Happy 233 Birthday America!
Today is the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps we should reflect and try to remember why the American colonists made their decision to break away from the British Empire. The Declaration, in the enumerated grievances against the British Crown, makes it crystal clear that the cause was big government and taxes.
The crown violated the colonists’ personal and civil liberties, and denied them economic freedom through a series of commercial regulations, controls, and restrictions.
In addition, they were burdened with numerous additional taxes that ate away their wealth, and, worse, were imposed without their consent. "No taxation with out representation."
The king appointed various “czars” who were to control and command much of the people’s daily affairs of earning a living. Layer after layer of new bureaucracies were imposed over every facet of life.
“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance,” the Declaration explains.
In place of this oppressive system, the Founding Fathers declared the principles of a free people: every individual’s right to his life, liberty and the pursuit of his own happiness. The ground was laid for the noble experiment of a society of free men associating on the basis of voluntary consent and mutually beneficial exchange.
Just try not to remember that it was George Washington who started the French-Indian war, and all those 'new taxes' were the crown's attempt to recoup the expenses of that little excursion... moving on.
Let's zip forward a mere 233 years and we see a virtual return to a system of government controls and fiscal burdens that are far more oppressive than what the colonists revolted against. And we don't even have Single Payer Universal Healthcare - yet. One economist said in the grand scheme of time, little benefit will be seen from breaking with the crown. Whoa.
Those freedom-loving colonists rose up against a government that taxed a fraction of what the U.S. government, and Cook County, takes from the American taxpayer, today.
And the intrusive hand of government in our personal, social and economic affairs is far more pervasive today than anything those American colonists faced 233 years ago when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Now we have un-warranted wiretaps and google search.
This 4th of July, while you're throwing another hamburger on the coals, try to remind our fellow Americans about why the Founding Fathers led a revolution against the British government. Get into an argument with your brother and neighbor about why the government is far greater in 2009 than anything faced in 1776.
Because, when you're in that argument - you'll be playing a perfectly American game - politics. The Tories [loyalists to the crown] didn't want to split, and the Whigs - who were the hawkish, upset gun owners who picked a fight with the largest Empire on the planet.