There is a concerted effort afoot on the part of big-state socialists to paint the Tea Party as a bunch of dangerous, hate-filled radicals with a bunch of crazy new ideas that go far beyond the pale of the traditional American political mainstream.
Let’s ask some reasonable men – because the Founding Fathers were surely the largest collection of reasonable men ever gathered in one place at one time in history – what they thought about the issues raised by the Tea Party movement.
For instance, what did they think of a powerful central government?
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
To those who say, well, the Government has to force you to buy something you don’t want. It’s for the greater good! Here’s William Pitt, 1783:
“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.”
Thomas Jefferson, the most intellectually brilliant man to ever hold the office of President – Barack Obama excepted, of course – had this to say in his First Inaugural, accepting the reins of that power:
“A wise and frugal government – (wise and frugal, my God how we have fallen) A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government…”
Did the greatest mind in American history have any other radical, dangerous thoughts on the encroachment of government and uncontrolled spending?
“On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power to them? If so, how many rebellions should we have had already?”
Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816:
“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Spencer Roane, March 9, 1821:
“The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife.”
Thomas Jefferson, 1824:
“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.”
1824! If Jefferson was outraged at the extent of the federal government in 1824, then that’s good enough for Bill Whittle in 2010. You see, unlike Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz and Keith Olbermann, I don’t think I’m smarter than Thomas Jefferson. But Ed and Rachel and Chris and Keith are here to tell you that protesting this government takeover of the auto industry, the financial industry, the insurance industry, the housing market and now the nation’s health care is a wild and radical idea!
I’ll tell you what else we Tea Party supporters believe in: we believe that the Constitution is Law. In the same way it’s the Ten Commandments and not the Ten Suggestions, we feel that the Constitution is law. When the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, was asked where she drew the Constitutional authority to force people to buy health insurance, she said this…
And, famously, a few days ago, Democratic Congressmen Phil Hare, from Barack Obama’s own state of Illinois, had this to say about the source of his legal authority to make people do things they don’t want to do…
Now, if you took your responsibilities and your oaths seriously, I would be forced to at least respect the offices you hold, Madam Speaker, and Congressman Hare. But it’s obvious you don’t. So listen carefully, Nancy and Phil, to what better people then you can even imagine being had to say about the source of your authority:
“If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last…. A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government. “
Alexander Hamilton, Aug 28, 1794
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”
“A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.
Thomas Jefferson, 1774.
And finally, what about the dangerous, wild-eyed, hateful and threatening allusions to violence? What about that un-American, unheard of, unprecedented repudiation of the genteel nature of politics, as represented by the calm and rational rhetoric that came from the left during the Bush years? What did the founders have to say about defending freedom, by force if necessary?
One of the Framers of the Constitution, John Dickinson wrote:
“We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers (“irritated ministers” – I love that; that’s spot-on) or resistance by force. Honour, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us.”
Or this, from Patrick Henry , 1778:
“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”
Of all of the things I have seen since this movement began, nothing has tickled me the way blogger Kent McManigal has with his updated take on the famous Gadsen Flag, widely popular at the time of the Revolution and making a strong comeback in the Tea Party movement. Here’s Kent’s flag:
Time’s up, guys. I know you Irritated Ministers and the defenders of the rich and powerful in the news media loathe and despise the Tea Party because you fear it. And you are right to fear it! It’s coming! It’s coming to take the country back from you big-state, anti-freedom elitists. Time’s up.
Here are some final words to take us out.
Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 21, 1787:
“The natural cure for an ill-administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men.”
John Adams, 1765:
“Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.”
Benjamin Franklin, July 4, 1776:
“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
And then there’s this:
“What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William Stephens Smith, 13 November 1787
And finally, from Samuel Adams – for all you big-state control freaks, Tea Party slanderers and the entire staff at MSNBC:
“If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”
Those are the wild-eyed radicals I stand with, and those are the ideals that I hold that are under assault. What about you?