Posts Tagged ‘Bubonic Plague’

Incompetent Bureaucrats and Overachieving Fleas

Posted in On This Day on June 12th, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – 1 Comment

June 14, 1381: The Chancellor of England Overestimates His Popularity

Simon of Sudbury really was an innocuous, well-meaning sort. In our day, he would have found fulfillment as a vice president of human resources. Unfortunately, he did not live in an innocuous, well-meaning time. The 14th century was anything but. However, Simon’s ineffectuality was his charm.

John of Gaunt liked the hapless and affable English cleric. The Duke was a critic of the Church, practically a Proto-Protestant, and it suited his heretical proclivities to have the passive Simon as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Simon also seemed the Duke’s ideal candidate for Chancellor of England. The compliant Simon would do the bidding of his royal patrons, levy another poll tax (the third) on the peasantry and try to reestablish a strict application of serfdom. But the serfs were not as compliant as Simon was.

The Bubonic Plague had turned out to be quite a liberal development. Half of the peasantry had died, and the survivors realized that their luck also extended to supply and demand. The supply of labor was now limited, so it could exact greater demands from the nobility. The peasants might now expect to be treated as well as the livestock. Some even demanded the end of serfdom. Of course, the nobility resisted. It tried to reimpose the legal shackles on the peasantry. The monarchy thought that additional taxes might restrain the peasants’ upward aspirations. Instead, those taxes incited a peasant revolt in 1381.

A peasant horde terrorized the nobility, swept aside the barely organized resistance and marched on London. Ransacking the capital, the peasants destroyed government offices and killed any bureaucrats they captured. Simon of Sudbury was among them. Being an Archbishop, he thought that the mob might show some deference to him. His head was ripped off. (Would I be so cruel as to call that deed a head tax?)  

The mob demanded an audience with the young king, Richard II. In what turned out to be the high point of an otherwise abysmal reign, the royal youth confronted the mob and demonstrated a majesty and courage that impressed his subjects. He addressed the peasants, representing himself as their advocate and leader, and promising to fulfill their demands. Awed and gratified, the mob dispersed and returned to their homes. Richard really had no intention of honoring those promises but he didn’t have the power to reestablish the status quo either. For all practical purposes, serfdom had ended in England.

How Michael Savage Would Have Explained the Bubonic Plague

Posted in General on July 25th, 2008 by Eugene Finerman – 5 Comments

If you’ve heard one town crier, you’ve heard them all: claiming a possible link between flea-infested rats and the bubonic plague. Some of you, in a panic over these wild rumors, might consider practicing hygiene. That is your choice. No one, however, should force you to be clean. Your filth is your right, and the facts are on your side.

Just consider these questions.

I. Is there really a bubonic plague?

Perhaps, half of the people in your village have suddenly died. Does that coincidence make it a plague? Did you check every corpse for boils? Of course not. So, why blame a disease, when the cause could have been a witch’s curse or the Jews poisoning the wells?

As for the rumors of the alleged plague devastating all of Christendom, how can you believe anything that troubadours sing? They indulge in gossip and sensationalism; what a sad commentary on the 14th century that a once honorable profession has strayed from entertainment into journalism.

II. Is there a link between vermin and disease?

According to tentative preliminary speculation, some Moorish doctors in Spain have noticed a correlation between their personal hygiene and their patients’ survival. These findings may only indicate that doctors are unhealthy for patients. Furthermore, the research was conducted by heathens who, in any case, are going to burn in Hell.

A study of history would refute any connection between hygiene and health. Methusaleh never bathed and lived to be 969 years old; Nero bathed and died at 31. In our own times, many sainted hermits have lived more than 80 years, garbed only in their lice.

III. Are rats and fleas unhealthy?

On the contrary, they are essential to your spiritual and physical well-being. The presence of rats means the absence of cats, those familiars of Satan. Every rat in your home is a guardian angel.

Fleas are invaluable in drawing off the foul humors of the blood. Without those beneficial bites, you would die of vapors or require the emergency application of leeches. And just imagine how expensive healthcare would be without fleas.

IV. What is the real motive behind the Hygiene Lobby?

Hygiene is an unnatural act, but we can respect a person’s right to indulge in it in private. If we can tolerate their fetish, however, they should not begrudge us our natural state. Why are they trying to force hygiene on us?

It certainly is not for our own good. If there were a moral justification for hygiene, baptism would be as frequent as mass. In fact, hygiene is part of an alien agenda to subvert and replace our society. The type of people, who want you to be clean, also want you to be literate. Feudalism isn’t good enough for them; they want a Renaissance, and these neo-pagans intend to clean your body and clutter your mind. Don’t let them.