Wat Tyler

The peasants are revolting! Bad times for England, but good times for Demetria and Isaac as they talk about boy kings, bad tax plans, and what to do when a bunch of rebels politely ask you to kill your own uncle.

(Corrections: Isaac is not at all correct about the time period of Joan of Arc, and has mixed up boy king Richard II with boy king Henry VI. Also, I screwed up and forgot a Charles, there’s a Charles VII between Charles VI and Louis XI. Confusingly, some people in Charles VI’s life are referred to as Louis I and Louis II. We were on a lot of cold medicine while recording this, which did not help matters.)

Featured Image: The Death of Wat Tyler, painted some time between 1385 and 1400 (Image source)

The most famous portrait of Richard II, in Westminster. (Image source)

John Ball giving a sermon to the rebels. (Image source)

This manuscript page was described as “Richard II meeting with the rebels” but I think it may actually be that time he wouldn’t get off the boat. (Image source)


The murder of Simon Sudbury (Image source)

A much later and more sympathetic portrait of Wat Tyler by William Blake. In some versions of the story, Tyler strikes a tax gatherer who tried to rip his daughter’s clothes off. (Image source)

1 thought on “Wat Tyler”

  1. Hi to both of you and thank you for anither entertaining episode.
    One quibble. Maybe it was the cold medicine but a flat tax is not a poll tax. A flat tax is a fixed rate on income, like a tithe. That means, for example, that a 10% flat tax on $10k of earnings means a person pays $1k while a person making $100k would pay $10k in taxes. Most proposals would also exempt some base level of earnings. In the example above if $5k was the exemption then the first person would pay $500 and the second would pay $9500. In our current “progressive” system the marginal tax rate goes up as a person achieves certain income thresholds (which many commentators incorrectly (read deliberately) imply means paying the higher rate on all earnings.) In theory that places an even greater tax burden on the wealthy but thanks to the way we have set up deductions the wealthiest people can actually end up paying a lower rate than a less advantaged person even if they do pay more in aggregate. So in my case above it would be like someone earning $1m paying $75k in taxes, and then pointing out how they pay 7.5 times what the $100k earner paid, forgetting that they earn 10 times as much. Many proponents of flat taxes want to eliminate all these fancy deductions which is why these proposals don’t usually get very far. Sorry for the economics lecture, and thanks again.

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