November 12, 2016
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. In short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Charles Dickens was an enormously successful mid-nineteenth century author who came to be recognized as a very astute social critic. Today he is considered a literary genius whose fictional characters have resonated within the minds of both children and adults alike for over 160 years. Not only were Dicken’s books immensely popular during his lifetime, but many of his works remain in print today and are still widely read.
Charles Dickens once described his father, John Dickens, as “a jovial opportunist with no money sense”. When Charles was only twelve years old he saw his father imprisoned for three months under the Insolvent Debtor’s Act of 1813. John was imprisoned because he owed a baker 40 English Pounds and 10 Shillings. There is little doubt the influences of poverty, crime, imprisonment and the injustice of social class structures influenced the writings of Charles Dickens. Indeed, the struggles of working-class people were a consistent theme in his works. He most eloquently addressed the poverty and social stratification of Victorian society in his stories and during a speech in New York City he once even exclaimed: “Virtue shows quite as well in rags and patches as she does in purple and fine linen”.
When contemplating the Dickensian lives of those who are entitled as opposed to those who struggle in their daily existence within the simmering strata of social class warfare, one would be remiss not to consider “A Tale of Two Cities”. According to multiple sources this historical novel by Dicken’s is consistently cited as being within the top ten bestselling books of all time with over 200 million sold since 1859.
The book was Dicken’s first foray into the category of Historical Fiction and was unique at the time because it was published via 31 weekly installments in Dickens’s own literary magazine titled “All the Year Round”. Since it was published in weekly installments it made the book more affordable to the working class. Set within the background of the French Revolution, the weekly installments were actually manifested within three books as follows:
- Book the First: Recalled to Life
- Book the Second: The Golden Thread
- Book the Third: The Track of a Storm
Ironically, the series was based upon another three-volume work entitled: “The French Revolution: A History” written by the Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle. Born in 1795, Carlyle was a contemporary of Dickens and is referenced in the preface of “Tale of Two Cities” as follows:
no one can hope to add anything to the philosophy of Mr. Carlyle’s wonderful book
A researcher on the internet by the name of Cliff Notes summarizes “A Tale of Two Cities” as dealing with:
the major themes of duality, revolution, and resurrection. It was the best of times,it was the worst of times in London and Paris, as economic and political unrest lead to the American and French Revolutions. The main characters in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities — Doctor Alexandre Manette, Charles Darnay, and Sydney Carton — are all recalled to life, or resurrected, in different ways as turmoil erupts.
To summarize, the major themes of “duality, revolution and resurrection” are explored against the backdrop of the burgeoning warfare between the aristocratic class and those of the peasants during the French Revolution. Moreover, Dickens’s technique of applying duality to his story is used to not only draw oppositions between the characters and their circumstances, but the “doubling effect” also defines hidden parallels as well. The same can be done today. After all, there are those who say history repeats and others who claim it rhymes. Perhaps both are right.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”
In the late eighteenth century, the Industrial Revolution was sweeping through Europe. Technological innovations were facilitating many changes in manufacturing and trade. Urban areas were becoming more populated as people moved from rural areas in order to find employment on the nascent assembly lines of mass production. The corporatocracy of the day took advantage of the surplus of labor by keeping wages low. The poor stayed poor and lived in their ramshackle dwellings among much urban squalor.
Today, a technological revolution has taken place throughout much of the world. The Information Age has placed a computer on every desktop and smartphones in every pocket. People are fleeing the rural areas in pursuit of internet connectivity and by 2050 it is predicted that 64% of the developing world and 86% of the developed world will be urbanized. The Powers That Be have torn asunder borders in both America and Europe in pursuit of low wages and cheap goods. Over the past several decades the middle class has been decimated and even today, the poor stay poor and many live in ramshackle dwellings among much urban squalor.
“it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,”
During the French Revolution the First Estate consisted of the clergy, the Second Estate was made up of the nobility and the Third Estate represented the commoners and all others. At the time of the revolution, the First Estate owned 5–10% of the lands in France and all of the property of the First Estate was tax exempt. The Second Estate consisted of 400,000 persons of nobility including men, women and children. They monopolized the high offices of government administration, the church, the army, the parliaments and most other positions of power. Like the First Estate, they were taxed little if at all due to the principle of feudal precedent.
The Third Estate comprised about 25 million people. These were the bourgeoisie, the peasants, and all others in France. Unlike the First and Second Estates, the citizens of Third Estate were compelled to pay heavy taxes, but some of the bourgeoisie found one way or another to be exempt from them. This means the heavy burden of government was mostly carried by the poorest in French society: The peasantry, the working poor, and the farmers. No wonder they were pissed off.
Today, the Global Elite Bankers are the First Estate. The Congress, the media pundits, the establishment politicos and their corporate benefactors comprise the Second Estate. And the Third Estate pretty much can be divided into two separate camps: Hypnotized servants and slaves to the establishment and those who support Donald Trump.
In the 2016 U.S. elections, two of Donald Trump’s main platforms were borders and trade. He was elected based upon his promises to protect American middle class workers from the combined ravages of cheap labor flowing through the U.S. southern borders and American companies shipping middle class jobs to Mexico or overseas. In the past three decades the American middle class has been decimated with higher taxes, inflation, low interest rates on savings, increased governmental and personal debt, decreasing wages, increased cost of healthcare and the loss of manufacturing jobs. At the same time, welfare has skyrocketed while a record number of Americans have left the workforce. How is this going to end well?
Yet, none of this prevented a majority of Americans voting for the Marie Antoinette of our day, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Like the Queen of France from days of old, the new and unimproved Madame Déficit of modernity was rejected only by the deplorable members of today’s Third Estate due to her “lavish spending and her opposition to the social and financial reforms”.
In Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities, Hillary Clinton would have been as one riding in the carriage of Marquis St. Evrémonde expressing no remorse after running over and killing a child then expressing concern only for the horses. For her, the dead boy might as well have been aborted in the womb during his mother’s third trimester and, like St. Evrémonde, she would have been perfectly happy to throw a mere few coins to the boy’s parents as a pittance. In spite of feigning a love for children her entire life, Hillary Clinton never truthfully cared for the future of American progeny. On the contrary, she was always the embodiment of corruption and showed concern only for those who contributed to her wealth and power.
“it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”
This year’s election was a complete rejection of the Washington D.C. establishment and is the modern day equivalent to the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Like a politically incorrect orange Hurricane, Donald Trump stormed through the Republican primaries only to defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election. He overcame great odds against an entrenched establishment and a hostile media in a surprisingly efficient manner. Tens of millions of Americans responded to Trump’s call to “Make America Great Again”. Yet within days of Trump’s electoral victory the blatantly biased mainstream media were already calling him out on his campaign promises claiming they may be impossible to fulfill.
Furthermore, the narrative of racism in America is now being screamed through the media bullhorns calling for unity against the whitelash, as protests funded by the globalist, George Soros, are being staged all across the nation. If Hillary won and Trump supporters took to the streets like this the media would be reporting it as anarchy, racism, and third-world, banana republic tactics by ignorant and deplorable, sore losing neanderthals. The media has come to represent all that is wrong with America today. They call for unity yet create only division. They are the problem because they are on the wrong side of history. They have forsaken morality and the American way.
Even the modern day aristocrats, now known as the technocratic elite are making their stand within the muster fields of Silicon Valley and preparing for war against the new president elect and his movement. At the same time, calls for Trump’s assassination are Twittering wildly amongst the newly disenfranchised dolts, dunderheads and dummies.
“In short, the period was so far like the present period,
that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received,
for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
We are different, but we are the same. Revolutions rise. Revolutions die. War brings peace. Peace brings war. Generations are born, they turn, they die. Rather than repeating, history twists and turns in a rhythmic rhyme and a cacophonic cadence that few dare heed to hear. The characters have changed as well as the motives and we all know certain outcomes are forthcoming. Nationalist versus globalist. Male versus female. Homo versus hetero. Rural versus urban. Democrats against Republicans. Conservatives against liberals. This time it is the bourgeoisie rising along with the lower castes that were previously pacified by bread via EBT SNAP Cards and entertained with three dimensional circuses presented in High Definition. States are divided county by county. The nation divided by states. Cities separated ward by ward and precinct by precinct in order to be shaded blue or red. Rich versus poor. White versus those of color. The haves against the have nots. Truth versus lies.
However, during this cycle of revolution, the strategy of the global elitist aristocrats of the First Estate is to keep the lower classes at war with each other in order to keep the focus off those pulling the levers behind the curtain. Yes, the players have indeed changed and today in addition to the original three estates, we now have two more warring with each other: The abnegated Fourth Estate, the old media, against the Fifth Estate vanguards manifesting free speech and thought on the blogospheric interwebs.
We are living a tale of resurrection and death: A Tale of Two Cities torn apart by revolution and innovation. We see each other across the breach yet we fail to understand. Dickens puts it this way:
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it! Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is referable to this.
May it be a peaceful revolution this time with no bloodshed. Yet both wishes and prayers often fail to materialize. As history has shown, a Tale of Two Cities can end with only one of two possible outcomes. In other words, what resurrection are we about to witness?
Please check back later for the third and final installment of this series entitled: “The Good, the Guilty and the Guillotine”.
2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Cities”
What a superb and thoughtful comparison of today’s current election of Donald Trump and the after effects that are currently being manifested. We are all living in a modern version of Dickens classic novel….except that the methods of revolution are far different than in the earrings 1800’s.
Thank you for your comment.