'Coffee Shop Liberals' Goes Back to the 17th Century

The "hipster coffee shop" as a gathering place for political dissidents of a particular bent is such a popular meme that one weirdo has made a whole career out of it.

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There are many complicated reasons why coffee and politics are connected in Western culture, but it, and the backlash toward it, goes back to at least 1674 when a group of supposedly civic-minded English women started a petition against coffee.

It's not like there was any shortage of things to complain about in 17th-century England, especially if you were a civic-minded woman. It was actually likely a psy-op by King Charles II's cronies to stop the intellectual elite from gathering for political discussion in coffee houses, but the "women" behind the petition complained that the foul "muddy water" was turning their husbands into impotent, gossipping scatterbrains. Basically, they were trying to brand coffee drinkers as that era's soy boys.

They even write like a bot.
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14 years later, Charles's successor, James II, didn't bother with the theatrics and outright banned the circulation of newspapers in coffee shops out of fear that they would stoke political unrest. He wasn't paranoid: He was overthrown the same year in the Glorious Revolution by people who were apparently much more willing to embrace propaganda.

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"Tea would never betray the crown like this."

Would that the coffee shop radicals of today were so effective.

Follow Manna on Twitter, where she rarely posts things she overhears in hipster coffee shops because she believes eavesdropping is rude.

Top image: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

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