The American war began in April of 1775.
“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today we commemorate the day the war that started at Concord became the American Revolution.
When exactly modern American conservatism began is hard to say. In the last two decades, however, conservatism changed.At some point, vast majorities—between 70 percent and 90 percent depending on the institution—of academia, the bureaucracies, the teaching profession, the legal profession, the sciences, the captains of high technology industry and finance, all came to hold the same opinions and then ceased to tolerate contrary opinions. At the same time the wealth of the nation concentrated in, or was administered and serviced by, this small number of hands.
When this happened, conservatism changed. The expression of an opinion in line with conserving the principles of the American Revolution became grounds for punishment.
American conservatism became dissidence.
Dissidence is something different from conservatism. A conservative shields something from change. Change is the aim of dissidents.
When 70-90 percent of the controlling classes of a regime hold the same opinions and tolerate no others, change—peaceful change—is revolutionary, not conservative.
If you believe America is a great country, you are not a conservative. You are a revolutionary.
If you believe, as John Winthrop did, that America has been given a special commission as a city on a hill, you are not a conservative. You are a revolutionary.
If you believe the Declaration of Independence is the best expression of free government ever written, you are not a conservative. You are a revolutionary.
If you believe, as George Washington, did that “[a]gainst the insidious wiles of foreign influence . . . the jealousy of a free people must always be awake,” you are not a conservative. You are a revolutionary.
If you oppose endless, far-flung wars and believe as Jefferson did that the United States is “[k]indly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe,” you are not a conservative. You are a revolutionary.
If you believe as Daniel Webster did that the federal government is “an agent of the people” and the “people alone can control it, restrain it, modify or reform it,” you are not a conservative. You are a revolutionary.
If you swear, as Lincoln did, “by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others,” you are not a conservative. You are a revolutionary.
If you voted for Donald Trump, you are a revolutionary.
Long live the American Revolution.