Today is the 252nd anniversary of the “shot heard ‘round the world” at Lexington and Concord. The British regulars who started the fracas were following an age old government tradition of seizing powder, munitions and property for a pretentious King who had assumed such wide distribution of the tools of resistance should be available only to the government approved groups such as soldiers despite the danger on the frontier. We celebrate that time of defiance against tyranny when for sixteen years (1775-1791), all thirteen colonial provinces and the thousands of rural polities that exited outside or alongside the framework enjoyed a freedom they had not previously had and after 1791 would become enslaved once again under the totalitarian doomsday machine known as the Constitution.
The lobster-backs and British taxing regime would be replaced by a domestic variety of even more extreme virulence whose sole safety mechanism was a constant western diaspora trying to escape the clutches of the “Republic”.
The whitewashed history since then has lionized the inauguration of the divorce from the United Kingdom on this day and mistakenly links these events to all the “freedom” enjoyed under the Constitution. The Federalist coup in 1787 that reestablished an English-style yoke of central planning, national taxation and slight tinkering with indentured servitude to a kinder and gentler tax and regulatory apparatus did no more grant individual freedom than the Romans gave to conquered lands.
The Declaration of Independence, whether penned by Thomas Jefferson or Thomas Paine, is as elegant a jeremiad against tyranny as has been written. The relationship between the Declaration and the Constitution is the same as the one between the crucifix and the vampire. They stand as opposite documents embracing wholly different visions of freedom. One cannot be consonant with the other because their aspirations are antithetical to the other. As the brilliant Lysander Spooner would opine:
“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”
CPT Parker commanded the militia this day for an idea that was smothered and crushed by the Federalist coup in 1787 culminating in the creation of the ratification of the most clever slave document of the age.