SUBALBUM:  Marie Antoinette, née Archduchess Maria Antonia


Ingrid Mida wrote, "Dress etiquette allowed nobles to visibly demonstrate their place in society and for many, a brilliance of style in dress became their reason for being." This raises the issue of social contract - at least in the USA. In France, the nobility provided military leadership, but that role was eroded in the 1700s due to changes instituted by Louis XIV after the Fronde. For many nobles, their role was ornamental as Ms. Mida noted. This left the high-upkeep noble class without a mission. Today's noblesse, the highly-touted to the point of deification "entrepreneurial" class, once built railroads, cars, stoves, clothes, and almost everything else. The social contract allowed income inequality and, as mentioned, deification. In return, economic conditions fostering broad prosperity were created.

Today's self-, and falsely-, described "entrepreneurs" swindle and play games with exotic financial instruments such as "collateralized debt obligations," aggressively pushing "subprime" loans, and electronic games such as trading a split-second after a firm makes an announcement, not insider trading only by the narrowest interpretation of the law. The "entrepreneurial" class has violated their side social contract by enriching only themselves and creating a "you're on your own" environment for everybody else. The "entrepreneurial" class goes further when it supports spokesmen for social division such as Rush Limbaugh, the "journalists" on FOX, and talk radio. Two lions of the "entrepreneurial" class, Charles and David Koch, inherited their wealth and are hereditary aristocrats of a new Shuvalov- or Bentinck-style dynasty. The "entrepreneurial" noblesse have created a blatantly corrupt political system that grovels before them, further weakening social contract by creating almost universal loathing of the political "leadership." Maybe the elite feels above the mess it is creating - just like the French noblesse did. But revolutions happen.

The best revolutions occur peacefully. Great Britain witnessed a peaceful Glorious Revolution in 1688, the USA did in the 1930s called the "New Deal" while Germany and Japan were subdued by war- and hate-mongering hucksters. The subalbum about Queen Caroline shows how she worked to continue the momentum of the Glorious Revolution. Queen Victoria also oversaw continuing progressive momentum. But the USA witnessed a counterrevolution with Reagan, made much worse by the second Bush undoing the glorious revolution of the New Deal. Now even the premise that "all men are created equal" is under direct attack.  Fashion does not offer a good prognosis. Much as convention broke down in the 1770s and 1780s, it broke down in the late 1960s and, except for an attempt to create a new Gilded Age in the 1980s of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, a new convention has not been established. It is a sign of prolonged drift with the attendant risk of instability. Violent revolutions are best avoided and it is up to the elites to avoid them - this is the Marie-Antoinette subalbum. Prognosis for the USA is guarded at best and deteriorates daily.

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Consider that Queen Victoria ascended the throne at eighteen - schooled in the British constitution beforehand. She also had a team of political all stars and her uncle, King Leopold of Belgium, to advise her and then her very capable husband helped from 1840 to 1861. Marie-Antoinette had essentially no preparation for what she faced and nobody to call on for advice. Queen Victoria also had the advantage of being with the home team. Prince Albert faced criticism arising from his being a foreigner. Marie-Antoinette was married off as part of a peace deal between Austria and France when anti-Austrian feeling was intense in France. Why does the Japanese word "kamikaze" come to mind?

Marie-Antoinette's Wikipedia article is here.

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