Etiquette: the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
Truth: noun, 1. the actual state of a matter 2. Conformity with fact or reality; verity 3. Le fact, proposition, principle or the like 4. The state or character of being factual, 5. Actuality or actual existence
“Liberte’, Egalite’, Fraternite’”, they screamed as the rebels attacked the Bastille. It was a point of contention never before seen in France. The masses arose in unity and removed the heads of those who’d oppressed them with egregious acts relegating the people to the point not of feudal dominance but abject slavery. The act finally ground to a halt with the loss of some of the greatest minds and scholars to the guillotine.
Fraternal organizations such as Fraternities (and the female equivalent, the Sorority) are organizations bringing people of like social interests, participation in specific and particular career endeavors together for their community’s best interests. Notice that the interest is self-interest.
From these groups there evolved rules of conduct, manners of greeting and the proper manners and etiquette for interpersonal contact showing they were fraternal brothers. These conducts immediately identified those who were not elevated to the same level as the fraternal brothers. It also excluded those not of that particular “old school tie”. The privilege of rank delineated the ground they stood on like an island without natural resources to secure their safety and led to their downfall.
In order to assure the homogeneity and uniformity of the group, they scribbled their demands of etiquette and their requirements for proper action and interaction so as to assure nobody publicly and meanly displayed their competition in public.
In response to this fraternity, the lower classes chose to disassemble the class structure by killing the nobility and placing at its head, the bureaucracy: the lawyers, the petty paper shufflers, the litigators and military as the “nouveau riche” and those of less “noblesse oblige”. They were expected to have greater experience in the process of law and justice as the rebels saw it. The bureaucrats became the heavenly shining light to walk into at the end of the French monarchy. The bureaucrats lived more alike the rebels. The bureaucrats advised the rebels as to the interpretation of law the rebels wanted to hear. The bureaucrats appeared to be “of the people” as opposed to “above the people”.
But, like all mean men seeking to elevate their standard of living and fill their coffers with the plunder derived from the plight of the damned and dead they pushed up the stairs leading to the guillotine; they never foresaw their shadow falling beneath the blade as Robespierre did in finality. Each action is balanced by an equal and opposite reaction.
The aristocracy lived by codes and etiquette foreign to the lower classes. The principles that governed the aristocracy’s behavior removed the people from their government. The people had no say in the process. They had no real and true recourse or redress of grievances for wrongs extended to them. In this position they found the “noblesse oblige” of his masters DID NOT extend to them.
The etiquette and manners of the nobility was in effect obfuscation, a smokescreen from which they operated and associated in secrecy with each other for the exclusion of their perceived vassals. The words used; the performance of certain acts and the stage play of the performers were the platform from which they governed. Much like illusionists misdirecting the crowd’s attention in hopes of entertaining the audience, the act allowed the nobility to look more sharply down their noses at those they saw as inferior because the people didn’t know they were being laughed at and not with.
The rebels wanted an end to self-serving etiquette and they wanted the establishment of truth, honesty and integrity in government serving the people and not the people serving the government. The people wanted government to state the actuality of the people’s participation in the actual conduct of the state. The people wanted government to conform with the fact, verity and reality the wealthy are not the governors but the employees of the people who govern.
Today Congressional etiquette rejects the demands of the governed that Congress speak the truth plainly and with the concise and concentrated impact of truth. The governed may soon speak that truth with the sharpened quill of political, revolutionary commentary and second declaration independence; or the edged influence of a guillotine’s final statement thudding dully as the vipers’ heads are severed.
Now is the time for the Congressional nobility to respect the truth and reject their obstinate, inflexible, closed, and fraternal congregation in favor of re-emerging into the society they’ve wronged for so long.
Thanks for listening.