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By James Hall
"I voluntarily take this OATH to bear Faith and true Allegiance to His MAJESTY KING George the Third; - and defend to the utmost of my Power, His sacred Person, Crown and Government, against all Persons whatsoever."
Words like these may seem strange to inhabitants of the twenty first century, but to citizenry of the revolutionary period, this was the making of serious discourse. Just hollow rhetoric, or was this sentiment of the day, a fair reflection by a significant portion of the population?
James Chalmers wrote a pamphlet under the pen name of Candidus, called Plain Truth, as a response to Thomas Paine's "Common Sense." His view represented the consensus of the colonies for scores of years prior to the rebellion.
Candidus replies to Paine's warning of abuse by the Sovereign, by invoking Montesquieu's description of the British government as being: "This beautiful system our constitution is a compound of Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy." And follows with the view of Hume towards the King: "we are in part indebted for our supreme felicity; since without such control in the Crown, our Constitution would immediately degenerate into Democracy."
It is not surprising that those in positions of comfort and authority wish to maintain that condition. A natural aspect of human endeavors is to seek security and rely upon the familiar institutions and structures to organize their communities. Concepts of liberty vary among those in society based upon their respected place in the hierarchy of status. Let no one be misled, all societies are composed of unequal rank among their populace. The notion of equality under the rule of law is a result of a recognition that each individual is endowed with natural rights that no state can legitimately abridge. But to extrapolate that their standing should be equal is pure nonsense.
The struggle that ensues from this intrinsic reality defines the interaction that all cultures have between their citizens and the state. The structure of government that the inhabitants choose to form or are compelled to live under, is based upon what particular faction dominates the intellectual apology for rule or commands the power to impose their will upon others. This is an axiom of all history. Only those who practice the rationale of denial will dispute this assertion.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, we have been exposed to a diatribe of patriotic fidelity that approaches psychopathic proportions, when examined within the context of the tragic record of how all governments act, towards their own citizens, when granted excessive powers to police their own people. Liberty is never a result of a bill proposed by a legislature or granted in a proclamation of a sovereign. It is always the embodiment of individual behavior. No one or no body can bequest rights upon you, since you are already endowed with fundamental principles of willful consent. Legitimacy of the state is founded upon the agreement that citizens have with the society that forms a government.
Today we have the 'Tory Complex' sweeping the nation. The standard for the masses is to demonstrate their loyalty to the country, by allowing the government to institute anti-liberty measures that are justified because we are at war. The confusion to mix proper demands and proportioned steps to ensure justice for criminal actions, with the forfeiture of inalienable rights; is demented. But that is exactly what the so-called American Loyalists are demanding. Their impulsive bellicose clamor, based upon the willful surrender of individual protections, is a result of a false allegiance. The nature of America, is embodied in her principles of individual primacy. All authority stems from the citizen and is lent out to the state as a trusted steward.
The biggest abusers of this misguided nationalism are the very people who share many of the same conservative values that are consistently argued and defended in these essays. The neo-conservative has mutated into the Tory champion. Imputing voices of guarded prudence with routine condemnation of their message and accusing them of being disloyal to America, follows the pattern of Candidus. He sums up the current temperament of today quite nicely: "This writer, and all others of his stamp, should remember that the colonies are now in a state of revolt and rebellion against their rightful sovereign. The British legislature is unalterably determined to bring them back to their allegiance."
When governments secedes your rights, they are passing the new Stamp Act. When your state abdicates the Bill of Rights, they have become the Crown. And when your furor mandates the abolition of our legal protections against the power of the federal bureaucracy, you are paying homage at the throne of a new King George. And you demand all this in the name of Patriotism?
President Bush, to his credit has remained balanced, in the face of a commitment to a mistaken Foreign Policy. It is the public who's fancy for a 'good fight' jumble the difference between proper accountability for Terrorists, with a call for a defense of the empire. They are the 'neo-Tories', demanding the implementation of Chalmers' last remarks: "In short, I affirm that it would be most excellent policy in those who wish for true liberty to submit by an advantageous reconciliation to the authority of Great Britain; to accomplish in the long run, what they cannot do by hypocrisy, fraud and force in the short one."
A real conservative is a revolutionary in the pursuit of individual rights and an advocate of constitutional protections and limited government. So why are you adopting the hypocrisy, fraud and force towards you own revolution, while paying allegiance to the dominion that the U.S. Crown has become? The federal government is not America. The American revolution was not fought to allow the emergence of a different tyrant. Because it is home grown, does not make it any better. Judging from the public outcry, the 'Right' are all wearing red coats, as the style for this fall season. What matters after the explosions cease, and smoke dissipates, is what kind of America remains as a nation. If we allow the state to usher in a new age of restricted rights and coerced compliance, we will lose much more than, a war. The true war is always with your own government, any state, that seeks to destroy the rights of their own citizens.
What we have today is a population that would refuse to stand with our Founding Fathers. They knee to a king, and his name is not our Republic . . . and desire to serve under General Cornallis. Your Yorktown confronts you and you are unwilling to face why? Rethink your position, correct your errors, and return to fight alongside George Washington.
James Hall, AKA Satre, is the driving force behind Breaking all the Rules a collection of his essays.
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