Peasants' Rights and Duties: Something To Consider This Election Season

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We of the Medievalist Party (MP) invite you to consider a unique synthesis of the politics of our time. Neither capitalist nor socialist, the MP has dug deep into history to offer a genuine Third Way, which avoids the difficulties of previous Third Ways offered these past hundred years. Happily, a viable Third Way has no need for military dictatorship. It has no need for prison camps, or for mass exterminations. The Third Ways which did so were wrong, and are rightly condemned in our time. The true Third Way of the Medievalist Party is one where fanaticism cannot grow from a reinvigorated soil. The manorial system is one that metes out punishments to fanatics, as well as to other malcontents, that are relatively humane compared to the plain barbarity of other Third Ways.

Yes, it is true that certain implements of torture were used, but for reasons understandable in our post 9/11 world. Typically, the punishment for obstreperousness was expulsion — far better than mass shooting, mass gassing or mass starvation. Yes, there were prosecutions that fit the rather quaint term "miscarriage of justice," but said "victims" were brought closer to God in consequence. Certainly, the overall community was. In fact, said "miscarriages," because they did revivify the piety of the community as a result, could be justly termed a community right.

The manorial system, despite the bad repute it got from eighteenth-century minds, has in its heart the protection of its peasants. Peasants’ rights were far from the theoretical ones beloved by eighteenth-century minds: the rights in the merrie day of old were real. Every peasant had the right of the granary: the ruler(s) had the responsibility to keep every peasant alive, hearty and hale. Limitations of technique meant that there were deplorable shortfalls, but the underlying responsibilities were accepted as right and just.

Nowadays, peasants’ rights are far more elaborated due to a much higher level of general wealth. Every American peasant has the right to be clothed, housed and fed thanks to the increasing recognition of practical rights by the United States manor. In addition, every American peasant has the right of granary in other respects, such as compensation for the trials of unemployment and succor for the sunset years of life. Rights of feast, festival, and other means to drain dour exploitiveness have been implemented. It is truly a compliment to the American vote-wielding peasantry that it is mature enough, in its heart, to recognize that such rights do have bills associated with them. The bulk of the cost of said programs are met through what are heartily known as "voluntary contributions" to the granary, known officially as the treasury.

The American granary is full indeed, thanks to the hard work and shrewdness of the American peasant. Even the villeins of underground labour have access to the granary and its bounties. Surely, positive proof that the granary is full enough for rights of haleness as well as life.

Like all peasants, the American peasant is good at heart but sometime knows aught about his own good here on earth. It is a deplorable tendency of the human heart to shave one’s abilities and exaggerate one’s needs. The Medievalist Party understands that hard-hearted techniques are often means to assure the peasants remember their own good, long term, as well as the good of others. A well-run manor is, after all, one where the peasants are imbued with the hearthful virtue of group spirit, where selfishness is subordinated to the common good. The laws, regulations and sacred customs of said manor are vital to the upkeep of the communal spirit.

One necessary mechanism to this upkeep is the right of the meadow, which too has many elaborations in today’s America. How hollow the selfish cries of "private property" echo when such fee-simples evince titles to lands that are clearly "public spaces"! Yes indeed, the American peasantry (save for some nerve-grating churls) does claim the right of the meadow, the right to free access to public spaces. Look at how much good has been accomplished by overruling the querulous claims of the business class. "Private place of business" indeed! If so private, then why ask the public to come in? Why is public participation solicited so vigorously? Why more eager for the public to come in than the trustees of public parks are? Is this plaint not an emanation of…mere greed?

That baseness being exposed, we must sadly turn to the chore of asking for further responsibilities. We are practical enough to recognize the inherently irresponsible nature of "cost-free" blandishments. In addition, we recognize that the American peasant, raised up by the franchise, has enough maturity to recognize that a granary emptied must be filled.

The typical means of fillment is, of course, the corvée. The typical American peasant, being good-hearted, manfully shoulders his share of the corvée. In addition to payment in money, payment in kind is supplied by the more business-oriented American peasant. Think of all the free labour our doughty men of business, the ones who are the chief beneficiaries of the Federal Reserve money-granary, do for the manor! Record-keeping, forwarding of payment, tracking villeins. The next advancement of corvée is, of course, the subornment of informing to the constabulary. Valuable labour indeed, often supplied without monetary compensation.

And yet, corvée can go further. It brings us no delight to note this; neither initiative nor creativity is required to notice it. The cries across the land are all that suffices.

The infrastructure of America is falling apart. Roads are in disrepair; train tracks are rusted; alternatives to Musselman’s oil are largely unimplemented; the country is so vulnerable to siege. Despite the good-heartedness of the American peasant, the infrastructure issue clearly shows that his notions about his own happiness are willfully blind in spots.

Since the American peasant has been responsible enough to contribute corvée in other areas, why not infrastructure repair? What better way to forge national solidarity and unity than a good spell of lusty work that the nation badly needs? In addition, the moral fibre of the community will be rightly raised by such a national program. Laziness and jealousy would be consigned to the past. Short-termism and selfishness would be too. Each man who meets the obligation of corvée will enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that his labour has made his home, his hearth and his family less dependant upon the increasingly unpredictable Mohammedan. He will be proud to know that his sweat will make his, and his descendants’, future far more secure.

One common objection to the Medievalist Party philosophy is that it leaves a wide loophole open to those who cloak their selfishness in manor’s colours. Man is not only instructed by angels; he is also tempted by devils. Many a good-hearted soul has been bedeviled by the plague of our times, the State hypocrite.

There is no easy solution to this dilemma. A full and frank solution would have to await a certain constitutional amendment, to be unveiled later. This amendment, like the much-storied Sixteenth Amendment, would entail a small but necessary modification to the Constitution then extant. Part of it would, for the sake of fundamental equality, authorize Congress to mete out special punishments for a certain class of people to be defined in it. The overall principle of "With Greater Rights Come Greater Responsibilities" would be strictly observed.

America has come a long way through its life. A backward republic, with nary a government and a doctrine of so-called "natural" rights that fit the weaknesses of its authority, was its cradle. Since then, America has grown into a governing system that deploys the power of authority with both collective generosity and collective sobriety. The philosophy of the Medievalist Party is very much in line with this advancement…as there is no system more anti-theoretical than ye auld fief.

The above is intended as spoof and divertment — you can peg it as "making merrie" if you like. There is no Medievalist Party extent, so far as I know.

Daniel M. Ryan [send him mail] is a Canadian with a past. Visit his website.

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