Remedial History Lesson or What did that Guy Say About History Repeating?

The first time I read a Tea Party propaganda post I realized that those people had a fairly loose grip on reality. It said things like “Obama is going to extend food stamp benefits to illegal immigrants”; “Obama is secretly a Muslim”; “Obama is going to allow the establishment of Sharia law in the US”. As stupid as all that sounds, they warned us of things even more idiotic: death panels, banning of all firearms, people marrying their dogs, RF chips subcutaneously imbedded in all citizens. The list goes on and on, demonstrating that , indeed, there are no limits to the ridiculous crap people can be convinced of by some rather mediocre propaganda. People will choose to believe what they want to believe and no amount of logic will ever deliver them from what they want to believe, when it comes to Left Wing Conspiracies.

There is , though, one area where they can be schooled: HISTORY.

Lesson One: Independence Day

Every year on July fourth we celebrate Independence Day, not as a celebration of our collective spirit of independence, nor our independence from government but to celebrate the Declaration of Independence: the seminal document of the founding of this Republic. It doesn’t declare our independence from one another, nor our independence from government, it declares our independence from an individual, George III, and from a government, The British Crown. Furthermore , The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document, it’s more of a Dear John Letter, so please realize how unlearned you appear when arguing the Constitution, but quoting the Declaration: a document written eleven years before The United States of America even existed.

Lesson Two: Taxes

Just as the Founding Fathers weren’t repudiating government in their revolt from The British Crown, they weren’t repudiating taxes either. They objected to having no representation in the legislative body leveeing those taxes and the tax monies going to a society an ocean away, where it was of no benefit to them. Even before the war was over, they began to form a government and create revenue through taxes. The first Constitutional Crisis they faced ,they did so before the Constitution was even written, Shay’s Rebellion in Massachusetts , centered around the poor’s inability to pay taxes due to the financial aftermath of the Revolutionary War and ultimately saw , not only relief from their tax burden but a moratorium on collection of their outstanding debts. Now those debts were owed, primarily to the merchant class which was also the political class in Massachusetts, but governor John Hancock saw that the legislature and the courts were being manipulated for the financial gain of the politically well connected, but to the detriment of the poor and in an odd permutation of the Robin Hood theme, he stopped the rich from taking from the poor. Then the Whiskey Rebellion saw Washington (as a sitting President) march with US troops to collect a tax that a group felt they shouldn’t have to pay. Quite obviously the Founding Fathers of this country weren’t averse to taxes!
It was George Santayana who said “History is doomed to be repeated by those who do not learn it.” All of these nuggets of history are part and parcel of the standard eighth grade education: anyone with the most rudimentary education should know this stuff. And the real kicker in this equation of propaganda + ignorance = Tea Party Patriot, is that the “Free Market”/Supply Sider cum NeoCon cabal; the Dick Armeys, the Donald Trumps; the Koch brothers; of this country, bear a greater resemblance to King George III in their political attitudes and ideals than they do to the Founders of this nation. It seems, though they realise the one thing in history that gets repeated most often is ignorance.


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