Letter from America

25th March 2005
I won’t pretend that I don’t want to seem melodramatic. But I want to echo Thomas Paine and say these are the times that try men’s souls. I am here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a state which is itself one of the fruits of early American imperialism. Yet when I consider developments in the UK and in the USA, it is surprising how often I am brought back to the writings of the Founding Fathers of the United States and the writers who inspired them.

It is all too tempting to see the American rebels as just that – American. Yet they based the justification of their revolt on the liberties and rights they felt they possessed as Britons. And in the face of those liberties and rights being ignored or overridden, they reacted as Britons would – they rebelled against the King’s Government.

So now we find ourselves in the USA faced with laws, in the form of the Patriot Act (and what a despicable give-away name that is), that are prima facie unconstitutional, yet somehow unchallenged as the pygmies who comprise the political elite fear to appear ‘weak’; and in the UK with laws that effectively strip away all the protections of the citizen against the might of the state apparatus, and laws that aim to enhance the power of the executive to a level unknown in the whole of British history.

In a sense it is impossible to be melodramatic about this – the reality outstrips any hyperbole I might attempt. But in defence of our liberty, for ourselves and for our children, we need to affirm, in Jefferson’s (still striking) words, that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”; that no government can have any legitimacy which seeks to undermine, limit or curtail these rights; and that whether these acts are motivated by ignorance or malice, we will be swift to condemn and slow to forgive.

We are a free people. The state should be our servant not our master. Britons, strike home!*

*Tim sums the reasons up as ever more thoroughly and intelligently than I ever can.

Update: I am now in California and Internet-connected again. In the meantime, the House of Lords appear to have fallen for a trick that a school-child would have seen through. It’s the database, you fools. Sigh.

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

2 Responses to “Letter from America”

  1. Tim Worstall Says:

    Britblog Roundup # 59

    Once again we step forth for our examination of what you have nominated as the best and most interesting posts of the week from the bloggers of these isles. You can make your nominations for next week’s to britblog AT

  2. Nosemonkey / Europhobia » Mini blog roundup Says:

    [...] / Europhobia Anglo-European politics by J Clive Matthews Mini blog roundup A mini Britblog roundup while we’re waiting for the real thing – some posts that caught myeye: Jim Bliss on anti-Americanism, Phil Edwards on Asbos, Notes From A Small Bedroom looks to the past, as does To the Tooting Station – both seem to wonder where we’ve gone wrong, while John Elledge has a prod about the class system. All good stuff.Update: The real thing, and typically top work from that McKeating chap. April 2nd, 2006 at 11:13 am [...]

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