Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Secession Day, Y'all!

Today we commemorate the unilateral American secession from the British Empire. However, we're celebrating the wrong day. Independence was actually declared on July 2, 1776. In a letter written to his wife the following day, John Adams predicted:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).

The Fourth of July is actually the date that the wording of the document we today call the
Declaration of Independence (written mainly by Thomas Jefferson, with emendations made by the Congress as a whole) was adopted by Congress. Somehow, the independence holiday came to be celebrated on the 4th. Anyway, it is a good and fitting thing to review the Declaration from time to time. One of the reasons our wealthy white male slave-holding founders led a secession from the union with the British Empire (while vehemently denying that they were rebels or traitors) was the following from the Declaration's list of grievances:

"He [the King] has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance."

He is speaking of bureaucrats (which are enabled by one of the other major gripes of the Americans: taxes). That's the cause of the American War of Independence in a nutshell: overbearing government made possible by excessive taxation. The general government had become too big, and the colonies were in favor of a small federation of independent states. They had had enough of Big Government, Big Taxes, and Big Control from Washington, DC, er... I mean, London.

As the French (who made our independence possible) say: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

Anyway, I just ran across a great little story that captures Thomas Jefferson's complaint about parasitic "swarms of Officers" sent by the government to sap the economic strength and productivity of our people. This is from the July-August 2007 issue (Vol. XVIII No. 4) of
The Parapet, the newsletter of the Point Lookout POW organization (PLPOW), page 6:

A cocky Department of Agriculture representative stopped at a farm and talked with an old farmer, "I need to inspect your farm."

The old farmer said, "OK, but don't go in that field right over yonder."

The Agriculture representative said, "Mister, I have the authority of the U.S. Government with me. See this card? This card means I am allowed to go WHEREVER I wish on any agricultural land... no questions asked or answered. Do you understand?"

The farmer nodded politely and went about his farm chores. Later, he heard loud screams and saw the department of agriculture rep running for the fence and close behind was the farmer's huge-horned prize bull. The bull was madder than a nest of hornets. The bull was gaining on the rep at every step.

The old farmer called out, "Show him your card! Show him your card!"

Happy Fourth of July, everyone.


Fr Watson SSP said...

I don't believe in Tatoos (or Beatles either) but if I ever get one it will be the glorious "Gadsen" banner and not Luther's Rose.
Deo Vindice,
FR Watson SSP

solarblogger said...

Ahhh. Someone beat me to it. Just writing to say, Love that Gadsden flag. That gives me an idea for a naughty post!

Kobra said...

I love the flag, too, and I love tattoos. Actually, I have just had an idea for a tattoo.

Lawrence said...

parasitic "swarms of Officers" sent by the government to sap the economic strength and productivity of our people.

This is exactly how I think of our Internal Revenue Service.