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Independence Day is coming up, and I wonder how many people really get why it matters.
In school, we were told this: “No taxation without representation.”
The real principles were more like the following.
(1) No legislation without representation.
The colonists insisted that they could be governed only by the colonial legislatures. This is the principle of self-government.
This is why a Supreme Court ordering localities around is anti-American in the truest sense. It operates according to the opposite principle from the one the American colonists stood for.
(2) Contrary to the modern Western view of the state that it must be considered one and indivisible, the colonists believed that a smaller unit may withdraw from a larger one. Today we are supposed to consider this unthinkable.
(3) The colonists’ view of the (unwritten) British constitution was that Parliament could legislate only in those areas that had traditionally been within the purview of the British government. Customary practice was the test of constitutionality. The Parliament’s view, on the other hand, was in effect that the will and act of Parliament sufficed to make its measures constitutional.
So the colonists insisted on strict construction, if you will, while the British held to more of a “living, breathing” view of the Constitution. Sound familiar?
So let’s recap: local self-government, secession, and strict construction. Not exactly the themes you learned in school.
And not even what you’ll learn in graduate school.
One day I decided I had to know what my fellow Columbia Ph.D. students thought Independence Day was all about.
What could these left-liberals be celebrating? They don’t favor local self-government, which is what the war was all about. They don’t favor strict construction of the Constitution, while the colonists were insisting on precisely that, in a British context. And they certainly don’t favor secession.
So what the heck did they think it was all about?
Only one person answered me: “There was a distance involved.”
So the problem was that the ruling class was too far away?
“Come on, men, we must continue making sacrifices so that we may someday have exploiters who live close by!”
I don’t think so.
This was a student at what at that time was the #2 academic department in the country for American history.
He and the other students didn’t know five percent of what’s taught in just the American Revolution course alone at my Liberty Classroom.
And for Independence Day, I’m knocking 150 smackers off the lifetime, Master membership.
Will you know more than a Columbia University graduate student if you listen to these history and economics courses, taught by me and by people I trust, in your car?
Yes, but that’s not saying much — trust me.
More to the point, you will take direct aim at the educational malpractice we all suffered from.
Our newest faculty member, by the way, is ex-leftist Michael Rectenwald, who intends to blow the lid off postmodernism and the other isms in his forthcoming course for us.
You’ll need coupon code FIREWORKS (all caps).
This offer fizzles out like a bottle rocket at midnight on July 4, so click away: