The Corner

A Taste for Wealth

In typical proto-anarchic fashion, the protestors blockading the NATO summit in Chicago, which wrapped up yesterday, managed to develop a chant as mindless as Jesse Jackson &c.’s 80s hit, “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Western civ has got to go!”

The Chicago squad, to their credit, employed more impressive arithmetic. Video of the protesters features them marching, signs aloft, and shouting, “1-2-3-4! No war but class war! 5-6-7-8! Eat the rich and smash the state!”

Curious about that promo for cannibalism sandwiched between the more run-of-the-mill Occupy sentiments? According to historian Adolphe Thiers’s The History of the French Revolution, 1789-1800, published in the late 19th century, the phrase originates with Enlightenment thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau: “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.” 

Rousseau also believed that if men could strip naked and return to their pre-civilizational state, they might recreate Eden. Perhaps he would reconsider, having seen all those topless protesters battling Chicago police.


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