Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Did you hear the rest of what Paine said? If the power to tax and the power to bind in all cases whatsoever, if that is not slavery, he didn’t know what was or is. Aren’t we operating under the exact same threat that this government, this State can bind us in all cases whatsoever and that we are not free to leave it, that we can’t leave it, and we’re not free to say no? Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: I’d like to read something historical to you for just a moment if I may. It goes something like this. December 23, 1776 — for those of you that are history majors and attend your history lessons every day by visiting this radio show or by visiting MikeChurch.com and all the stuff we link to in the posts, how many of you know what was going on on December 23, 1776? That is an informal trivia prize question for the day. What is the historical significance of December 23, 1776? That’s my favorite year of all time, by the bye. No, year 1 is my favorite year, but my favorite American history year is 1776. What was going on on 23 December? I’ve given you long enough to answer the question. It should be on the Twitter feed by now. I should have an email box full. I’ll tell you what was going on.
The Continental Army had been thrashed. It had been thrashed, ambushed by 20,000 to 25,000 British regulars and 10,000 Hessian mercenaries at Long Island, led by Admiral Lord William Howe. Howe was planning to ambush Long Island, where Washington thought he was dug in enough to defend the island. Only a miraculous fog allowed Washington to escape back over to Manhattan Island, and then across the other river to the mainland and to flee yet again all the way through New Jersey, then across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. In the process, Washington had lost about 10,000 of his men of a 20,000 man army. These were horrible times. The Continental Army, in other words, was just about beaten.
Being the consummate gentleman that he was, Howe did not see the virtue in chasing Washington during the winter and in having his men have to trudge through the snow and forage for food and what have you. So he set up camp on the other side of the banks of the Delaware River. He had ordered the capture of a small town called Trenton, New Jersey. It’s a cesspool today, but at that time it was not. He left a battalion of Hessian mercenaries and one Colonel Rawle in charge. Washington was trying to figure out and try to right what was wrong, trying not to surrender the effort in its early days. He conceived of the plan that under cover of darkness, since the armies had basically shut down their military readiness, he may be able to sneak across the Delaware River and take Trenton, New Jersey back, capture it, capture some Hessians in the process, and turn his fortunes around.
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So he’s meeting with his war counsel. Just to show what a gentleman and how humble Washington was, even though he was told by his aide-de-camp, Hamilton, that he could cross the Delaware and get away with this, and that he should do it, and there were others that said he should, he refused without gaining the permission of the Congress. How do you like that? Without Congress authorizing the mission, because this is how far back this tradition goes, Washington would not lead the force across the Delaware River. On 23 December, here’s what’s going on on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. There are enlistments that are about to expire. About 3,000 men are about to walk away from their posts in the Continental Army. They haven’t been paid. They don’t have very much food. Many of them are barefooted. The shoes and uniforms have not arrived. Things are not going well. Washington fears: If I don’t do something and kick start this effort, I’m going to lose a third of the army I have left. I already lost almost half of it in the Long Island campaign. I’m going to lose another third that’s left and this will be the end of it.
We know how this turns out. We know there’s a happy ending here, but that does not mean that there was not a perilous beginning. In his party, very close to him, surrounding Washington were his generals, among them Nathanael Greene, one of the good guys. Of course, there were some bad guys around, too, like Horatio Gates, the backstabber. In any event, there were some lower-ranked individuals. You know them all by name. You know Alexander Hamilton, who was but 18 years old. You know young James Monroe, who was the future president. He was but 17 years old. These men were with Washington on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. Did you also know that Thomas Paine, the famous author of Common Sense, was with Washington?
On 23 December 1776, Paine sat in his tent and wrote a paper that came to be called “The Crisis.” There were a series of these written. These were basically biographies or biopics about the Continental Army and what it was doing, what Washington and his army were doing at that time. Here is partially what Paine wrote on 23 December 1776. You know these words because they’re very famous.
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to tax) but “to bind us in all cases whatsoever,” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.
Mike: Desperate times, some men desperate but not despondent. They’re not full of despair. Paine is saying: There are some good guys here. There’s some good stuff to win here. As you know, Washington ultimately does cross the Delaware. He does take Trenton back from the Hessians. Monroe is the only one wounded that day. How many of you know that Monroe takes a musket ball in his left shoulder? The surgeons can’t get it out so they leave it there. He dies with it. When he dies in 1829, the musket ball is buried with him.
The reason I brought this up with the boo-hooing about the government shutdown, or as it should properly be called, the interruption of unimportant wealth transfer payments, the reason I brought it up is: Is the caterwauling and howling and gnashing of teeth and predictions of doom, gloom and despair, of people dying in streets and of funerals not happening and all the other assorted nonsense we’re hearing out there, are these worthy of free men? Who in the hell are we to be whining and moaning and pissing and complaining about this particular state of affairs when what it amounts to is a plea for someone else to loan us more money, to give us something we have not earned? We won’t pay back what they’ve already borrowed, yet we want more, or I should say they want more. You know what a free people ought to be saying right now? Shut the whole damn thing down, the whole thing. If you clowns, you that purport to represent us in government, if you cannot agree and if you cannot manage our affairs any longer in a prudent, judicious and fiscally-balanced manner, then we no longer choose to make common cause with you.
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Did you hear the rest of what Paine said? If the power to tax and the power to bind in all cases whatsoever, if that is not slavery, he didn’t know what was or is. Aren’t we operating under the exact same threat that this government, this State can bind us in all cases whatsoever and that we are not free to leave it, that we can’t leave it, and we’re not free to say no? Apparently we’re not even free to say: no, you can’t borrow anymore so you can tax me and bind me forever. If Thomas Paine was correct on 23 December 1776, then are we not, as citizens of these United States, slaves today? Of course, not to insult anyone or to imply that we are slaves in the classical sense of the word, as in that we are made to serve or held in bondage, but we are held in a de facto bondage. Now we are being ransomed. With every day that goes by, if we don’t capitulate to the demands of the State, if we don’t allow it to continue its irresponsible and reckless behavior, then we will suffer. How do we know that we will suffer? Aren’t we already suffering and toiling under a debt burden that’s so large we’re only able to keep a little less than half of what we earn? The rest of it is confiscated from us to run our cities and states in the largest wealth transfer scheme in the history of the known universe. Say it isn’t so, folks.
End Mike Church Show Transcript