Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Reflecting on the Fourth of July
When someone learns that I am a monarchist the question is often put to me whether or not I would be happier living under British rule. Not all monarchists agree on this point but for me the answer is most definitely “no”. Socialized healthcare, no right to bear arms -no thank you. But, of course, that is a very silly question to ask a monarchist, especially one like myself. My home, Texas, was never part of the British Empire and has never fought against Britain at any time. Even if that were not the case, the colonies were not under direct British rule to begin with and if the colonists had lost or never made their bid for independence, it does not mean that British law would rule supreme in America. The American colonies would have continued to largely govern themselves with their own colonial assemblies and an appointed Royal Governor to oversee things. If the U.S. had not won independence, life here would still not be like life in Britain (it never was) nor like any other place in the world. Things would probably not be too drastically different. There would be no Mount Rushmore, no Washington Monument and no Liberty Bell. The Congress would likely consist of a Senate and a House of Commons and instead of a President and a (pretty useless) Vice President we would likely have a Prime Minister and a Governor-General just like Australia, Canada or New Zealand.
Veteran monarchists will be well aware of these facts, but newcomers may not be. The fact of the matter is that the American colonists were not being oppressed or victimized. On the whole, they lived far better than the counterparts in the British Isles. There was more social mobility, more overall prosperity, most people lived better lives, they ate more beef and thus even tended to be taller than most people in Great Britain or Ireland. They also paid next to nothing in taxes compared to British subjects in the home islands. As far as representation being a bone of contention, as most monarchists know, “No Taxation Without Representation” was strictly a slogan and nothing more. When Ben Franklin was sent to London to represent the colonies he was told that he was to never, ever, under any circumstances, accept an agreement which gave the colonies representation in the Parliament at Westminster. Colonial leaders were smart enough to know that the vastly greater population of Britain would mean that even if they had seats in Parliament they would be easily outvoted. So, they would gain nothing with representation and they would lose a very righteous sounding slogan that would get more people on their side.
None of the other usual patriotic clashes arouse my sympathy either. The Boston “Massacre”? Mob violence on a group of British troops simply doing their duty. Even the noted Patriot John Adams defended the British soldiers for their actions, serving as their lawyer at their trial. The Boston Tea Party? A criminal destruction of private property and nothing more. Even Benjamin Franklin was of the opinion that the perpetrators should have repaid the British East India Company for every bit of tea they tossed into the harbor. No matter how one looks at it (and I have been convinced of the Tory position since I was a young punk in high school) nothing in the list of colonial grievances seems sufficient to me to justify the taking up of arms, the shedding of blood and, most seriously of all, the breaking of the solemn oath of allegiance to the King. To repeat, I have no animus against the United States, I want nothing but success for the USA and the American people. What is done is done and history cannot be changed. But, as I believe John Adams once said, facts are stubborn things, and the facts being what they are, when it comes to the Revolutionary War, my sympathies must remain entirely with the Loyalists.