like a medieval act of fealty

A friend who knows I was recently reading medieval history as part of my ongoing remedial self-education just pointed me to this great passage from today’s LRC:

French historian Marc Bloch noted that, during the Middle Ages, “the notion arose that freedom was lost when free choice could not be exercised at least once in a lifetime.” The only freedom many people sought was to pick whose “man” they would become. Medieval times included elaborate ceremonies in which the fealty was consecrated. With current elections, people are permitted to choose whose pawns they will be. Voting is becoming more like a medieval act of fealty — with voters bowing down their heads and promising obedience to whoever is proclaimed the winner.

– James Bovard,
“Do Elections Guarantee Freedom?”


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