“Adios!” says reader James H.

James is loading his luggage… and taking his leave of us. Why?

Explains James:

The “commentary” you circulated [yesterday] on Independence Day, by Mr. North, was and is a slap in the face of every true American. I’m canceling my link to your site.

James of course refers to yesterday’s reckoning, “Was the American Revolution a Mistake?”

It was authored by the abovesaid Mr. North, the late Mr. Gary North.

In this piece Mr. North shook the very walls of Jericho. He trampled every known piety.

In brief, he blasphemed against the American civil religion.

Was the American Revolution a mistake, he asked?

As well ask if the life of Jesus was a mistake, if the Book of Matthew was a mistake, if the decision to venerate Saint Clare’s fingernails and hair clippings was a mistake.

A fellow simply does not do it. Yet Mr. North did.

Were the Revolutionaries Simply Spoiled?

He argued that the American Colonists under old King George were perhaps the freest bunch on Earth.

Moreover, that their tax burden was so easy… it scarcely had existence. In review:

The Colonists had a sweet deal in 1775. Great Britain was the second-freest nation on Earth. Switzerland was probably the most free nation, but I would be hard-pressed to identify any other nation in 1775 that was ahead of Great Britain. And in Great Britain’s Empire, the Colonists were by far the freest.

I will say it, loud and clear: The freest society on Earth in 1775 was British North America, with the obvious exception of the slave system. Anyone who was not a slave had incomparable freedom…

I discovered that the total burden of British imperial taxation was about 1% of national income. It may have been as high as 2.5% in the southern Colonies…

What would libertarians — even conservatives — give today in order to return to an era in which the central government extracted 1% of the nation’s wealth? Where there was no income tax? Would they describe such a society as tyrannical?…

The proponents of independence invoked British tyranny in North America. But there was no British tyranny in North America.


After the American Revolution, 46,000 British Loyalists fled to Canada and other places controlled by the crown. They were not willing to swear allegiance to the new Colonial governments. They retained their loyalty to the nation that had delivered to them the greatest liberty on Earth. They had not committed treason.

The revolutionaries are not remembered as treasonous. The victors write the history books.

Is Nothing Sacred?

Thus this North fellow warred against the official American mythology.

Mythology? No — theology.

Washington a traitor? Jefferson a traitor? Franklin a traitor?

Imagine it. Mr. North even trained his guns upon the great Boston Tea Party and the glorious John Hancock:

That the largest signature on the Declaration of Independence was signed by the richest smuggler in North America was no coincidence. He was hopping mad. Parliament in 1773 had cut the tax on tea imported by the British East India Co., so the cost of British tea went lower than the smugglers’ cost on non-British tea.

This had cost Hancock a pretty penny. The Tea Party had stopped the unloading of the tea by throwing privately owned tea off a privately owned ship — a ship in competition with Hancock’s ships. The Boston Tea Party was, in fact, a well-organized protest against lower prices stemming from lower taxes.

Nothing — evidently — remains sacred.

It Wasn’t All About Taxes

Did Mr. North draw too narrow a focus upon the tax question?

Did he disregard the Crown’s otherwise “long train of abuses and usurpations”… about which Jefferson moaned in the Declaration of Independence?

Yes and yes, perhaps.

He is likely roasting in hell for his sins of omission.

As another reader — Chris D. — argues:

[North] attributes the American Revolution solely to being waged over taxes… An interesting read, but very one-sided in its analysis and cherry-picking of data.

Objection sustained, we say. Chris issues a plausible grievance. It likely has justice in it.

Yet is Chris abandoning our faith — like James? No he is not.

We lament the defection of any reader. We have so few as is!

Yet perhaps it is best that James defect to a different denomination, a denomination less tolerant of dissent.

The Story Not Being Told

We could have published this article or that article exalting the manifest glories of the American Revolution.

After all, virtually every publication known to us publishes a July Fourth article exalting the manifest glories of the American Revolution.

Yet this publication does not seek to emulate other publications.

This publication traffics in and peddles ideas of a contrarian and controversial nature — at times, of an unpopular nature.

It grazes against the grain.

It patrols the boundaries of allowable opinion… and often launches unauthorized raids across the forbidden frontier.

At times it returns with ideas some find blasphemous or heretical.

That is why this publication is often off on its lonesome own.

And that is why — at times — it loses readers like James.

Yet we are under bonds to you, our reader. Under bonds, that is, to bring you “the story that is not being told.”

And as we size it, “Was the American Revolution a Mistake?” is a story not being told.

In how many rival publications will you find such a story as this? We hazard the answer is few.

Yet we hazard you are better off for having heard the story.

We merely invited you to sip an alien viewpoint… wash it over the taste buds… and evaluate its savor, its quality, its value.

Perhaps you swallowed the sample. Perhaps you spat it out upon the floor.

Either decision satisfies us.

For you are free to conclude that the American Revolution was a mistake — or that the American Revolution was not a mistake.

But we are pleased that you made a decision more informed, a decision better informed.

Even if, as the newly defected reader James… you decide to tell us “Adios!”

The Daily Reckoning