Treason, Benjamin Franklin, William Franklin, Reconciliation, Hutchinson Letters, Boston Tea Party, The Cockpit, Patriot and Loyalist

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 10th, 2012

Politics 101

The Hutchinson Letters and the Tea Act put the Americans firmly on the Path to Independence

There’s a fine line between treason and loyalty.  Some people cross that line.  Some people don’t.  Some people wait to see which side of the line their best interests lay.  Some like to straddle the line.  Either unable to commit.  Unwilling to commit.  Or unwilling to give up profiting from both sides of that line.  Such it was during the American Revolutionary War.  A very unique conflict.  That pitted colony against mother country.  New World against Old World.  American against Brit.  Brit against Brit.  And American against American.

The American Revolutionary War was a smorgasbord of antagonism.  What started out as a dispute over taxation escalated into world war.  And into civil war.  To settle old scores.  And to settle new ones.  Upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence the American colonies were in open rebellion against their sovereign.  The ultimate act of treason.  Yet they committed this act of treason to live a more British life.  For Britain’s constitutional monarchy gave unprecedented rights to British subjects.  And the highest standard of living then known to a middle class.  Most knew what the rest of the world was like.  And they wouldn’t trade their British way of life for any other.  So rebellion undoubtedly made a great many nervous.  For many were happy and comfortable living under the British sovereign.  Benjamin Franklin, for one.

Franklin was a Loyalist.  At first.  He knew how to work the system.  And did.  Even achieving the post of American postmaster.  And he made it profitable.  Very profitable.  Even his son, William Franklin, was governor general in New Jersey.  So he was very connected to the British Empire.  And saw it as the best system of government ever developed.  Which is why he sought reconciliation.  He was in England when tensions were increasing between the colonies and the mother country.  He then came into the possession of some private correspondence that he passed along to his contacts in Massachusetts.  The Hutchinson letters.  As in governor general of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson.  Which basically said that the way to subdue the unrest over recent Parliament actions (i.e., taxation without representation) was to deprive the colonists of some of their English liberties.  Franklin asked that they not publish these letters.  His intent was to calm the more radical in America.  Proving that these misguided policies were the result of some bad advice from a few people.  There was no general animosity towards the American colonies in Great Britain.  And that reconciliation was possible.  Which is what Franklin wanted.  But they published the Hutchinson letters.  And the Americans were not pleased.  Then one thing led to another.  After Parliament passed the Tea Act Franklin was anxious of the American response.  Hoping for calm.  But the response was anything but calm.  And did nothing to aid reconciliation. 

The Humiliation in the Cockpit helped Push Franklin from Reconciliation to Independence

When the first tea arrived following the Tea Act the Patriots threw it in Boston Harbor.  Forever known thereafter as the Boston Tea Party (1763).  This destruction of private property shocked Franklin.  For this was not an act against Parliament.  But an act against a private company.  The East India Company.  This did not go over well in England.  Which was pretty agitated over the publication of those private Hutchinson letters.  People accused each other of being the source of the leak.  It got so bad that two men dueled in Hyde Park.  Each blaming the other for the dishonorable act of leaking those private letters.  Not being a very good duel both men survived.  When they were going to have at it again Franklin publically stated that he was the leak.  Explaining his intentions. 

Though Franklin sought reconciliation he had his enemies in England.  Who thought he was more of rabble rouser on the other side of the pond.  And pounced on this opportunity to disgrace him.   They summoned him to appear before the Privy Council.  On the pretense to hear testimony on the petition from the Massachusetts Assembly to remove Hutchinson as governor general.  But when Franklin arrived in the ‘Cockpit’ he found that he was on trial.  For leaking the Hutchinson letters.  News of the Boston Tea Party had by then reached England.  And the newspapers attacked Franklin without mercy.  All of England was turning against the man who wanted reconciliation more than any American.  It even looked like Franklin could end up in an English jail. 

It was an all out assault on Franklin in the Cockpit.  Where his enemies packed the room.  While few of his friends sat in.  Such as Edmund Burke.  Lord Le Despencer.  And Joseph Priestly.  One after another his enemies took their turn lambasting Franklin.  Blaming him for the agitation in the American colonies against British rule.  They attacked him personally.  And besmirched his honor.  Humiliated him.  During it all Franklin stood silent.  Refusing to partake in this farce.  When Wedderburn called Franklin as a witness his counsel stated that his client declined to subject himself to examination.  In the end they rejected the Massachusetts petition.  And his friend Lord Le Despencer had no choice but to relieve Franklin from his post as American postmaster.  He wrote his son William and urged him to quit his post as governor general of New Jersey in order to pursue more honorable work.  He would not, though.  And thus began the breach between father and son.

Franklin and William were no longer Father and Son but Patriot and Loyalist

William would stay loyal to the crown.  While Franklin was moving closer to the side of the Patriots.  In response to the Boston Tea Party Britain planned a blockade of Boston Harbor.  In response the colonies united behind Boston and formed the First Continental Congress.  Which William said was a mistake.  And that Boston should make good on the tea they destroyed.  Which would be the best way to calm the situation.  And reopen Boston Harbor.  Exactly what Franklin had earlier suggested.  But after the Cockpit and the loss of his post as postmaster Franklin was losing his love for the British Empire.  But he still tried while he remained in England with no official duties.  He even played chess with Caroline Howe.  Sister of Admiral Richard Howe and General William Howe.  Who would later command the British naval and military forces in the opening of the Revolutionary War.  But at the time they were both sympathetic to the American cause.  Despite of his shameful treatment in the Cockpit she and other friends urged him to put pen to paper.  And try to mediate a peaceful solution to the breach between the American colonies and Great Britain.  He tried. 

But all efforts came to naught.  He worked on a bill with Lord Chatham.  Which Lord Sandwich attacked with a fury when introduced into the House of Lords.  And they publicly attacked Franklin again.  They rejected the bill.  And Franklin booked passage home.  He met with Edmund Burke before leaving.  Discussed with him one last plea for reconciliation.  He spent his last day in London with his friend Joseph Priestly.  And discussed the future.  The coming war.  Reading the papers.  Priestly later wrote that the thought of that dismal future brought Franklin to tears.  After Franklin was on a ship sailing west Burke rose in Parliament and gave his famous speech On Conciliation with America. Where he said, “A great empire and little minds go ill together.”

The move to independence accelerated after arriving home.  Thomas Paine, who Franklin helped to bring to America, wrote Common Sense.  Which Franklin read before it was published.  Even offered a few revisions.  As he would offer later to Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.  Then the Continental Congress scheduled a vote for independence.  General Washington was preparing to fight General William Howe on Long Island.  Supported by his brother Admiral Lord Richard Howe.  Who made one last attempt at conciliation with Franklin.  But things had already progressed too far.  Franklin had crossed that fine line.  The time for peace had passed.  On June 15, 1776, the new American provincial government in New Jersey ordered the arrest of William Franklin.  On the day of his trial Benjamin Franklin wrote General Washington.  He did not mention William.  Nor did he say anything when the Continental Congress voted to imprison him in Connecticut.  The breach between father and son was complete.  No longer father and son.  But Patriot and Loyalist.  As families throughout the colonies similarly tore asunder.  Setting the stage for the civil war within the world war that was the American Revolution.

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Republican (rĭ-pŭb’lĭ-kən), n., One who belongs to the Republican Party, the more conservative of the two major political parties in the United States.

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 10th, 2011

Politics 101

Republicans can Trace their Lineage back to Abraham Lincoln, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith and John Locke

The Republican Party was born in the 19th century.  As the anti-slavery party.  Their motto was “free labor, free land, free men.”  They opposed concentrated wealth (i.e., land) in the hands of an aristocracy such as the planter elite in the South.  And the slavery that made that system work.  They were the party of the middle class.  Independent artisans.  Small farmers.  Entrepreneurs.  And businessmen.  In other words, free market capitalists.  To a point, at least.  They wanted to industrialize America.  But they wanted to protect these emerging industries with import tariffs.  And they wanted to pay for this industrialization with public money.  Neither of which is very capitalistic.

Republicans can trace their lineage back to the Whig Party.  Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president, was a former Whig.  Whig political philosophy goes back to Great Britain.  Which built on the philosophy of some of the greats.  Edmund Burke.  Adam Smith.  And John Locke.  To name a few.  The Whigs formed the opposition to absolute monarchial rule.  Supporting constitutional monarchy.  With ultimate power lying in Parliament.  Not the Crown.  Or with the landed aristocracy allied to the Crown.  Which greatly influenced the American Founding Fathers.  Putting them on the path to independence from the Crown.

The Whigs supported the manufacturers and the merchants.  The thriving and prosperous middle class.  And the wealthy.  Which all threatened the power of the Crown.  Because it made the Crown less important.  The privileged class owed their privilege to the king.  The industrialists and merchants did not.  Their wealth was self-made.  And they further threatened the Crown by supporting free trade, the abolition of slavery and expanding the vote to more people.  Which gave people more individual liberty.  A say in their government.  And allowed them to be whatever they wanted to be.  Even wealthy.  If they worked hard to become wealthy.

The Republican Party is the Party of Conservatism in the U.S. but not all Republicans are Conservatives

The modern Republican Party shares much of the same philosophy.  They abolished slavery in the U.S.  Even deployed the Union Army to the South to protect the freed slaves during Reconstruction.  And went on later to fight Jim Crowe laws and the segregationist policies of the Southern Democrats.  Being instrumental in passing much civil rights legislation over Democrat opposition.

They believe in limited government.  And capitalism.  But they’re opposed to tariffs these days.  And favor true free trade.  As well as lower taxes.  Fewer regulations.  Less government spending.  And sound money.  They disapprove of loose monetary policy.  Playing with interest rates and/or printing money.  For an activist, tax and spend government.  Where the government picks winners and losers.  Instead they prefer that government stays out of things economic.  And let the private sector pick winners and losers.    Because the private sector has a record of success.  And government does not.

But some in the party have drifted from their philosophical roots.  Corrupted by power.  Enjoying the privilege of being part of the ruling elite.  They have earned the moniker RINO (Republican In Name Only).  And even though the Republican Party is the party of conservatism in the U.S., not all Republicans are conservatives.  There are a lot of moderates.  And a few downright liberals.  The heretofore mentioned RINOs.

Ronald Reagan got Social Moderates and Even Democrats to vote Republican

There is a schism in the modern Republican Party.  Between God and economics.  You probably have heard someone say that they are a fiscal conservative.  But they’re a social moderate.  This is someone turned off by the God stuff.

Christians tend to be conservative and vote Republican.  Those who aren’t so devout religiously and/or want to keep abortion legal have difficulty voting Republican.  Because of the God stuff.  Which explains why liberals often win elections over conservatives even though they’re outnumbered nearly 2 to 1.  Because the social issues win out over the fiscal issues and these fiscal conservatives vote Democrat.

At least during good economic times.  But when the economy is not doing well their fiscal side wins out.  Especially when you have a great presidential candidate.  Like Ronald Reagan.  Who not only got social moderates to vote Republican.  He even got Democrats to vote Republican.  So remarkable a phenomenon that we call them Reagan Democrats.

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The Rise and Fall of Liberalism – A Study in Deviousness

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 5th, 2010

The Young and Ignorant are a Key Liberal Demographic

America is a center-right country.  In fact, the liberal left is a minority of the population.  They sound bigger than they are because their minority are in very strategic parts of the population. 

Liberals include college professors (who hide from reality on college campuses where they teach the young and ignorant).  College students (the young and ignorant).  The mainstream media (who spread the liberal propaganda, giving it legitimacy).  Celebrities (who laugh at and belittle conservatives).  The poor and government-dependent (who live in fear of losing their Big Government benefits).  The blue-blood rich (who feel guilty for inheriting their money).  Unions (who seek government protection to get better wage and benefit packages than the majority of American workers).  Government workers (high-pay and benefit-heavy work for the unemployable). 

Taken together you’re looking at about 20% of the population.  But thanks to college professors, the media and celebrities, they seem like they’re everywhere.  Especially to the young and ignorant.  Who typically vote Democrat until they get a real job.

From FDR to JFK to LBJ

The key to liberal success has been the ability to deceive.  They have to lie about who they are.  Because their numbers have been dwindling since the New Deal (see Liberalism: An Autopsy by R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. posted 12/4/2010 on The Wall Street Journal).

In the tumultuous history of postwar American liberalism, there has been a slow but steady decline of which liberals have been steadfastly oblivious. The heirs of the New Deal are down to around 20% of the electorate, according to recent Gallup polls. Conservatives account for 42% of the vote, and in the recent election the independents, the second most numerous group at 29% of the electorate, broke the conservatives’ way. They were alarmed by the deficit. They will be alarmed for a long time.

The key to winning elections, then, is lying to independents.  For if the independents didn’t vote, Conservatives would never lose an election.  And if there is one thing liberals are good at, it’s lying.  Which is how they win elections.

Liberalism’s decline might appear, at first glance, to have begun with the 1961 inauguration of President John F. Kennedy—when historians noted the first glimmerings of what was to become liberalism’s distinctive trait, overreach. Kennedy’s soaring oratory was infectious and admirable and even impressed a later generation of conservatives. But it was a bit dishonest. There never was a missile gap with the Soviet Union, as he claimed, or any other cause for histrionics. On the domestic side, the oratory set in motion President Lyndon Johnson’s catastrophic War on Poverty.

The Big Government of FDR had failed.  The necessity of war stopped most of the New Deal nonsense.  Big Government released their oppressive hold on business to let them do what they do best.  Pure, unfettered capitalism.  And the Arsenal of Democracy won World War II.

After the Great Depression, World War II, and a couple of standoffs in the new Cold War, Ike wanted to let America be normal again.  To enjoy life a little.  Instead of facing Armageddon time and time again.  Ike had no illusions of grandeur.  Nothing to prove.  No ego to stroke.  America paid a hefty price to win World War II.  It was time to enjoy a peace dividend.

JFK’s stirring language represented a break with the Burkean understanding of President Dwight Eisenhower. Ike, whether he articulated it or not, wanted to put the Great Depression and the dangerous confrontations of the early Cold War period behind us. He wanted to return to normalcy. Yet Kennedy’s inaugural put America on a different path, one that led to the Cuban missile crisis and ultimately to Vietnam. It fixed America’s stance in the world, and with that stance we were on the road to Iraq and Afghanistan. Domestically it set us on the path to a behemoth big government.

The Ike years were good years.  Prosperous years.  Happy years.  Everything a liberal hates.  Because there’s nothing for government to fix.  So to trick people into thinking things are bad and need to improve, you need to do 2 things.  You need to lie.  And you need good oratory.  And JFK did both well.

Never let a Good Crisis go to Waste

The country changed in the 1960s.  And liberals reached far.  Too far.  Conservatives pushed back.

LBJ’s Great Society caused even some liberals to warn against the “unintended consequences” of government programs. These were to be the first new recruits to modern conservatism. Jeane Kirkpatrick, Irving Kristol and, for a time, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, were in Kristol’s words liberals “who were mugged by reality.” The radicals were seeking refuge from reality in a self-regarding fantasy. Only a crisis in the leadership of President Richard Nixon, Watergate, allowed them to hide from the American electorate their fantastic delusions.

Few shared the liberals’ vision for America.  Even in the 1960s.  Other than the hippies on college campuses, the ‘silent majority’ was still conservative.  But liberals are devious.  And they never let a good crisis go to waste.  They had two big ones during the Nixon administration.  Vietnam.  And Watergate.

Liberals and Ronald Reagan both Campaigned as Ronald Reagan to win Elections

The problem with liberalism?  It’s sort of like that question ‘why climb Mt. Everest?’  Because it’s there.  Liberals want to amass power and control things.  To tax and spend.  And when you get right down to it, it’s not a popular political platform.  We want to tax and spend because we want to tax and spend.  There are no lofty philosophical ideals.  No charismatic liberal leaders advancing the cause of tax and spend.  Instead, liberalism is a vacuous abyss hidden by lies and doublespeak.

The conservatives, on the other hand, have a philosophical basis.  They are proud to quote previous conservatives.  And try to continue their work.  The best liberals can do are to point to Karl Marx’s socialism (i.e., Marxism) or the Soviet Union’s communism.  And being that this ideology (Marxism/communism) has killed more people than any other ideology in history, they offer little political capital for someone wanting to expand government power.

Conservatives have had Edmund Burke and the Founding Fathers as their cynosures. Sometimes they have provided discipline; sometimes conservatives have followed their own star. The problem for liberals is they have been denied a cynosure. Some had looked to the British Fabian Socialists and some to Karl Marx, but since the late 1940s liberals became coy about their intellectual mentors.

And because liberals have no political philosophy people want, they lie about who they are.  They run as conservatives during elections.  Bill Clinton.  Barack Obama.  They campaigned on a center-right platform.  Sometimes even quoting Ronald Reagan.  But once they won the election, they swung hard to the left.  They governed as liberals.  The electorate felt betrayed.  And at the first opportunity (i.e., the first midterm election in their administrations) their parties lost power in Congress.  Rejecting, once again, their Big Government tax and spend policies.

In 1992, after 12 years of conservatives in the White House, Bill Clinton beat George Herbert Walker Bush. Yet he too ran as a moderate. Once in office he tried to push a big government agenda and was trounced in the midterm election.

The rest of Clinton’s presidency was defined by his pronouncement that “The era of big government is over.” The Reagan revolution was secured. In 2000, Clinton’s vice president lost to the governor of Texas despite prosperity and peace. George W. Bush won the midterms in 2002. Then came the Republicans’ wilderness years in 2006 and 2008—but not conservatism’s. Conservatives remained more popular than liberals by about a 2-1 margin.

A Crisis and a Moderate Republican Candidate help Liberals win Elections

George W. Bush served two terms.  His popularity soared after 9/11.  So the liberals went to work.  All through his second term, they hammered away at the economy.  They said it was worse since the Great Depression.  (Of course, unemployment now under Obama is about twice the rate it was under Bush.  But things are better now.  Remember that lying thing about liberalism?)

And then they had a crisis.  A great big, beautiful crisis.  The Left was just ecstatic.  Their policy of putting people into houses they couldn’t afford triggered the subprime mortgage crisis.  When a Republican was in office.  It just didn’t get better than this.

The media went into overdrive by endorsing the moderate McCain for the Republican candidate.  It leveled the playing field.  Instead of choosing between conservatism and liberalism, the choice was between two moderates.  And the Left was able to hide Obama’s liberal past and radical associations to fool the moderate and Independent voters.  Obama won.  He swung hard to the left.  And loss the midterm election.  Because America is a center-right country.

Conservatism has steadily spread through the country since its larval days in the 1950s, and the reason is that the vast majority of Americans favor free enterprise and personal liberty. Note the tea party movement. The Republicans just took the House of Representatives by over 60 seats and gained six seats in the Senate. The social democrat in the White House has been routed.

Over the past two years the Democrats showed their true colors. Faced with an entitlement crisis, they rang up trillion dollar deficits. We now face an entitlement crisis and a budget crisis—and liberals have no answer for it beyond tax and spend. They still have support in the media, but even here they are faced with opposition from Fox News, talk radio and the Internet.

America is a Center-Right Country

The only way a liberal wins an election in a center-right country is by deception.  That’s why they pray on the young and ignorant.  It starts in the public school system.  And continues in our colleges.  The young are seduced.  By our educational system.  The mainstream media.  And the celebrity left.

It’s a tenuous coalition.  At best 20% of the population.  But that 20% is sometimes enough to fool the moderates and the independents who haven’t been lied to yet.  And this is nothing against the moderates and independents.  The Left are just good liars.

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