“Let them eat cake.”
The quotation is often attributed to French Queen Marie Antoinette upon learning her subjects were suffering due to widespread bread shortages. The anecdote sought to demonstrate the obliviousness and selfishness of the French upper class in the mid-1800s.
Ironically, 170 years later in a town named after the great French city of Versailles we are experiencing our own version.
Woodford County’s landed gentry has issued a similar decree by filing two lawsuits to attempt to deny the peasants better health care as well as denying the serfs a means to better their agricultural subsistence. The lawsuits seek to derail the expansion of the Versailles urban service boundary and the proposed multi-use planned development known as Edgewood Farm.
The development would include two components crucial to the future of Woodford County: a new hospital and more industrial land.
LifePoint Health, owner of Bluegrass Community Hospital, is seeking land to build a new $35-million hospital to replace the current 100-year-old facility. The new industrial land is targeted by the Woodford Economic Development Authority as an agricultural industrial complex to take advantage of the large amount of grain that will be consumed by the new industrial bakery, More Than A Bakery — whic could sustain 10.000 to12,000 acres of wheat production in Central Kentucky.
In this modern-day version, we’ve replaced the feudal lords with Thoroughbred millionaires who put their self-interest above the needs of the peasants, otherwise known as average people who think getting a new hospital might just improve their quality of life. The feudal lords are never going to lower themselves to use a medical facility in Woodford County, thus we don’t need anything other than the existing hospital building.
The feudal lords equally reject the idea of creating an agricultural industrial complex that might actually attract industries that could sustain the family farm. If the serfs can actually make a living on the farm, then how can the feudal lords buy their land on the cheap and expand their kingdoms?
The French Revolution didn’t end well for the landed gentry as the citizenry revolted and brought about far-reaching social change.
John Soper of Versailles is chairman of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority.
At issue: Herald-Leader article, “Ben Chandler, William Farish among plaintiffs against Versailles annexation”