Base, common and popular

There is an exchange in Shakespeare’s Henry V where Pistol, a soldier of the King’s, asks him who he is, as they await the dawn that will bring on the battle of Agincourt .

Pistol: Discuss unto me: art thou officer or art thou base, common, and popular?

The King: I am a gentleman of a company.

“Base, common and popular” – were terms of insult. Just as “populist” is today. The same snobbery applies. What the people want cannot be disparaged too much these days by the elites: a return to prosperity, reasonable controls on immigration, and end to attacks on white males and conservatives for the crimes of being white, male and conservative. See the previous article today on George Will’s deep distaste for Donald Trump, which amounts to no more than the belief that Trump is too vulgar, too base, too common, too popular. The term “popular” has mutated to “populist” because today we think that it is good to be popular. In earlier times they did not bother to pretend.

The French knights were already dividing the spoils of the English army in the night before Agincourt. We all know how that turned out. I expect to hear more boasting of the same nature this summer from American Democrats.

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