On Tea Parties

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I am going to perform my new song Liberty Man at the Tax Day Tea Party on the steps of the Capitol in Olympia. Check out the Evergreen Freedom Foundation's web site for the event, which starts at noon on Wednesday, April 15 (find other events on the web site).

The original Boston Tea Party -- taking place and a few miles north, and 200 years (minus a few months) before I was born -- was not a response to a tax increase, but to a government bailout. The East India Company was in big trouble due to a bad economy and bad management and bad government policies, and Parliament passed the Tea Act in response, which extended the Company's monopoly in the colonies, eliminated a significant tax on the tea in order to undercut the (smuggled) competition, and added a smaller tax for largely symbolic purposes.

Parliament was basically saying, "by purchasing this tea, which costs less than the competition, you concede that that we can tell you what tea to buy, and tax you however we wish." This is why some colonists called the tea the "seeds of slavery." Even if the colonists had representation in Parliament, this would have been intolerable to many of them, because they still would have had to agree that a majority of Parliament could tell them what to do. So they took the object of their offense and dumped it into the harbor.

The Boston Tea Party was not about tax increases, and was not even about representation. It was about self-governance. It was about making their own choices and directing their own paths. Representation doesn't give us that, as we in modern America understand: when your voice in Congress is only 1/435th of the House of Representatives, and this House has massive control over what you can and can't do, the fact of your representation is not meaningful: you still don't have much right to self-governance, which is the real point, not just of the Boston Tea Party, but of the American Revolution itself.

There's a great line by Mel Gibson in The Patriot, during the Revolution: "why would I trade one tyrant 3,000 miles away for 3,000 tyrants one mile away?" (Unfortunately, today, a better comparison would be "3,000 tyrants 3,000 miles away.") Gibson's character -- based on Francis Marion, from whom my father's middle name came -- continued, "An elected legislature can trample a man's rights as easily as a king can."

Even if you have representation, that doesn't make you free. You can have all the representation in the world and it doesn't matter if you aren't free. Freedom is actually being able to do as you please, and a legislature -- be it Parliament or Congress -- that is destructive to that end should be altered or abolished by the People.

Some people don't care about being free. Some people just want to be taken care of. They can be bought off with cheap tea. We can't. slashdot.org


wesleyt.myopenid.com Author Profile Page said:


Well said, sir!


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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on April 13, 2009 9:22 AM.

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