Friday, July 3, 2009

R3volution: Taxation, Property Rights, and Tea Parties

". . . we cannot be happy without being Free, that we
cannot be Free without being secure in our Property,
that we cannot be secure in our Property if without
our consent others may as if by right take it away."

--Abigail Adams, 1774

There are those whom I have heard disparage the American Revolution as being solely about "taxation and money" rather than about "freedom." When I hear this, I always want to ask such people what their definition of freedom is, though I don't always have the opportunity.

I suspect that such a person would answer that freedom is the ability to act without compulsion, to choose one's behavior. Indeed, freedom is the ability to speak, to write, to act without fear of interference from authority or government. If this is the case, then taxation--the act of taking a citizen's property by force in the name of some collective good--is at the heart of the argument for liberty, as Abigail Adams understood when she undertook to write to the English historian Catherine Macauley in 1774 about the just cause of Liberty for America, saying:

". . . Suffice it to say that we are invaded with fleets and Armies, our commerce not only obstructed, but totally ruined, the courts of Justice shut, many driven out from the Metropolis (Boston. EHL), . . . all the Horrours of a civil war threatening us on the one hand, and the chains of Slavery ready forged for us on the other."

Abigail Adams profoundly states the relationship between liberty and property in the opening quote above, from a letter she wrote to the American scholar Mercy Otis Warren in the same year.

There are also those who disparage the modern revolutionary Tea Party movement, saying that it is "only about taxation" or more frequently of late, stating that the 4th of July Tea Parties are "not about taxation", but that they are "about liberty." To them I would answer, as I did last night at the Bernalillo Libertarian Caucus, that the Tea Parties are about unjust and confiscatory taxation, which makes them profoundly "about liberty." A person who can make no choices about the disposition of his property, and who is forced to work to support a government for nigh unto half a year under threat of prison, has no liberty to lose. Further, if a government official wishes to "spread the wealth around" as Obama said, taking by force wealth from individuals who created it in order to "redistribute" it to those whom he deems more deserving of it, then he is enslaving some individuals to those "more deserving" others. As Lord Acton put it: "A people averse to the institution of private property is without the first element of freedom." (Quoted without full citation in The Freeman online).

There are also those who say that the original Boston Tea Party was well and good, because it was taxation without representation that the Sons of Liberty objected to, whereas the taxation that the present Tea Parties object to is taxation imposed by the consent of the governed. However, I do not believe that citizens are being represented by our nonrepresenting representatives. Mine, at least, (and I suspect that the lot of them) are in hock to their parties, their party national platforms, and the special interests that finance their extremely extravagant elections.

We the People get barely a second thought, except at so-called "townhall meetings" like the one that Senator Udall (D, NM) held at Albuquerque the other day, at which any questions and comments in opposition to the Dems national platform were immediately shut down. The Engineering Geek attended and called it 'Udall's Town-joke'. This was in the same vein as with President Obama's elaborately staged and scripted Town Hall meeting on the "credit card crisis" at Rio Rancho High School in May. The nonrepresenting "representatives" must be putting on a show for each other at these staged events, because they certainly did not fool many of the people there.

Thus I was gratified to open the Albuquerque Journal today and read what Christopher E. Spade of Cuba, NM wrote in a Letter to the Editor entitled Tea Parties Renew Our Fight for Independence:

" . . . We are again being taxed without representation.
"When members of Congress vote for legislation without first reading that legislation . . . we are not represented.
"When members of Congress move to stifle exploration and development of domestic energy sources . . . in spite of the fact that a majority of Americans favor domestic energy development, we are not represented!
"When members of Congress vote for bailouts for failed, badly run companies . . .and thus put the taxpayers at risk, we are not represented!
"When members of Congress consider new regulatory power over what may be broadcast over open radio stations . . . in clear violation of free speech guarantees . . . we are not represented!
". . . When members of Congress vote for confiscatory tax rates on the entrepeneurs who create the jobs and wealth of this country . . . we are not represented!
"There is another revolution on the horizon. Only this time, it will be at the ballot box."
(The Albuquerque Journal, Friday, July 3, 2009, Section A, p.11).

Thank you, Mr. Spade for saying it far more eloquently than I could!

We are not being represented.

Go to your local July 4th Tea Party tomorrow.
The Albuquerque Tea Party will hold an Independence Day rally on July 4, 2009 from 4-6 PM on Alameda St NE, right near the Balloon Fiesta park.
ABQ Tea Party RallyJuly 4, 2009 4-6 PM, 4509 Alameda NEAlbuquerque, NM
Come as you are - patriotic!

The theme for this Indepedence Day Rally is "The Spirit of '76!"

It is time for us to take to the streets and let our nonrepresenting representatives know that we see through their sham democracy.

We want the Republic back, and the political power to rest where it rightly belongs, within each of us, at liberty to live our lives without interference from the government.

For if we do not, then soon we will be in the same straits as the people of Boston, circa 1774, with "our commerce obstructed" and the people "reduced to want" and "made dependent", as Abigail Adams observed in her letter to Lady Macauley.

We begin the R3volution in our streets this July 4th, and continue it at the ballot box come November 2010.

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