a rapacious new rich upon England. The commons were enclosed and siezed, the monasteries, great and small, which had among other things served to ameliorate the misery of the poor, were siezed and became the dwellings of nobility new and (more rarely) old. The trade unions and guilds were broken.

Anybody see any similarity to the present?