The Blood of Patriots
Reflections on Independence
SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.
Thomas Paine—Common Sense
When we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, we are celebrating a declaration of war. Admittedly, the revolution began almost a year earlier, and the Second Continental Congress officially declared their independence from Britain a few days earlier, and most signers of the Declaration signed it in August, but our imaginations need a start to celebrate, and our popular history holds that independence, and essentially the war, began on July 4, 1776.
The war would splinter families, destroy fortunes, plunge common people into privation, but most of all, it would spark those who believed in liberty to create a new nation of free people.
The Revolutionary War began in 1775; what year did it end?
Well, as we all know, it wasn’t a nation of free “people,” it was a nation of free men, almost all white and European, mostly English. There is no indication that indentured servants and slaves profited from the Revolution; some slaves willingly fought for the British in the hopes of earning freedom. Women profited only in a derivative way, and Native Americans clearly suffered as a result. By no means all of the colonists supported revolution; many of those who remained loyal to Britain were treated very poorly.
Neither did the revolutionaries themselves always agree; one battle that raged from the outset was the rights of the persons, and of the states, over the rights of the central government. That disagreement was settled, in favor of the Federalists, unfortunately, almost a hundred years later, at the Civil War. Lincoln drove the spike through the dream of strong states and weak central government.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Jefferson, who largely penned the Declaration of Independence, had a vision of a state of gentlemen, each allowed to rise to his best on his own merit. We note the absence of “his or her;” Jefferson was not more sexually liberated than others of his time, and it would not have changed anything if he were, the society was not structured to allow more voice for women. Even so, we might easy say that Jefferson assumed that an informed populace could govern itself.
Hence his strong insistence that free citizens have free speech, and free access to firearms. He was opposed to a standing army, which the county sheriff has essentially become: highly trained, heavily armed, perpetually prepared for war. He was against a central bank, the structure of which has driven the latest economic depression.
What is left of Jefferson’s legacy, of the spirit of his words, and of the sacrifice of colonialists who gave their lives and fortunes for this vision of a new people?
The United States imprisons more of its people than any other developed nation.
The person in the U.S. is subject to myriad rules from abortion to marriage to substance use to suicide. The state intrudes into the most private places of our lives. California, in its zeal to control for our own good, makes a mockery of the second amendment, and indeed all those amendments intended to safeguard us from government intrusion. This government abuse causes decent and law-abiding people to lose respect for government, to skirt the intent of its laws, to become outlaws.
Property rights have been assaulted in the name of the commons, and while it is true that property owners at one time didn’t take responsibility, the spirit of protecting the commons has reached the extreme that it now robs us all of the reasonable and economical use of our property.
There are those who believe the “mob” can’t rule itself, like the author of the “We the people” preamble, Gouverneur Morris, who said, “there never was, nor ever will be a civilized Society without an Aristocracy.” That feeling persists; we in the rural areas experience it when modern aristocrats bless us with their presence and rule us for our own good.
The American Revolutionary War was also a European war, with the result that under the Treaty of Paris France and Spain gained territories in the new world.
What kind of patriots have we become?
Our young men and women lay down their lives in a war few of us understand, and of those, fewer still support. How did we come to trade the lives of our people so cheaply? How have we forgotten the cautions of Paine and Jefferson that the government is not the country, the people are the country; our allegiance is to each other, not the government.
Yet, on Independence Day there is no shortage of braggarts using the blood of patriots to cloak their lies about our freedom and bravery. We’re told we have liberty; it is a pale shadow of the liberty we were promised. We are told we are courageous, but few of us have the courage to call foul not on this party or that, or this candidate or that, but on the entire rotten federalist system.
You may criticize your government; it is your right. Indeed, patriotism sometimes requires us to halt those in power, but not just to replace them with the same product in a blue wrapper instead of red. We can, if we are only able to act like a country, a society of the brave… we can insist the entire top-heavy, bloated, self-serving, free person enslaving system change. Not from a welfare state to a state that worships greed, or from the mailed fist of a police state to the soft shackles of the medicated society. Our legacy from Jefferson is that we may recreate our government when it becomes too hoary with age and too myopic with self preservation to function properly.
It is estimated that Americans will drink 68,000,000 cases of beer over the 4th of July weekend.
There were those among the signers of the Declaration of Independence who never intended us to be free. Their thoughts were only for the profits England was taking. For them, independence meant exchanging the tyranny of a king with the oppression of profit. Those “founders” favored a strong central government, a standing army, an independent central bank. We are reaping the benefits of that: our people in prison or on the dole, our state subservient to a master a continent away, our freedom alive in name only.
Thomas Jefferson, if he were alive today, would be in prison, because he was a patriot. The freedoms he worked towards and the free citizens he imagined are curtailed and confused. He warned of such affairs and said words that, if he were alive to day, would have him branded as a traitor- a terrorist- instead of the patriot he was:
“And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
It is its natural manure."
Such an action, though, requires first, patriots.
Happy Independence Day