And yet, when we analyze the Declaration’s allegations against George, his despotism pales to insignificance beside modern American governments’. We languish under exponentially worse dictatorship than the British administration ever dreamed of inflicting on its colonists. Indeed, the Revolutionary generation would scorn us as the most wretched and ignorant of slaves, not only controlled by our political masters, but delighted with our chains.
The Declaration imputes to George 27 “abuses and usurpations” (strictly speaking, the document devotes 27 paragraphs to His Majesty’s offenses, but several of those mention numerous “abuses.”). Yet “all of the charges … contain a substantial amount of strategic ambiguity,” as one scholar put it. “While they have a certain specificity in that they refer to actual historical events, they do not identify names, dates, or places. This magnified the seriousness of the grievances by making it seem as if each charge referred not to a particular piece of legislation or to an isolated act in a single colony, but to a violation … repeated on many occasions…”
The first “abuse” illustrates this point: “He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.” Sounds as if His Majesty habitually played hooky from legislating, doesn’t it? But this indictment refers specifically to settlers’ “want[ing] permission … to expand further west and expand laws governing a more complicated society.” Not only was the royal “refusal” limited to one issue, it affected mostly those folks hoping to live on the frontiers.
Contrast that with just one of the billion injuries our rulers deal us: universal surveillance. Governments at every level — local, state and federal — spy on all Americans, all the time, via multiple bureaucracies. Police departments, the NSA, the FBI, theDepartment of Homeland Security, the IRS and even less obvious agencies, such as the EPA and the DEA, constantly monitor us. Nor do these bureaucrats confine themselves to eavesdropping on only some of the population or investigating genuine lawlessness alone.
Similarly, the TSA irradiates all passengers and sexually molests many in its unconstitutional and warrantless searches. Far from restricting these assaults to aviation, the TSA constantly seeks to extend its power to other forms of transportation — and even to other areas of our lives. (That Americans not only tolerate the TSA’s groping, but believe it somehow protects them, would absolutely boggle the founding generation. Indeed, a gentleman then would have horsewhipped — or worse — any lowlife so assailing him, his wife or his children.)
Further down, the list accuses George of “erect[ing] a multitude of New Offices, and sen[ding] hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.” Astoundingly, “The ‘swarms of Officers’ that were purportedly eating out the substance of the colonies’ three million people numbered about fifty in the entire continent.” Fifty! Can you imagine? Our ancestors preferred war to tolerating one bureaucrat for every 60,000 Americans.
How tragic the comparison with our time! Millions of sponges now fatten on our taxes at the municipal, state and federal levels — 21 million, in fact. (Worse, that staggering figure “exclud[es] military, subcontractors, and consultants who also work for federal government” because even the Congressional Budget Office can’t count that high). Twenty-one million bloodsuckers lording it over a population of 323 million yields the incredibly depressing ratio of one for every 15 serfs. And who knows how much lower we could drive that correlation — one for every dozen? one for every 10? — if “military, subcontractors and consultants” were included.
Immediately after discussing those “swarms of Officers,” the Declaration cites the “Standing Armies” His Majesty “has kept among us, in times of peace …” Again, a single instance inspired this complaint: following “the Seven Year [sic] War, King George III stationed 10,000 British troops across the Thirteen Colonies...”
Our forefathers damned as intolerable the British government’s unleashing one enforcer on every 300 civilians. Imagine their fury at modern New York City’s quota of a cop for every 248 citizens (“The U.S. Census Bureau has estimated New York City’s population at 8,550,405,” while “the NYPD’s current uniformed strength is approximately 34,500”).
Yet “New York’s finest” are merely the tip of the blue iceberg. More cops lurk in such outposts as the New York City Marshal’s Office. And we finance another battalion at government’s next level, too, consisting of New York State Police (i.e., “troopers”), the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, etc.
Ditto for each locality in every state nationwide. Finally, we must add federal police to the mix (DEA, FBI, TSA, etc). No one knows the precise proportion of all enforcers per citizen, but it certainly dwarfs that of the 1770s.
Crucially, none of those 10,000 soldiers aspired to disarm civilians. Indeed, the British government’s only such attempt sparked the Revolution: when Redcoats tried to confiscate a cache of weaponsrebels had dedicated to defiance at Concord, Massachusetts, Americans protected those public armaments with their personal guns and knives.
What a divergence from current policing! With a few notable exceptions, cops lust to neutralize us. And that when their own firepower is ever more militarized while the IRS and the Department of Veterans Affairs, inter alia, arm their pencil-pushers against us.
Steeped in libertarian philosophy, Revolutionary Americans understood that “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yeild[sic], and government to gain ground.“ They didn’t wait for 50 officers to mushroom to 21 million or for unjust law to worsen before rebelling.
Why have we?
— Becky Akers