The phrase “Let them eat cake” is widely attributed to Marie-Antoinette, the famously insensitive romantic partner of Louis the XVI. The story goes that she was told that the people of France had no bread to eat, and her response was, “Let them eat cake.” She clearly didn’t understand the plight of the common man.
Today some historians argue, as they seem to about every bit of history, as to whether Marie Antoinette actually said any such thing. Still, the reference, accurate or not, is clear that those with a great deal are often insensitive to the needs of the have-nots.
In more recent times, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro served as a great example of setting one set of rules for his minions while enjoying a lifestyle literally above the rules himself.
The Castro era and its policies saw Cuba drop into unthinkable poverty. For decades, as his people suffered through crumbling housing and food rationing, Fidel Castro spoke out loudly and frequently about the evils of the excesses of capitalism. Meanwhile, he robbed his own people, ruled with an iron fist, and amassed a fortune of $900 million, according to Forbes magazine.
A longtime bodyguard, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, wrote a book about Mr. Castro detailing his lifestyle. Mr. Castro had a private island with a lagoon full of turtles and dolphins. His Havana estate featured a rooftop bowling alley, personal hospital, and indoor basketball court. Publicly Mr. Castro told the Cuban people he lived on $33 per month. Why $33? Because that is about what most of them were living on. Privately he enjoyed literally anything he wanted.
Let them eat cake.
Telling people what they can and cannot do, for better or for worse, is the job of lawmakers worldwide. In socialist or communist countries, the rules deemed as law are applied to the masses, but those in positions of privilege choose to exempt themselves. They are above the law. They know what is in the public’s best interest but sometimes opt to ignore those interests for the advancement of their own interests instead.
So it is with modern-day liberals in America.
Former Secretary of State and US Senator John Kerry was named earlier this year by President Joe Biden as his Climate Czar. His job is to tirelessly convince us that global warming is real and that we must all sacrifice certain conveniences to save the planet.
The problem is that Mr. Kerry, much like leaders from socialist and communist countries, doesn’t believe these restrictions apply to him.
Mr. Kerry’s private jet has taken at least 20 trips so far this year. The math says the Kerry family jet’s carbon emissions have reached 138 metric tons. To put that in perspective, the EPA says that the average American passenger vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide in a typical year. That means so far, our Climate Czar has tallied 30 times more carbon emissions on his private plan than your car will give off all year, and it’s still summertime. He can and surely will add to his output.
How can John Kerry justify this? Mr. Kerry took a private jet to Iceland in 2019 to receive the Arctic Circle award for climate leadership. At the time, he explained it away as “the only choice for somebody like me….”
Let them eat cake.
Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. She is the single most powerful Member. No law is considered, and no vote is scheduled without her expressed approval.
Mrs. Pelosi has frequently scolded other Members of the House if they disagree with her on the response to the COVID-19 situation. She has even threatened to have security detain and remove members of Congress not wearing a mask. You know where I am going with this one.
In August 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, strict rules were in place nearly everywhere, including in Mrs. Pelosi’s hometown San Francisco. Among those rules were that no business could accommodate customers indoors and that employees and customers alike had to wear masks at all times. Mrs. Pelosi was caught on video getting her hair done inside at eSalon, in a clear violation of the pandemic laws. The kicker? She wasn’t wearing a mask.
Mrs. Pelosi pleaded ignorance and blamed the salon owner for “setting her up.” A compliant American media largely accepted this absurd notion that the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives had no idea restrictions were in place during a worldwide pandemic, felt no responsibility to check, and had been duped into salon service by a hairdresser.
Last weekend outspoken “Squad” member Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib tweeted out a message critical of Senator Rand Paul. Her tweet read in part, “People are getting sick and dying 98 counties in Kentucky have a high incidence rate of COVID-19. He needs to put politics aside and put people first. Start resisting the virus.”
Immediately after sending the tweet, Ms. Tlaib went to a wedding in Wayne County, Michigan, where virus transmission is so high the CDC has recommended wearing masks indoors. Photos and video from the wedding clearly show Ms. Tlaib in the midst of a packed shoulder-to-shoulder crowd with no mask, shouting, laughing, and hugging with other guests. Apparently, the rules Ms. Tlaib insists Rand Paul should follow don’t apply to her.
So it goes with many of those in power, demanding American’s acquiesce to their demands. Whether it was “15 days to flatten the curve” or some other variation of insisting you sacrifice for the greater good, watch closely. If those same leaders ignore the rules themselves, you can safely assume their restrictions aren’t so much about saving the world as they are about bending you into compliance.
• Tim Constantine is a columnist for The Washington Times and hosts “The Capitol Hill Show” podcast every week from Washington, D.C.