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OPINION

WARNING: ‘Get Off Our Backs!’ – Signed, the American People

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Evan Vucci


There were plenty of reasons why American patriots rebelled against Britain before finally declaring war for independence: high taxes, debts to British merchants, trade regulations, no representation in Parliament, restrictions on western lands, and the ideologies of the Enlightenment and Whiggery. 

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But 67 years after the war, Massachusetts Minute Man Levi Preston summed it up best during his interview with historian Mellon Chamberlain.  Chamberlain wanted to know exactly which of the British oppressions drove men like him to fight so ferociously.

Preston: “What were they?  Oppressions?  I didn’t feel them.”

Chamberlain: “What, were you not oppressed by the Stamp Act?”

Preston: “I never saw one of those stamps, and always understood that Governor Bernard put them all in Castle William.  I am certain I never paid a penny for one of them.”

Chamberlain: “Well, what then about the tea tax?”

Preston: “Tea tax! I never drank a drop of the stuff; the boys threw it all overboard.”

Chamberlain: “Then I suppose you had been reading Harrington or Sidney and Locke about the eternal principles of liberty.”

Preston:  Never heard of ‘em.  We read only the Bible, the Catechism, Watts’s Psalms and Hymns, and the Almanack.”

Chamberlain: “Well, then, what was the matter?  And what did you mean in going to the fight?”

Preston: “Young man, what we meant in going for those redcoats was this:  We always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to.  They didn’t mean we should.”

And that was it – the atoms at the nucleus of the 1,320-word Declaration of Independence breathed into two short sentences.  And from a man – all but unknown to history – who didn’t need a poll or an “expert” to tell him what was in his own gut.  

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The one time that history stopped by to ask his opinion, Preston said what most Americans had warned for years: “Don’t tread on me.”

Of the many things that come and go, that is still the primal scream of an American liberty so sacred that, when necessary, was “refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” as Thomas Jefferson wrote to Williams Stevens Smith after Shays’ Rebellion in 1787.  At a time when the wheezing Articles of Confederation was limping to certain death, resistance against tyranny, said Jefferson, is liberty’s “natural manure.” 

“What country can preserve its liberties,” he asked, “if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?” 

We’re in one of those times.  

No matter how the midterms turn out, it’s going to take a lot more than votes to keep today’s homegrown tyrants off our backs.   We’re dealing with a conundrum this country has never seen before: a ruling class made up of the most amoral, overcivilized political psychopaths this nation has ever produced.    

In 2022, the tyrannical impulse throbs in a socialist-controlled Democrat party hell-bent on fooling “all of the people, all of the time.”  

Biden can stand in front of red-soaked sets and yell all he wants about imaginary dangers, but today’s “Levi Prestons” are ions from stupid, and their blood is boiling.  

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Democrats are using political kryptonite – racial equity, inclusion, climate change, helping the needy, “emergencies,” and now “democracy” – to get what they want, by any means necessary.  It’s no longer “Hi, we’re here to help,” as Reagan once teased, but “We’re here to help, whether you like it or not – or else.”

“… someone very profoundly once said many years ago, that if fascism ever comes to America it will come in the name of liberalism,” Reagan told Mike Wallace in 1975.  “… Fascism is private ownership, private enterprise, but total government control and regulation.  Well, isn’t this the liberal philosophy.  The conservative so-called, is the one that says, ‘Less government, get off my back, get out of my pocket, and let me have more control of my own destiny.’”

Reagan was right.

Under the guise of public safety, a lockdown to “flatten the curve” degenerated into a tyrannical ambush that has fundamentally made American life unrecognizable.  Businesses were forced to shut down, only to re-open at the whim of government, and under new rules and regulations so draconian that they all but killed the spirit of enterprise and competition.  

Under a dark government cloud, businesses everywhere “voluntarily” imposed their own mandates that effectively extended the oppressive dragnet of government over the lives of every single American.   The lowest-ranking clerks morphed into mini dictators, enforcing government’s idiotic will on all except BLM rioters who wrecked stores, harassed customers, shut down businesses, and killed people – all while maskless.

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And it’s not just business.

A behemoth medical industrial complex emerged that worked with government to suppress drugs for early treatment in favor of mandating an unproven experimental “vaccine.”

“Get the jab or lose your job,” they barfed. 

Even as the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines are questioned, good doctors, to this day, are being gagged under threat of losing their medical licenses for speaking up, as a more compliant crop of budding doctors are being indoctrinated “from birth.”

University of Minnesota med students take part in a ceremony where they pledge to fight “white supremacy, colonialism [and] gender binary. … “We commit to uprooting the legacy and perpetuation of structural violence deeply embedded within the health care system,” they promise.   

And this, as the homage to “St. George” unleashed record crime, record illegal immigration – well, you know the story. 

It’s left Americans in a cultural purgatory between the old normal and the endless diktats of an alien and intolerable “new normal” – a Twilight Zone. 

A new strain of the same old tyranny is busy building new structures in America, in plain sight, riding atop a herd of Trojan unicorns neighing about protecting magical rights that never existed.  And it’s happening, not by the overt butchery of some hardline Hitlerian despot, but by the insidious dictatorship of a “benevolent” government parroting the language of liberty to justify cementing government control over our lives through executive orders, regulations, laws, even lawlessness.

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“… the most important change which extensive government control produces is a psychological change,” economist Friedrich Hayek wrote in 1944, “an alteration in the character of the people.  This means … that even a strong tradition of political liberty is no safeguard if the danger is precisely that new institutions and policies will gradually undermine and destroy that spirit … The will of man is not shattered but softened, bent and guided …”

That psychological change, for me, has been the most shocking.  

In the middle of unprecedented death and mayhem, not one institution has pushed back with the ferocity required to keep the crazies off our backs.  With the house engulfed in an inferno, the people elected and sworn to fight America’s fires – to the death, if necessary, “so help me God” – just moseyed to the blaze, under the speed limit, carrying political garden hoses.  

There may indeed be a “red wave” this week but it will only turn out to be a sugar high if elected leaders don’t quickly and courageously steer the American ship back toward its roots, then ruthlessly hold those accountable who are wrecking the ship.

It remains to be seen what politicians will do but what most Americans have always wanted, from Preston to Reagan, is “less government, get off my back, get out of my pocket, and let me have more control of my own destiny.”

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It’s long past time that we demand it.

Or else.


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