Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thoughts on July 4

Tradition dictates that we use the first week of July to reflect on the many bonds that unite Canadians with their neighbour. But I must confess I still find the reasons for starting the country a bit baffling. Why did Washington, Jefferson et al. repudiate their oaths of alleigeance to a sovereign that had, within living memory, saved them from the French?

The argument starts OK:

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long and established should not be changed for light and transient causes.

But then the signers go and do just that. In the interests of thrift, I quote what I said last year:

I share Yglesias' skepticism that the British Crown in the 18th century was in fact engaged in a long train of abuses and usurpations, with a design to reduce white Protestant American colonists under absolute Despotism. Au contraire. If you read the particulars appended later in the Declaration, they are either not very oppressive at all (like giving Quebec the right to use the Civil Code, or guaranteeing traditional Indian lands), grossly exaggerated ("He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages") or pretty darn vague ("He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good").

Seems like bad reasons for revolution. Anyway, I guess it all turned out OK.

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