Bloody ugly business here today. Torrents of rain, buckets of sorrow. Not a great way to spend the Fourth of July. But I invested in some fine Madeira out of respect for my Founding Fathers, and have the luxury of watching a middle-aged man cook methamphetamine on a pixelated box. So: Progress.
I am forever fascinated by Tom Jefferson and his fellow revolutionaries. They were not Karl Marx, safely ensconced in a library in London, or one of the thousands of social academics safely ensconced in luxurious faculty lounges around the nation. They were men of prosperity and power. They had naught to gain, and everything to lose, by espousing their heretical views.
They could have taken the easy way out. The Stamp Act wasn’t exactly busting their balls. And at the end of the day, they would not have lost their sinecure at a cozy liberal arts college. They would have been hanged.
Even little Nathan Hale, 21 years of age, was hanged liked a damned dog for espionage. Those were the stakes. The land and the wealth and the privilege, the obligations to family, were all expendable. Being hanged from a tree or a gibbet does not improve one’s social standing in the community. Unlike our tiresome hectoring classes, these men had everything to lose.
This is what I think about when I read the Declaration of Independence. It is not a blog post. It is an act of sedition. An act so rebellious in nature as to have one’s neck stretched. Bold men, in bold times. I couldn’t carry their saddle. Or their Madeira. Bless Providence that such men existed, so that we might squander their mighty legacy.