From the north to the south in the English colonies of North America, chapters of the Sons of Liberty were formed, tax collectors were ridden out of town on rails and hung in effigy, and within two years not one stamp franchise remained operating in the colonies. Parliament was forced to repeal the Stamp Act, however, in further attempts to subjugate the colonies, it then passed the hated Townshend Acts that created more of a firestorm and catalyzed the Boston Massacre. Parliament ended up repealing most of those acts as well, but the Tea Act remained in place. The Boston Tea Party protest resulted in the most tyrannous Intolerable Acts which led directly to Lexington, Concord and ultimately to the Declaration of Independence.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The Janus Face of Tyranny
"Tyranny . . . What a Janus-faced object it is,
smirking at you on one side of its mask,
and shedding tears for you on the other."
--Patrick Henry, Speech on the Virginia Resolves
May 29, 1765
Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say.
In the past few days, the House Democrats, uncertain of getting even the simple majority of votes needed to get the Senate version of the so-called "Healthcare Bill" through the house, are now threatening to "deem the bill passed" without a vote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that this would be within the rules.
But the question the party leadership is not answering: "Is it right?"
They say the Republicans have done it, as if this is a partisan matter. My instinctive response is right out of my mother's mouth: "So if the Republicans jump off a bridge, would you jump off right after them?" Frankly, I think the response would be wasted. The lady doth protest too much. And she lies more than Lady Macbeth ever did. As did the Republicans in their turn.
Avarice for power and the venality required to obtain it are not partisan sins. They belong to all politicians who wish to become royalty. The purpose of the statement is try to fool you and me, gentle reader. "Deeming" the bill to pass will give many Democrats in the House an out come the election, when they can claim that they never voted for an unpopular and unholy mess of a bill, and hope and pray that we are shortsighted enough to believe them. I don't think there is enough amnesiacs in the hands of all the angels in heaven to make that happen. Not this time. Oh, how the mighty will fall.
This is what happens when a republic turns to empire, and the servants of the people wish to become their masters. It has happened before, many times, and even within the memory of our own history. The Stamp Act passed by Parliament in order to subjugate the 13 Colonies was one such time. Following the Seven Years War, Parliament turned its attention to the long neglected English Colonies in North America. Claiming that the war was fought to protect the colonials, Parliament proceeded to pass the Stamp Act, a method of internal taxation on the colonies to "pay for the war."
Many colonists perceived that this was at best a half-truth. The war itself was a war of empire between France and England, only part of which was played out in the colonies, and that part to decide who would control the wilderness empire of North America. Further, these colonists understood that Parliament's interest in them was to confined to milking them dry for the purpose of using their productivity to shore up an aristocracy that lived off of incomes they did nothing to earn. In other words, British dandies would purchase their beaver hats adorned with 'macaroni' on the backs of colonists, indentured servants and slaves.
Over against this plan of Parliament was also the matter of the English Constitution. Not gathered in one place, it was comprised of a series of laws and precedents dating back to Magna Carta and before, which guaranteed Englishmen certain rights to protect their liberty and to keep them from becoming peasants and serfs, as most of the farmers on the European Continent were. Having been left alone far away in North America, the colonists were not subject to the gradual erosion of their liberties that their English brethren were, and they were jealous of their rights and freedom. Further, although they were subject to trade practices intended to keep their colonies free of real money and dependent on England, they did have Crown charters that guaranteed that their own representative assemblies had the right to determine internal taxation.
Enter the Stamp Act of 1765, the spark that began the conflagration that sundered an Empire and created a new nation in North America. Like the so-called "Healthcare Bill", the Stamp Act was far more than it seemed. It required that every legal paper, every book and newspaper, every contract, diploma, and church document be affixed with a stamp proving that the colonists had paid a tax on it. And the tax was to be paid in 'specie'--money in coin--in this case, pounds sterling, which was very rare in the colonies due to the restrictive trade practices mentioned above. This meant that Parliament in far-off England would not only destroy initiative and control commerce in the colonies, but it would also control every aspect of the lives of the colonists.
Many colonial leaders understood that they would become slaves on an endless treadmill of regulation and taxation designed to subjugate them utterly to the special interests within Parliament, and that they were to have no say in the matter, nor would they be allowed any way to protect their own interests. And some among them began to understand that if they acquiesced to the Stamp Act without a fight, they were be subject to heavier taxation and interference at the whim of Parliament, and that the Crown they looked to for protection from such tyranny would in fact betray them. Loyal to their constitution and to the Common Law, and proudly and fiercely free Englishmen, I can imagine them singing the popular Rule Britannia:
"Thee, haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame,
All their attempts to bend thee down
Will but arouse thy generous flame;
But work their woe, and thy renown.
Rule Britannia! Rule the waves!
Britons shall never be slaves!"
And so threatened with slavery by their own government, the colonists aroused their "generous flame" in the name of English Liberty, and in the year 1765 began what became the American Revolution. From Massachussetts to Rhode Island to the Carolinas, they wrote pamplets, letters, declarations and resolves against the incipient tyranny. But none more famous than the Virginia Resolves and the oratory of the author, the fiery Patrick Henry:
"History is rife with instances of ambitious, grasping tyranny! Like many of you, I, too have read that in the past the tyrants Tarquin and Ceasar each had his Brutus, Cataline had his Cicero and Cato, and closer to our time, Charles had his Cromwell. George the Third may . . ."
(Here the speech in the House of Burgesses was interrupted by cries of "Treason! Treason!")
". . . may George the Third profit by their example! If this be treason, then make the most of it!"
As the Stamp Act did in the name of empire, so in the name of healthcare the bill before Congress seeks to do today. In fact the "Healthcare Bill" is worse, for not one person knows all that is in it, and the majority leadership has promised to "improve" the bill further after it passes--meaning that what is voted upon--if indeed it is voted upon--will contain further depredations on our liberty that no one now knows. Just as Parliament made its own rules, and the tore the fabric of the British Constitution, so today Congress in "far off Washington City*", does with this calummous and venal idea of "deeming" legislation to be passed.
*The world is smaller today with the speed of modern travel, but the differences between the inside-the-beltway bureaucracy and the lives of most Americans is more sharply drawn than ever, as the political class attempts to consolidate power and become an aristocracy.
Further, our wanna-be masters claim to be doing this out of pity for the poor and sick among us--they of the same "Janus face" that Patrick Henry warned of--shedding crocodile tears for us out of one side of their faces, while smirking at their own lies out of the other. Do not be fooled by their Janus tears and do not forget their Janus lies.
This Republic sits on a powder keg whose power Nancy Pelosi and her minions know nothing of. It is the righteous power of those who remember that this nation was conceived upon the natural rights of men, and brought forth to protect their liberty. That glorious sense of freedom bequeathed to us by the founders still stirs in our blood today, and we shall never, never be slaves.
Now is the time for the winter soldier and patriots of the storm to gather their courage and sharpen their wits in order to bring America through this great gate in history and return to our children their heritage of Liberty.
Our oath and our loyalty, like that of our ancestor in spirit, Patrick Henry, is to our Liberty and to our Constitution. Therefore we commit no treason in opposing with every muscle and fiber of our being the attempts of venal politicians to turn us into slaves.