Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gadsden flag still resonates today

Gadsden flag still resonates today

(My Clovis News Journal column for September 27, 2013)

You have seen the bright yellow flags sporting the coiled rattlesnake, with the words "DONT TREAD ON ME" boldly emblazoned across the bottom, but have you ever really thought about the phrase, and what it means?

It doesn't say "Don't offend me". It doesn't say "Don't refuse to give me what I feel I am owed". It says "Don't TREAD on me". It warns against an act of physical aggressive violence; an initiation of force.

The "Don't tread on me" flag is properly referred to as the Gadsden flag, and was named after Colonel Christopher Gadsden. The flag is believed to have originated in 1775 with Colonel Gadsden, who presented one of these flags to the commander-in-chief of the Navy, Commodore Esek Hopkins. Hopkins then flew the flag from his ship, the Alfred.

Some people consider the Gadsden flag to be the real American flag. It's older than the USA, older than the "Stars and Stripes", and conveys the message that "live and let live" is how America was set up to operate.

It was the flag of an earlier time- a time before the official policy was to attempt to bomb people in other parts of the world into freedom, or to preserve the liberties of Americans by violating liberty here and abroad. A time before an imperial USA came into being. A time and a spirit long since violated by NSA spying, by socialized medicine, by US military bases in the majority of countries around the globe, by never-ending wars, and by an occupied America where "freedom" is an empty word uttered under the watchful eyes of those tasked with enforcing an unknowable number of petty "laws".

A time before being trod upon was official policy.

Perhaps that is why it resonates with so many today.

Of course, some people- who don't seem to really understand the message behind the flag- use it to show disdain for the current federal administration, not realizing the message applies just as surely to every US administration since at least Lincoln's.

"Don't tread on me" is the quintessential libertarian message. It is not a statement of aggressive intent, nor is it a passive surrender. It says "I will not come after you to cause you harm, but if you step on me I will take measures to defend myself".

I love seeing the Gadsden flag flying high, but even more than that, I love it when those flying it truly understand what the flag stands for. "Don't tread on me": it's more than just a flag.

Mor on cops

How did the police become so bad?  How did they become the occupying army that America's founders warned about?

Cops were never intended to have any more liberty than anyone else. No special "rights" above and beyond what you or I have.

It's just not possible for one person (or "class" of people) to have rights not possessed by every other person.

They were first hired to do the low-class, messy work that lazy and irresponsible people didn't want to do for themselves.  Things like stop aggressive attacks and theft.  And track down those who did such things.

At first, in order to make their job easier, they were allowed to be outlaws- ignoring counterfeit "laws".  I have no problem with that- I think everyone should always ignore counterfeit "laws" at every opportunity.  But, cops were still told to enforce those "laws" against everyone else.  That's not nice, and it's hypocrisy.

This dubious "plan" has gotten out of control.  The "license" to be special enough to not be constrained by counterfeit "laws" wasn't enough for them.  So, it didn't stop there.  Now cops have been allowed to become outright criminals- violating laws against theft, murder, rape and other things.

Combined with the cowardice that defines how cops view you, it's a really dangerous situation.  One that can't last.

Interesting times are in store.