The American and French Revolutions can be described in very similar ways: People were tired of being squashed by a king, being told what they could and could not do, how much tax to pay and what special licenses were required to work. They were tired of having one set of rules for the privileged few and another for the majority. While nobles sat in their powdered wigs wielding absolute power and control over them, the people were out working --- and they wanted to be left alone.
But there was a key difference. The French turned equality and fairness into vengeance and anger. Americans took a different course.
"The troops were going to kill everybody in Congress. They had just defeated one tyrant [and said] let's go defeat the tyrants in Congress who didn't pay us and wronged us," Glenn recounted Thursday on his radio program.
George Washington, though, turned away from vengeance, advising his troops against replacing one dictator with another. America's version of fairness was equal justice for all. Have we lost sight of that?
"I contend that's what's happening to us now, on both sides. People of faith want to be treated fairly. People in the inner cities want to be treated fairly," Glenn said. "Remember the principles of the Bill of Rights. If we could get agreement on seven out of 10, we're an American family again."
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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: So the idea of privilege and equality, that's what the French Revolution was all about. What was the American Revolution about, Pat?
If you had to boil it down...
PAT: Freedom. Tea (chuckling).
PAT: Freedom. I'd say liberty.
PAT: Self-determination. You know, obviously religious freedom was paramount.
PAT: Taxation without representation.
GLENN: Words matter. Words really matter. And the subtlety of words really matter.
And it's interesting, I'm taking a course now online about the French Revolution. And it's interesting to me how parallel things ran, but just a few changes in -- of history and a few changes of language, and the whole thing spirals out of control.
Because if you look at these -- and I would describe the American Revolution without -- without the typical buzzwords. I would say that the Americans were tired of being squashed by a king, tired of being told what they had to do, how much tax they had to pay, and having to have special licenses to do things, have somebody have absolute control over them, while they sat in their powdered wigs and the other people were out working. They just wanted to be left alone.
Well, I can describe the French Revolution exactly the same way, but let me tell you the beginning story of the French Revolution a different way.
GLENN: I told you now for a while that I'm more concerned about the day after the election, no matter who wins, than anything on the buildup of the election. Because we have to come together. And we don't want to come together right now. Nobody wants -- nobody wants to come together.
But we're going to have to come together after this election. And let me show you why. Let me take you back to the French Revolution.
The French Revolution, even Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson were fooled, they said, "This is a fight for liberty, just like our fight for liberty. This is a fight for freedom and equality, just like ours." And let me show you how similar the situation was, not to America then, but to America today.
As I said earlier, the word "privilege" actually means private laws. The reason why we didn't like guilds here and the masons and everything else had a lot to do with, A, religion, but, two, had a lot to do with the guilds of the Old World. You had to be -- to be a bricklayer, you had to be a mason. It was like a union. And that's what happens in places like New York. You have to be a union member, or you cannot change the lightbulb.
In radio, in New York, when I went to New York in 1980s, WNBC, because they made a deal with the musicians union, back in the '50s, when they got rid of live music on the radio and started playing records, the union said, you're going to put out of work too many musicians. And so they made a deal and said, we'll hire the musicians' union to go back and get the record and put it on the turntable. Then we'll hire a -- a technical union to be able to put the needle on the record and push start.
Then a disc jockey, he'll be in his own union. He'll point to the tech producer to push that button. So it took three people to do what I always did by myself in New York. And they did it because everyone was in a guild or a union.
America hated guilds. We got away from that. Every man could chart his own course. And that's because in the Old World and especially in England, there were a couple of things: There were the lords and the ladies, and they ruled with absolute power.
The king and the lords and the ladies. The lords had so much power -- now, this is, you know, hundreds of years before the French Revolution, but it left a lasting, indelible mark on the people.
The lords had such a power, that on the day of your wedding, if the Lord chose to, he got your bride on the wedding night. So she lost her virginity to the lord.
He would take her from the altar, to the castle, have sex with her, kick her out, and then you can have her. And he did this because, A, you know, he's a guy, why not?
JEFFY: Why not?
GLENN: I can grab them by the -- and do whatever I want with them, and they're not going to say anything about it.
And he did it also to show power over them. "Your life is mine." Now, that law changed, but it still was part of the psyche of the average person of France.
So you had the lords and the ladies, they were one percent. Then you had the clerics, one percent. And everything had to go through those two. You had to pay a tax to those two.
PAT: I think that ended with the Magna Carta, right?
GLENN: In England. I don't think it happened in France.
PAT: No. Yeah.
GLENN: Yeah. And then in France, then you also had the guilds start up. And if you wanted to be a bricklayer, you had to go through this guild. And they were usually started by one of the aristocrats. So that way, they got a percentage of your labor. So you were paying taxes to the lords and the ladies. You were then paying 10 percent to the church. And then you were paying a percentage to your guild.
But if you belonged in a guild, it was the only way you could get off of the farm. It was the only way you could advance and do a better job than just farming and feeding chickens.
So the person was just trapped. You had to pay your way out of everything. France loved the fact -- and they still do. They think they're the center of the universe. And they're the center of all thought and the center of all art and the center of all whatever.
It was like the fashion world in everything. You know, now, "Oh, well, if you want the latest styles, you've got to see what they're doing in France." Whatever.
But they prided themselves on that on everything. And France was, if not the richest country in the world, one of the richest countries in the world. And it was generally new money because the ships and commerce were coming in from the New World into France. And you could buy and sell everything there.
Capitalism was starting to take a root in -- in England, which started -- or, in France. Which started to change everything. Because now people were working on the seas. People were working in trade. People were buying and selling. And everything started to become up for grabs with money.
So capitalism started to disrupt this little fiefdom that all the lords and the ladies had. And if you had enough money, you could buy your way in to privilege. That's what the guilds did. Privilege meant private laws.
Those are the laws for the peasants, they don't apply to me. You, as a peasant, can go take somebody on their wedding night and take them to your house and have sex with them and then kick them out and say, "Eh, go to your husband now." You'd be arrested. But because you live a life of privilege, of private laws, you could do that.
So the people said, "We want fairness, and we want equality. The top 2 percent are controlling the 98 percent, and that's not right."
Does any of this sound familiar? What the people wanted was an end to privilege. See if this sounds familiar. They don't want people to be poor. They're not trying to -- the average person does not have a problem with a rich person, with a person in power. They have a problem that the people in power, if you took six pictures on a submarine and sent them to your children, you will go to prison for a year. You destroy 33,000 documents on a private server that you shouldn't have and they're all top secret, nothing happens to you. That's privilege. A life of private laws. Laws for this class are different than laws of that class.
Nobody has a problem with -- with Clinton and what she believes or what she does. It's how she enacts them. It's the things she gets away with that is the real problem with the Clintons. They get away -- I hate to say this because so many people think this is literal. They get away with murder.
In fact, what's the number now, Pat?
GLENN: 104. One hundred and four murders. They just get away with murder. Okay?
STU: No. No.
GLENN: No, I've read that the on internet.
PAT: It's the internet.
PAT: Stu, if you'd just do a little research for a change...
GLENN: Right. Now, what's the other problem we have with the political class? The other problem we have with the political class is you don't have the same choice.
Do you think that Evan McMullin feels that he has the same chance of winning as the Republican?
GLENN: Do you think Gary Johnson thinks he has the same chance? Jill Stein, does she have the same chance? Bernie Sanders, who was a Democrat, does he have the same chance? No. Why?
Because she was privileged with the superdelegates. Now, he didn't win without the superdelegates, but, still, the privilege -- the private laws for the uber insider gets the advantage.
And so all we're saying -- all Bernie Sanders people are saying is, "Make it fair. Make it fair. No special access for anybody. Make the laws apply to everyone. Give me a chance."
Why does -- why does Donald Trump or George Soros or anybody -- Hillary Clinton, anybody in that class, why do they pay less in taxes than I do?
Well, it's quite simple. Because their income isn't important to them anymore. They make income through their investments and their trust funds which are all protected. You can't do that.
And so when they argue about the rich getting richer, they don't argue about their class. Nobody is talked about the trust funds. What they're talking about is damaging those people who are not in the trust fund area. The 250,000 dollar people. Those aren't the rich people.
The billions of dollars people are the ones who are getting rich. They're gaming the system. And Donald Trump has said, "Those are the laws." And he's right, those are the laws. He's not breaking any laws.
He is doing the law as it is stated. The people are saying, "Let's make the laws fair for everybody." But you can't. Why?
Because what happened at the French Revolution that didn't happen in America, what happened in America was, we didn't want vengeance. We didn't want a king. We wanted everyone to be equal and us to be a nation of laws and not of men.
And there were times the Temple of Honor story with George Washington, where the troops were going to kill everybody in Congress, they had just defeated one tyrant, let's go defeat the tyrants in Congress who didn't pay us and wronged us. And George Washington said, "No." We didn't overthrow one dictator to have -- to replace him with another. That's not who we are. We don't hate anybody. We love the law.
It's why when the Mormons were thrown out of the country and chased out of the country, they didn't hate America. They were literally chased out of the country. Utah was not America. They were chased out of the country. Their men were killed. They were slaughtered. They buried their children. It was the first extermination order of a religion, the only one in American history.
You have the right to kill them. And it wasn't really about religion. It was about slavery and Missouri and Kansas. That's what that was really about. They were chased out. And what was the first thing they did?
When they arrived in the valley, Brigham Young said, "We're having a parade."
Now, imagine being chased out of your home, being killed by Americans. Your husband. You lost your child on the way because Americans tried to kill you because of what you believed in. And Brigham Young said, "Let's have a parade and celebrate." And what did they celebrate?
America. From outside of America, the men -- and I can't remember which carried which, but the men carried the Declaration of Independence and the women carried the Constitution. And the point of the parade was, "It is the principles that will always hold things together." The people may go bad, but we don't hate the people. We understand that they lost sight of these sacred principles.
That's the American way. The French way was to turn equality and to turn fairness into vengeance and anger.
And I contend that's what's happening to us, now on both sides. People of faith want to be treated fairly. People in the inner cities want to be treated fairly. And we each have somebody who wants power whispering or shouting in our ear, get them. They don't understand you. They'll never understand you. They're against you. Forget about them.
Remember the principles and the principles of the Bill of Rights. If we could get agreement on seven out of ten, we're an American family again.
And I don't know how we can't get there. Because those are basic, fundamental rights that every American should be able to understand.
Featured Image: Oil on canvas painting of Washington crossing the Delaware by Bingham, between circa 1856 and circa 1871. Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., in honor of Walter P. Chrysler, Sr.