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The Tyrant of the Whiskey Rebellion


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Oct 3, 2009
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**************Warning: Flamebate*********************

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The story you often hear about the whiskey rebellion is the George Washington rode in on his war horse and told the people to pay the tax. He then graciously forgave them and returned to the capital. This romaniticized version of the story seems to have turned Washington into some kind of benevolent ruler who forgave the people for their transgressions but this only appeals to our sense of monarchy where kings were both absolute and divine at the same time. The power that kings had went beyond mere legal authority as their power was based on a basic tribal sense about its leaders.

Since the beginning people have always gave its leaders a divine status. The old testement is filled with kings who were blessed by God and the biggest king, Jesus, was sent from God himself. This created an aura about them that made them unquestionable but this is not medivial times nor is every elected politician sent to us by God (perhaps satan, but that is another topic).

We live in a modern age where such a divine status of our leaders sounds absurd but how much has human nature changed in the past 200 years that it hasn't changed in the past 10,000 years? This romanticized version of George Washington is drawn from that basic and primitive tribal impulse to turn our leaders into something that is beyond human and make them divine beings. This story neglects to tell that the rebels were peacefully protesting a tax they thought vastly unfair through massive jury nullification and what Martin Luther King called civil disobedience. Washington got into full military brigade and issued a warning to suspend this activity. This makes Washington into a tyrant since he used the threat of military force to stop citizens from doing what they were legally allowed to do.

The point of this is not to destroy Washington's legacy since he did set a lot of good precedence in his presidency but it is to destroy the idea that our elected leaders and the government they inhabit is not a divine, indispensable, unpenetrable, and otherwise permanent force on Earth but just people in a building that have no God-given privilege to rule over us.

Unlike most societies where leaders believed they had a God-given right to rule over their people the people in our society should believe that that divine right sent down from heaven was given to each of us. No person has that same right other than when we gave that right to them in the form of government and because government does not have the same god-given authority then its right to rule over us is really a temporary privilege we gave them in this lifetime.

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