The phrase "eat the rich" really stands for the harrowing class difference between billionaires and the majority of working America, as well as the millions of impoverished in our nation. (Illustration by Lillian O'Boyle)
The phrase "eat the rich" really stands for the harrowing class difference between billionaires and the majority of working America, as well as the millions of impoverished in our nation.

Illustration by Lillian O'Boyle

OPINION: Your new diet should include eating the rich

April 2, 2020

With the beginning of a decade, it’s never too soon to begin with a few simple goals. Maybe you want to ace your tests, do well on that audition or try to be healthier. If the latter hope is true, may I suggest eating the rich. It’s far more effective than keto. 

Throughout the past few years, the phrase “eat the rich” has become a rallying cry for protesting millennials, whether it be on Twitter or in the streets. You can even buy various stickers, phone cases and clothing demanding the consumption of the bourgeoisie. So, what does the phrase eat the rich actually mean? 

The idea of eating the rich was first coined by Enlightenment thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a French Revolutionary who fought against the oppressive French upper class. He claimed that “when people have nothing left to eat, they will eat the rich,” in his protest for change in France. According to GQ, he continued to push for better treatment of the lower classes and detested the glamorous life of the Versailles. 

Illustration by Lillian O’Boyle
The phrase “eat the rich” really stands for the harrowing class difference between billionaires and the majority of working America, as well as the millions of impoverished in our nation.

The phrase has experienced a resurgence in recent years and, similar to Rousseau’s ideas, isn’t an actual calling to cannibalize the rich. Rather, it stands against the harrowing, distinct class difference between the billionaires and the majority of working America, as well as the millions of impoverished in our nation. 

Billionaires are unnecessary to current society and serve as a detriment to the betterment of public wellbeing. In the past few decades, those on top made billions in additional income, while many Americans continue to struggle. According to the Toronto Sun, the eight richest billionaires in the world “are as rich as the poorest half of the planet combined.” In the modern day, it is incredibly difficult to make billions ethically. For example, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in modern history, horribly mistreats warehouse workers, forcing them into inhumane environments, in order to meet his Amazon Prime shipping quotas, according to Newsweek. 

The main problem with billionaires is the power they have. While this power can be used for good, such as Bill and Melinda Gates’s foreign work helping combat malaria in underdeveloped countries, many billionaires abuse their influence, like the Koch brothers. 

The Koch brothers are worth over $100 billion (Charles and David both have a net worth of approximately $50.5 billion individually). According to the New York Times, the Koch brothers and their network funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into conservative policy which benefited them, such as “free trade, free markets, and limited corporations regulations,” from the federal government. 

A majority of their money was funneled through nonprofits, which means full financial disclosure is not legally required, making it impossible to assess their full scope of operation and influence. 

This is an example of only two billionaires whose power majorly shaped the face of American politics over the past few decades. There are over 600 billionaires currently in the U.S., many of whom use their money to influence government and public affairs. It is impossible to have a free society when those with so much are able to manipulate the country serve their best interests. 

Obviously it is incredibly hard to prevent the birth of billionaires, but it is imperative to hold the most powerful minority in America accountable. Billionaires do not exist to save the public through charitable donations, most of which solve problems their own companies created. So pick your (least) favorite billionaire, soak them in your marinade of choice, preheat the oven to 350, and prepare for what Jonathan Swift would call “a most delicious, nourishing and wholesome food.”

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