In much of the world, including those influence by indo-European civilization, there is a tripartite division of humanity:
The Three Estates.
Protectors, Preachers, and Makers.
Those who fight, those who pray, and those who farm.
Kshatriya, Brahmins, Vaishya.
Takers, Fakers, Makers.
Military, Intellectuals, Wealth Creators.
Bellatores, Oratores, Laboratores.
Those who produce security, words or wealth.
I believe this is less of a cultural thing and more of a human consideration. It takes different mental state to face enemy fire than to get up and work all day, every day for years. Which is tougher? They are different. It is impossible for many people to dedicate their lives to things that cannot be seen or felt.
By the French system the Clerics are the first estate, Fighters the second, and Producers the third.
The great mass of humans were in the Third Estate. And a good thing too. Without those who produce the wealth there is not much to fight over. Well, relative poverty, perhaps.
The wasp in the ointment is: “Who is in charge?” Whichever group runs things, it claims to be above such distinctions. But simple, cursory observation shows which group is supreme.
In Buddha’s time the Military caste was on top. Now it is the Brahmins. In the West the Second Estate was generally on top. For most of Islam the Second Estate was on top. The clergy was trained to submission and dressed as fighters. In Iran today there is an obvious theocracy. French Kings were above the estates, but they carried swords and treated all estates as though they should be armed.
It is rather amazing that such conditions could exist. Perhaps 5 per cent of the population was in the Second Estate. Less were in the First. The third estate was essentially everybody.
The stated goal of the French and Russian revolutions was to put the Third Estate on top. Too bad the people couldn’t be trusted to do it. Instead, the thinkers and political organizers – the First Estate – had to lead the commons into the better world. In Russia it was blatant. They didn’t even allow the common people the dignity of being the Third Estate. They were the proletariat. Proletariat is an interesting word. They are those who serve the state only by providing offspring. [Check the etymology, it is hard to believe on an unsupported statement.] When Karl Marx named the masses ‘the proletariat’ he showed his disdain for those he championed.
The revolution for the proletariat had to be instigated, ordered, and pushed by those in the First Estate who disliked the very people they championed. According to Marx the government would fade away and leave the proletariat. So the Russian Revolution was run by the First Estate who would not vanish into the mist. Unfortunately, in the real world security is needed. Especially during a century of wars. So the Second was raised up over the Third Estate from sheer need. We ended up with a Soviet empire with the First Estate on top, the Second Estate next, and the Third Estate – as always – on the bottom. The net effect of a bloody revolution was to trade the position of the first two estates. That left the poor proletariat poor and valued only for their labor and offspring.
In England things ran differently. There was no revolution for a very long time, but the Third Estate demanded small things for their protection and the notion of fair rules took place over the course of six centuries. The estates were the Commons, the Lords, and the Church. The non religious clergy were lumped in with the church. Under the Norman French rule the English-speaking commons demanded trials before conviction. This was the basic, first step towards justice. No matter what silly law was decreed, it had no effect unless the jury could be convinced to convict. Since a judge or jury could not be punished for making a decision, that was real power. Eventually the commons reached the point where they had to be consulted on taxes. That was the real change of power.
Charles I decided to rule without Parliament and revolution came. A muddy and fascinating time. The Parliamentarians won, then lost, then sort of won. The ideas crossed the Atlantic and the British colonists made a revolution that stuck. Locke, Montesquieu, and Adams provided the intellectual heft.
For a century we had in Britain and America systems where the Third Estate was more or less on top. Just through sheer voting power. That was ‘Power to the People!’
But things are changing. The First Estate is quiescent, but professional leftists, community organizers, lawyers, and all the Second Estate that seeks to rule for the people has risen.
Amanda asked me why I am a conservative. I am not. I am a revolutionary. A quiet, polite revolutionary. I am just very picky about WHICH revolution I support. Mao, Lenin, Rousseau, and Napoleon leave me cold. Rather, they repulse me. Give Me Locke, Montesquieu, Burke, Adams, Jefferson. Pay close attention to the Antifederalists. I believe the power should be in the hands of everybody, and that means primarily the Third Estate which produces all the wealth over which we fight.
See, Amanda? You made me take off my mask. Darn it.