Tea Parties Should be More than Anti-Tax

You undoubtedly have heard that on April 15th many Americans will participate in Tax Day “Tea Parties,” a reference to the colonial tea parties that occurred in 18th century America. The protests have been widely covered by a broad range of media outlets.

The sentiment behind modern tea parties isn’t clear; it is varied. Some attending the protests want lower taxes, or to show their objection to the ways taxes are being used, some are there to object to the very idea of involuntary taxes all together and other protesters object to bailouts.

Like the original tea party modern tax day rallies should NOT be about taxes. Americans should protest the philosophy that led to high taxes, bailouts, and government waste; namely the presumption that government has a right to interfere in our economic lives at all. We should protest the presumption that government has the right to do anything other than protect the individual liberty of American citizens.

In 1773 The Tea Act gave special privileges to the East India Company that allowed it to sell tea at lower rates than all other companies, saving the company from economic ruin (a bailout 18th century style). Colonists refused the tea, turning away ships and in the case of Boston, destroying it. Why? Because Bostonians in the 18th century recognized the danger of such abuses of government power even though it provided a cheaper product in the short term. They rejected the tea on principle and it is that principle we should stand on today.

The American government seems to be mirroring the 18th century British government; applying discriminatory taxes on businesses, products, and citizens, using appropriated money to prop up preferred companies and failing to protect the freedom of individuals to pursue their own happiness. All the while those in power implicitly and explicitly in some cases attack capitalism, the only system under which individual rights are supreme. It is this attack on free markets and individual rights that citizens must oppose.

In the last two centuries Americans have forgotten that the only proper function of government should be to protect our individual rights which include the right to property, freedom from foreign and domestic force, and freedom to pursue happiness as we define it–not the happiness a governing body or society allows us to pursue.

It is time to remind the public that a government of the people and for the people must be constantly checked by the people. As Samuel Adams said

“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks”

If you want to participate in a tea party in your neighborhood you can find out more here