Unintended Consequences

Charles Miller, in _The Rise and Development of Calvinism_, says that Louis XIV was completely unprepared for the result of outlawing Protestantism in France in 1685. France lost perhaps half a million of its most able citizens. He says in one town, Touraine, ninety percent of the silk weavers fled and eighty five percent of the looms were idle. The Huguenots made up most of the French middle class. I do not think it any accident that the French Revolution came less than a century later. The gutting of the middle class in France destroyed their economy and left no moderating influence between the nobility and the peasants, with well-known tragic results.

A lesson, perhaps, for our own age- the elites of a society are never as wise as they think they are, or as good at predicting the results of their actions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *