Independence Day: Have We Lost Our Revolutionary Spirit?


As we celebrate our Declaration of Independence from England, have we lost the spirit that drove the revolt? Or do we still have that irate, tireless minority keen on setting brushfires of freedom that Samuel Adams spoke so thoughtfully of?

Ron Paul: Hello everybody. Thank you for tuning in to Liberty Report. With me today is Daniel McAdams. Daniel, good to have you here today.

Daniel McAdams: Thank you Sir, good to be with you.

Ron Paul: This is 4th of July. No it’s not 4th of July, it’s July 3rd, but it looks like a lot of people are getting the day off and a lot of people are going to have a long celebration on the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th and who knows, somebody will probably want Monday off as well. But anyway, we are going to talk about that because not only is it an important day in our history, it was an important day for all of history. The shot that was heard around the world, and it ushered in a special age and that we still celebrate this.

I have a little problem. I love the celebration and what our Founders stood for and why they did not like the British rule, but then again I come across with a little bit of sadness, because I am looking at what is happening today and things aren’t going all that well. There are a lot of problems. It looks like we are undoing so much of what has gone on and I know you looked at this as a good bit of being some of our problems, both domestic and foreign. What kind of comparisons would you make today, compared to what the Founders and the colonists were fighting against the British?

Daniel McAdams: At its essence the revolting against the British was a tax revolt. Taxation without representation. We have a graphic showing the levels of taxation and types of taxation under King George versus, unfortunately what we have today. It’s something like 1 to 2 percent on a certain couple of items and now we have this massive tax burden on us as individuals, so it seems like we’ve lost that essential spirit.

Ron Paul: Yeah and this spirit was alive and well, I’ve often mentioned that the spirit was strong because the settlements, for a couple of hundred years almost, was built by their hands. They came without much and they didn’t get government subsidies. As time went on it became more corrupt and the government became bigger. These settlers were independent and they had their shortcomings, some of their religious ideas and how that should be handled, but they were self-sufficient. They took care of themselves, so I could understand why that group of individuals would resent this over-intrusiveness of the Federal government.

The original Tea Party occurred on December 16th, 1773 and this was leading up to Concord and Lexington and the shot heard around the world. I don’t know if you recall, there was a campaign of recent age, where there was a modern day Tea Party movement going, started on December 16th, 2007. Do you recall that?

Daniel McAdams: I do remember that.

Ron Paul: That happened in our Presidential campaign and since that time the Tea Party has actually morphed a bit.

Daniel McAdams: It is interesting how there are parallels between the two, unfortunately.

Ron Paul: Anyway, the British didn’t like that, so they reacted with what they called the coercive acts and that was a year later, in March of 1774. These are the things that were in it. First, they said they could order their troops in the houses of the colonists. That probably didn’t go over too big. They also said that the military would be now exempt from any prosecution, they were immune. They closed the port, sanctions, they punished the people of Boston for what they were doing and they denied them public meetings, their Town Hall meetings, which were crucial in those days. They declined. You can see the animosity building up.

By the time of Lexington, which was in 1775, there was this major confrontation. The British Governor of Massachusetts, who had been around a good bit, and he was involved, in charge of the troops when they were going to punish these rebellious colonists. When they were marching on there, General Gage had recognized that he had lost this. A movie was made of this, called ‘Johnny Tremain’ and it was a book written in 1943 and the movie came out in 1957. It shows how young people were involved.

They even had a story, and I don’t know how authentic this was, that it was the young people, the teenagers that threw all that tea off the boat and the older instigators and philosophers pushed them into doing this. Nevertheless, they did this. In the movie, it is very interesting that General Gage at the end, when he realized how poorly things have gone, they’ve actually lost and I think he sensed that the war was already over, yet it was just beginning.

I want to read a quote from the movie, said by Gage and let’s hope that these were his true sentiments, because it is a great quote. Let me just read that. It sort of sets the stage for that period of time.

He says ‘You see those camp fires, gentleman? Yesterday we ruled over Boston, tonight we are besieged in it. And still they come from every village and farm. Tonight 10,000. Tomorrow perhaps twice 10,000. We’ve experienced more than a defeat, more than a mere misfortune of war. We have been vanquished by an idea, a belief in human rights.’

That, of course, is something that we have talked about for a long time and one of the reasons why these ideas are so important. Samuel Adams, I use his quote very frequently, mentioned ‘Don’t worry too much about getting the majority, you have to get the majority support, but that’s not where the fight is.’ And Leonard Reed was very good at this, the founder of the FEE Foundation. He said, ‘what you need is a tireless irate minority, keen on starting brushfire in the minds of men.’ I think that’s just great.

So often today, we look at it, why are these majorities electing these clowns? It has been going on for years and years and they are doing nothing but harm, starting wars and wasting money, running up debt and violating our civil liberties. Why do we do this and they just throw up their hands. I can understand why.

Daniel McAdams: I think the words of Samuel Adams should encourage us, because it is easy to get discouraged and I was looking on Infowars this morning and they had a kind of a man in the street interview where they asked average Americans what was Independence Day about, what has happened in 1776. Most people couldn’t get it right, couldn’t get it straight. They even cited a poll in 2011 where only 58 percent of residents knew that the US declared independence in 1776 and a quarter of US citizens had no idea who we declared independence from. It’s easy to get discouraged, but then you return to this minority, to this dedicated minority.

Ron Paul: Like I said, we shouldn’t be discouraged by that, but we should be challenged by it, because ideas are powerful and even back then there was a lot of question about the popular vote, during this period of time that we’re talking about, because I think it went back and forth. One day they were for the British and one day they were for the revolutionaries. Eventually the ideas prevailed. The idea was that of liberty.

What can we say about the ideas that drive us today, because ideas are very influential, both good and bad. Ideology drove fascism and communism, so where do you think we are today on our ideology that Washington seems to follow?

Daniel McAdams: I certainly think that thanks to your campaigns and your tireless efforts all these years that there is that dedicated minority and certainly others have done quite a bit as well, but looking around, it is discouraging and we have these revelations of how the government feels about us. They spy on us; they tax us, so much more than King George did. The US Empire is active overseas. Even our own 4th of July holiday they try to ruin, by telling us that we have to be terrified that we are about to be attacked and they are the only ones who can protects us. If you look at the majority, how they look at the government, it is a bit discouraging.

Ron Paul: If there is one word that invites people to be patriotic and supportive is that we have a moral obligation to spread our goodness, our exceptionalism. Certainly, the ideas of the Founders did spread and other countries wanted to do it. The French wanted to do it; it didn’t work out so well there. Today, people endorse this movement and it’s not one party, although George W. Bush really pushed this exceptionalism that we have to spread democracy and have constant war against terrorism. This exceptionalism is equivalent to spreading democracy. They say ‘We have to spread democracy’, which contradicts what the Founders were wanting.

Daniel McAdams: It’s almost if it is unpatriotic if you oppose this twisted idea of exceptionalism. We were talking before the show, when you said something that really struck me as I haven’t thought of it this way. You said ‘Our revolution starting in 1776 was unique, because it was one of the very few in history that ushered in something better than it replaced’ and that really is interesting.

Ron Paul: That is the case, but like I said, we should celebrate that and maybe we shouldn’t be sad, but we should be energized, we should recognize the truth and become energized and reassured that with ideas we can change this. We live in a country today where democracy is to be spread by force and we are to go around the world and start wars. Preemptive wars part of the American spirit? Nobody challenges it. Where are all the progressives, where are progressive allies that are against this? We have so few of them, and right now it is very difficult to find the champions of what Samuel Adams and others were really pushing back in those early years.

I want to thank everybody for tuning in on this July 3rd, almost July 4th to visit with us on the subject of our independence and stop and think and realize that it should be time for us to reassert our determination to promote the real American Revolution and not the modern day revolution of exceptionalism and pure democracy and using force around the world.

We live in an age today where we are told that we are going to be attacked any minute by a terrorist from who knows where and anything we see, we have to see it, we have to report it. At the same time, from my viewpoint, the greatest threat to us comes from our own government. Our own government spying on us, taxing us to death, regulating us, controlling our children and on and on.

I believe the conditions are manyfold worse than they were when the American spirit of liberty challenged the British Empire. But we don’t have a British Empire to challenge, we have ourselves to challenge and that challenge has to be ideological. The ideas of liberty are firm and the people understand it and we have a tool to spread it. So, let us be thankful that we have this opportunity. So far, they may spy on our meetings, but they haven’t closed our meetings down yet. So, keep up the spirit of liberty and I am sure that some good things can come from it.

I want to thank everybody for tuning in today in the Liberty Report and please return soon.

This video was published by the Ron Paul Institute.