They Don’t Dare Tell You the Point of July 4

Independence Day is coming up, and I wonder how many people really get why it matters.

In school, we were told this: “No taxation without representation.” Zzzzzzzz.

The real principles were more like the following.

(1) No legislation without representation.

The colonists insisted that they could be governed only by the colonial legislatures. This is the principle of self-government.

This is why a Supreme Court ordering localities around is anti-American in the truest sense. It operates according to the opposite principle from the one the American colonists stood for.

(2) Contrary to the modern Western view of the state that it must be considered one and indivisible, the colonists believed that a smaller unit may withdraw from a larger one.

(3) The colonists’ view of the (unwritten) British constitution was that Parliament could legislate only in those areas that had traditionally been within the purview of the British government. Customary practice was the test of constitutionality. The Parliament’s view, on the other hand, was in effect that the will and act of Parliament sufficed to make its measures constitutional.

So the colonists insisted on strict construction, if you will, while the British held to more of a “living, breathing” view of the Constitution. Sound familiar?

So let’s recap: local self-government, secession, and strict construction. Are these the themes you learned in school?

Almost certainly not, but they are the themes of our own course on the American Revolution. That’s on top of 16 other courses taught by pro-liberty professors, and that you can listen to in your car.

Don’t let them get away with this. Arm yourself with knowledge, at my

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Bob Murphy/Tom Woods Economics Q&A Tonight

Tonight (April 19, 2016), Liberty Classroom is holding a live Q&A session on economics with Bob Murphy and me, Tom Woods!

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Three Creeps Your Kids Are Taught to Admire

Ah, the U.S. presidents, whose benign visages looked down at you from your elementary classroom wall. Why, wherever would we be without these great men, citizen?

Here are a few we’re all expected to love.

Teddy Roosevelt, whose immediate predecessors had never issued more than 70 executive orders (and some even zero), issued 1,006. He couldn’t get a treaty through the Senate, so he dubbed it an executive agreement and enacted it himself. He thought executive power included whatever hadn’t been expressly prohibited. He’s a hero, kids!

Franklin Roosevelt blamed the Depression on greedy rich people (now there’s a sophisticated business cycle theory for you), and then suspended the antitrust laws (so far, so good) so business could collude with government to keep prices up via the National Recovery Administration. He threw millions out of work by artificially limiting how much agricultural land could be under cultivation, and had huge quantities of wheat, cotton, and pigs destroyed. We’d all be dead in a ditch without him, kids!

Harry Truman, who, fresh from his war atrocities, contemplated sending the army into the countryside to confiscate meat from farmers, instead of just lifting the price controls. He seized the steel mills from their owners — because hey, he’s the president! He took the country to war on his own say-so, ignoring the Constitution. He was awesome, kids!

There are plenty more where these came from, as Brion McClanahan shows in his new book, 9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America.

It retails at $29.99. We’re giving it away for free, signed and personalized, but you have to act by tonight at midnight Eastern Time.

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Thousands of liberty lovers belong to Liberty Classroom, where they can interact with me and our other faculty, and learn the history and economics they didn’t get in school.

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Liberty Classroom Scoops the Mainstream Media

Did you see this recent article in The Week?

Everyone seems to be talking about it, and I’m even told that Rush Limbaugh read it on his show. It looks like the political commentariat is rediscovering Samuel Francis and giving him some grudging respect for his predictive powers. (In addition to diagnosing in 1996 the conditions that now propel Donald Trump’s candidacy, Francis also forecast the rise of Barack Obama in 2004, long before most people had ever heard the name.)

Of course, Liberty Classroom subscribers have had the scoop on Francis since last summer when our course on the History of Conservatism and Libertarianism went live. In case you missed it, you can find more than six minutes of discussion of Francis’s ideas and influence in Lecture 28 (“The Paleos”), beginning around the 13:25 mark. Take a listen and comment in the members’ forum!

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