Let 2015 be the year the Elbert County Left get over their groundless expectation that Elbert County government exists to perfect their utopian dream.
“The government having stepped into the place of Divine Providence in France, it was but natural that everyone, when in difficulties, invoked its aid. We find a vast number of petitions which, though the writers professed to be speaking on behalf of the public, were in reality intended to further their small private interests. The files in which they figure are perhaps the only places in which all the various classes of prerevolutionary France rub shoulders, so to speak. They make depressing reading. We find peasants applying for compensation for the loss of their cattle or their homes; wealthy landowners asking for financial aid for the improvement of their estates; manufacturers petitioning the Intendant for monopolies protecting them from competition. Often, too, businessmen report to the Intendant confidentially that their affairs are in a bad way and request him to approach the Controller-General for a loan to tide them over this emergency. (It would seem, in fact, that special funds were earmarked for such eventualities.) Sometimes even members of the nobility did not disdain to play the part of suppliants, the only difference being that their letters were more grandiloquently phrased than those of the common herd.
. . .
In times of dearth-and these were frequent in the eighteenth century-everyone expected the Intendant to come to the rescue as a matter of course. For the government was held responsible for all the misfortunes befalling the community; even when these were “acts of God,” such as floods or droughts, the powers·that·be were blamed for them.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Regime and the French Revolution, 1858. Stuart Gilbert translation, 1978, pp. 70-71.