Patrick Henry and the ‘Tea Bashers’
Here’s a piece I wrote for The Blogmocracy:
SFC Steve McQueen (Ret.) writes on BigGovernment.com about the anti-Tea Party campaign, “The Party is Over.” McQueen argues that ‘Tea Bashers’ divert money and resources from Progressives and, to show our support, he says that we should contact the group and let them know what we think of their campaign. Here’s that information:
Contact us: email@example.com
Press Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visiting the ‘Bashers” site, one can find their mission statement and strategy which concludes:
Other ideas include undermining the legitimacy of the federal government in favor of a radical rightwing form of state’s rights. We need to prevent their dangerous ideas from gaining a legislative foothold. So our strategy is to spread the truth about their dangerous ideas and prevent their policies from taking root in America.
“Dangerous ideas” like defending state’s rights and opposing a bloated central government as unconstitutional are not just “gaining a legislative foothold,” in fact, the Framers of the Constitution spent much time and effort debating the merits and drawbacks of forming a central government in the first place.
In the second Continental Congress, James Madison put forth the ‘Virginia Plan’ in which a new, central government would be created with the power to tax and legislate when the states’ governments were deemed incompetent. But other Virginians following George Mason and Patrick Henry were strongly opposed to the idea of a central government. Why should the people be taxed twice, once by the state and again by the central government?
In a recent post about Patrick Henry, I cite the following quote from one of his statements:
When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, Sir, was then the primary object. We are descended from a people whose Government was founded on liberty: Our glorious forefathers of Great-Britain, made liberty the foundation of every thing. That country is become a great, mighty, and splendid nation; not because their Government is strong and energetic; but, Sir, because liberty is its direct end and foundation: We drew the spirit of liberty from our British ancestors; by that spirit we have triumphed over every difficulty: But now, Sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country to a powerful and mighty empire: If you make the citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your Government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together: Such a Government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism
Henry, of course, was not talking about the Republican Party’s views. He was talking about the form of government that exists in America: we are a republic.
In Latin, res publica literally refers to ‘a public thing.’ Patrick Henry’s warning, therefore, is that the consolidation of political power will, necessarily, strip the people (the populous, publica) of their natural rights and property. We will be ’subjects’ not citizens. We will live lives of serfdom instead of freedom.
This argument and “radical rightwing” view was a serious concern for the Founding Fathers. It was men like Mason and Henry who campaigned for the adoption of The Bill of Rights using the same basic argument against the surrender of freedom to a powerful centralized government. The anti-Tea Party group, you can be sure, knows this and they are purposefully re-framing and revising American history and the ideas upon which our republic was founded. So, by all means, contact the group multiple times (don’t worry, they want to hear from us, that’s why they’ve provided the contact info!), but we should not over-look the revisionism and propaganda.