Rants: The Founding Fathers hate you

Bill Maher went off on the Tea Party last night to good comic effect:

This is funny, and true as far as it goes. The members of the religious right who think the Philadelphia conventioneers intended to establish a Judeo-Christian version of Shari'an rule are wrong, of course. As Maher says, they were learned men whose study of history made them as wary of popes as they were of kings.

The irony, though, is that in one way the Tea Party does call back to the revolutionary era. Before control of the independence movement was seized by the worthies we now think of as The Founders, the merchants of Boston and other areas of the northeast secretly manipulated the fears and prejudices of ordinary citizens to advance their own financial interests, undermining respect for traditional authority in the process just as the Pete Petersons, Haley Barbours and Koch brotherses are doing now. If the merchants hadn't been overzealous in stimulating the mob, we'd probably be a nice commonwealth nation like Canada to this day.

In short, John Adams might hate the tea partiers if he was still around, but Sam Adams would love them.

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