Saturday, July 4, 2015

Meditations on Independence Day

   by Steve Cebula
Among the people who stand against the powers that be and the current affairs of nationhood, I have heard diverse views of the actions of the founding fathers of the United States. On the one hand they are held in contempt for being unable to see beyond their stations in life and because many of their decrees they issued appear to us, over two-hundred years after their actions, downright hypocritical. On the other hand, they are held up as ground breakers and at times the very pinnacle of radical and revolutionary thought.
   I suggest that both of these accusations are true to a certain extent. They certainly were treading where government had never tread before and for their time you could call them revolutionary and on the cutting edge of political thought. In only a select few situations could you say that the common man, albeit a white man, without wealth or land, could have an active participation in government ever since man's climb into "civilization". That is precisely what these men set out to do.
   Unfortunately though, they were very much men of their times not to mention the fact that many, but not all, who signed the Declaration of Independence were men of wealth. Equality to them only mattered if you were male, of European descent and, for the most part, Protestant. The thought that women or people of color were equal to them must have been abhorrent and/or laughable, puts them squarely on the wrong side of history in these matters. As someone who has studied history rather thoroughly I would indulge them in a little bit of wiggle room if I didn't think they had ulterior motives. Namely capital and commodity. This doesn't mean I necessarily think they were bad human beings, for who doesn't want to get ahead in this life, but when it is at the expense of others, that's when the problems begin. Let us face the facts; more times than not wealth is achieved on the backs of others.
   In particular wealth is made for the few from the toil of the many. The landed gentry and, for lack of a better word, the bourgeoisie class, were the primary instigators of revolution against the British monarchy. For the most part the common man didn't have much to gain from a change of overlords. If we look at the reasons claimed for the rebellion, it's very clear that the moneyed classes were really the only ones who stood to gain anything.
 The main complaint of the common folk was of not being allowed to expand into the native territory. I have to point out that they felt inclined to venture in to the natives lands because the counrtyside was ruled by a landed aristocracy. There was plenty of land; it was just held by the few, just as now the means of production are held by the few.
  The most famous pretense for the rebellion was taxation without representation. Quite a catchy phrase and quite true I might add. But I ask you, how much representation did the common man have in England at that time? The answer is none if you were unlanded. So from this perspective what good was the changing of masters? Not much I'd say. Of course due to the intervention of the Adams boys, voting was granted to the landless, though if it would have been up to the more dominant players namely, the planters, voting would have eluded the poor white male as well as women and the "non-white" population who were already excluded.
    The ensuing documents, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, also hammered into being by these same men, did eventually bring the rights and liberties of the individual to a level heretofore unheard of in history. Without doubt these men of the Constitutional Congress brought human kind into a new era, for over the next hundred years, in nation after nation, the words of Liberty and Democracy would ring out as the old ruling elite were overthrown one by one.
  Without doubt this was a major step in political thought but you can hardly say, as the ensuing years would show, that this was the end all when you speak of liberties. Even after women and minorities were given full rights, which embarrassingly took over a hundred and fifty years, it is still obvious that the "First World" let alone Humankind still has a long road ahead.
    I ask you dear sisters and brothers why must we be ruled at all? Is one born to lead and another born to follow? There is no biological proof of this. Why is there no place on the earth that the forces of government are not holding sway over us? Why are we beholden to an abstract leviathan that claims to have our own good in mind for us, when in truth they think we are little more than a mass of humanity to be herded and directed into the polling booths?!?
    These are all questions that each of us must ask ourselves and if you are honest with yourself you will see how unnecessary and counter-productive this thing called "government" is. When we realize this, then and only then, will we be able to truly speak of independence.