Our Forgotten Revolution

“The American Revolution has ceased to be a story that we tell in our popular culture.”

That’s a quote from New York Historical Society Curator Richard Rabinowitz, answering a question in a recent Associated Press article about the forgotten history of Marquis de Lafayette, a man instrumental in helping our American revolutionaries succeed in throwing off the chains of the British Empire. But that quote means so much more than the forgotten history of Lafayette, though that in and of itself is a tragedy.

We Americans really have lost the spirit of our revolution. Our founding fathers took on the most powerful military force on the planet with a rag-tag band of haphazardly armed and untrained farmers, merchants, shopkeepers and sailors because they thought their taxes were too high. And they felt like they didn’t get enough representation in government. These days we have politicians actually campaigning on a “raise taxes” platform, and entire groups of people devoted to opposing any attempt to secure that sacred right of voting for citizens only. The founders put their lives and fortunes on the line for principles like independence and individualism; today people march in the streets in favor of laws that would make us dependent on the government for things like health care, though even most of those doing the marching don’t even bother to show up at a voting booth when given the chance.

We’ve become a society where individuals look to government to solve their problems instead of themselves, and are usually more than happy to vote for higher taxes as long as the politicians are promising those taxes will apply to someone else.

I’m not usually a cynical person, but I sometimes can’t help but feel as though this country has lost its soul. Thomas Jefferson famously said that from “time to time” our “tree of liberty” would need to be refreshed with the “blood of martyrs and patriots.” What he meant was that eventually the spirit of our revolution would probably die, that we’d begin to again let the “powers that be” begin to encroach upon our liberties and that it would take another revolution to free us.

When I look around this country and see people who can’t build a shed on their own property without spending a week filling out forms and begging local bureaucrats for permission, when I see people arrested and put in jail for the “crime” of driving after having one glass of wine, I can’t help but feel like we are close to needing another revolution. Not a guns-and-battles revolution, mind you, but at least a revolution in the way we view the appropriate role of government.

You can read more from Rob Port at SayAnythingBlog.com

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