We Need Not Repeat 1776
The parallels between now and 1776 are worrisome, even frightening -- in many ways, people now living in the United States of America have returned to circumstances of our revolutionary forbears. Hopefully, George Santayana was not stating what we must do: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
In 1776, there was an elite hereditary British aristocracy that was totally out of touch with the everyday class, in fact preying on it. Today we have an elite class of professional politicians with apparently lifelong tenure in Congress and their minions in a massive bureaucracy that controls the populace by overseeing regulatory compliance.
In 1776, the ruling class protected and extended their power using a military often built through impressment. Today, the power-elite fosters a class of government dependents who, in order to protect their government handouts or bailouts, keep the elite in power through the ballot box.
Two nights ago, I moderated a town hall meeting on healthcare. In the course of our dialogue, I called for a show of hands, asking, "If you could, how many of you would vote out all, repeat all, 535 members of Congress?" Instantly, almost the entire audience enthusiastically raised their hands.
In 1776, King George III dictated to a group of colonies separated from him by great distance. Today, we have a president who preaches at (not even to) us, who is totally out of touch with reality. Like King George, the president is separated greatly from his subjects, but his isolation is due to ideological blinders.
The president blames the rich -- not his policies -- for all our national woes. He wants to control the nation in order to redistribute its wealth. We the People want to be independent and free. We, the creators of wealth, want to become the rich, not destroy them. As true liberals and therefore followers of John Locke, we deplore being dependent on the government and resent control by the government. Like the Founding Fathers, we will resist.
In 1765, the Stamp Act was imposed on us. It took our money without our consent. As colonists, we declared it unconstitutional. Today, we have "Obamacare" or the PPAHCA, which is similar -- indeed, almost identical.
The cry of taxation without representation and resistance to the use our own money against us seem all too appropriate today. Think of our involvement in foreign wars, job-killing legislation, the favored handling of certain groups (namely, campaign contributors), bailouts, and Solyndra.
In 1776, the monarchy -- the government -- controlled our lives, our liberty, our property, and our precious honor. In response, we declared a Bill of Rights, which was not a list of rights at all. It was a list of constraints against the government imposing its will on us. Our nation was founded in defense of one single right for Americans: to be free.
There is one huge difference between 1776 and today. Then, we were powerless unless and until we took up arms. Today, we do have power: the power of a single vote multiplied by hundreds of millions.
This is not a call for another armed, bloody revolt. This is a cry for bloodless revolution, also known as democratic change.
As "government is the problem, not the solution," We the People should change our government. We must throw out the current power-elite: 535 members of Congress plus the White House. We need to depopulate the bureaucracy and force the regulators and overseers to do something productive instead of confiscatory. Then we should repopulate the Beltway with people who remember what we did 235 years ago, and why we did it.
Deane Waldman M.D.-MBA, is an adjunct scholar for the Rio Grande Foundation and the author of Uproot U.S. Healthcare as well as Not Right! (June 2012).