The More Things Change….

A law from 13th century England:

“These are the articles which our lord the King commands to be kept in his City of London for the preservation of his peace. Firstly, that whereas murders, robberies, and homicides have in times past been committed in the City by night and day, it is forbidden that any one walk the streets after curfew tolled at St. Martin le Grand with sword, buckler, or other arm unless he be a great lord, or other respectable person of note, or their acknowledged retainer, bearing a light; and if any be found doing the contrary they are to be committed to the Tun, and the next day brought before the Warden or Mayor and Aldermen, and punished accordingly.”

A proposed law from 21st century America (emphasis added):

“Mrs. Feinstein’s measure would exempt more than 2,200 types of hunting and sporting rifles; guns manually operated by bolt, pump, lever or slide action; and weapons used by government officials, law enforcement and retired law enforcement personnel.”

(I may update the quote when the full text of Senate Bill 150 becomes available.)

In Feudal Europe, different laws applied to nobles and commoners, and many jobs and government positions were only available to the nobility. Among other things, as noted above, commoners were much more restricted in what weapons they could carry. That helped to ensure that those on top, stayed on top.

One of the fundamental concepts of the American Revolution and the founding of the United States is that “that all men are created equal.” That is, that there should be no legal distinction between nobility and commoner, that all men are equal before the law and have equality of opportunity. You can’t be barred from a certain job, or subjected to different laws, just because of your parents’ social class. This is the concept that made the American and French Revolutions of the 18th century such incredibly radical events, that terrified the established order. Six or seven million people died in Europe in the effort to stamp out the idea of ‘liberty, equality, and brotherhood.’

Increasingly, our elected officials exempt themselves from the laws that the rest of us must follow. Insider trading, OSHA, financial accountability, the Freedom of Information Act, subpoenas, whistleblower protection, and so on. Now they’re proposing a law that would massively restrict the weapons that commoners can own, but exempt the ruling class.

At least we can stop pretending now about that whole, “that all men are created equal” stuff and just admit that we’re the commoners, they’re the noble ruling class. How bad could it be?

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