Five Differences Between the American Revolution of 1776 and Today

1) It’s not people versus king or dictator; it’s people versus people. It’s not a government oppressing all the people by denying them their basic rights; it’s some people using government to oppress other people, primarily for their own financial gain.

2) The best and the brightest are not on the side of justice; the best and the brightest, intellectually speaking, are on the side of Obama, of Occupy Wall Street, or worse. Granted, the character and intellectual honesty of today’s “best and brightest” is not very high to take such a position. But they are the most articulate and abstractly intelligent. They dominate the government, the universities and the media. At the time of the American Revolution, the best and the brightest were people like Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, George Washington. They were fervently and intelligently on the right side of the issues. The people with the most brains today are the ones with the least of value to uphold. Their spokesman is…Michael Moore. Say no more.

3) The sense of anger throughout society, when you analyze it concretely, is not about being denied actual rights. The colonists wanted the right to be left alone. They wanted the right to self-government, to private property, to the peace of their farms or their businesses, if they were merchants. Government, to them, was an important means of avoiding anarchy, but it should not be harassing its citizens. Today, the sense of anger is not to be left alone, but over “not getting my due.” People expect their government not merely to keep the peace, but to provide them medical care, retirement pensions, and all sorts of middle class goodies — always growing and expanding — that taxes paid for by “the rich” will somehow cover.

4) Liberty motivated the colonists against the British. Entitlement motivates today’s anger. The passion for liberty, especially when you have good intellectual and military leaders, is a call to action. The “passion” for entitlement is really just an expression of mental and physical laziness, actualized in a feeling that, “Someone else should be taking care of me.” The couch potatoes who stay home all day (living off of government, or perhaps family) are the most extreme example of this, and numerically they represent a minority. But those who lead productive lives — most of them, at least — are deeply resentful that their government is not giving them more. More cash in on the government “free lunch” than actually take it, but a majority do want and feel entitled to some form of at least a partially free lunch. Look at the people at the Occupy Wall Street rallies, or even some at Tea Party rallies for that matter, with signs that say things like, “Where’s my bailout?” They’re not angry that the government is engaging in wealth redistribution, not most of them. They’re angry that they’re not getting enough wealth redistributed to THEM.  Some will label this attitude “selfish,” but I know of no society that can survive where the dominant viewpoint is to be taken care of, by others. The colonists of the American Revolution, whatever their failings or errors, such as their puritanical superstitions and prejudices, could never have conceived of such a mindset as the America of today.

5) Technology has made life a lot easier. People can delegate almost everything, to machines, computers or other people, that colonists had to do for themselves. At the time of the American Revolution, there had been no industrial revolution yet — much less the technological revolution we have seen over just the last ten or twenty years. Life is far, far easier for a welfare state recipient today than a wealthy landowner could ever have dreamed of, back in 1776. This is not to imply that technology and comfort are bad things. No indeed, these are good things. But the presence of these good things presents the typical human being with a challenge: To keep on thinking and make his life even better than the last generation — for his own sake, and for the sake of those he loves; or, to stay put because it’s frankly … easier. The American colonists, for the most part, had no such choice. They had to work to survive, and in order to survive they needed freedom. The British royalty got in the way of their survival. Today’s Americans need freedom just as much, whether they know it or care, or not, because our technological and industrial progress will slowly grind to a halt if the spirit of entrepreneurism dies out. Government is doing everything it can to crush that spirit, by punishing the most capable with taxation, regulation and massive wealth redistribution; and at the same time, encouraging the average, the mediocre and even the above average to give in and let the government take care of them. In the case of Obama, moral as well as economic war has been declared on capitalism and the great minds of business that make it possible. The brain and the mind, in such a civilization, will gradually go to sleep.

It’s SO not 1776. Look beyond the politics. We’re not merely unlucky to end up with a choice between Barack Obama, the socialist, and Mitt Romney, the intellectual and moral equivalent of cotton candy, as our choices to succeed the earlier Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. It’s not about luck. These candidates are the reflection of something more deeply wrong with our society. There’s no leadership, but there’s not a widespread desire to be led towards the values of productivity, rationality, progress, profit and freedom. That’s the real difference between 1776 and today. America needs a new Revolution all right, but all revolutions must start in the hearts and minds of the people.

Who and what are most of the American people today?