One of the driving issues behind the American Revolution was excessive taxation. Combined with the fact that colonists had no real representation in Parliament, and the fact that British troops in the US cracked down heavily on dissent, and it wasn’t any surprise that revolution occurred.
Not long after the US government got up and running under the Constitution, the western territories were beset by another revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion. The federal government’s decision to impose an excise tax on whiskey, which was commonly used by farmers as a currency, led to dissatisfaction with the government. The hypocrisy of the federal government was met with attacks on government officials, and in response, President Washington assembled the largest military force seen on the American continent to crush the rebellion.
Key rebel leaders were sentenced to death, but President Washington in his wisdom commuted those sentences and pardoned the ringleaders. Washington understood that burying the hatchet and unifying as a nation was far preferable to acting in a punitive manner, and that insisting on punishment would only lead to heightened division and further fragmentation.
It’s clear today that no one in Washington, DC has any of President Washington’s wisdom. After the Capitol building was breached last week, both Democrats and Republicans are looking to go scorched earth against the trespassers. They’re trying to label the incursion as an insurrection, sedition, a coup, or domestic terrorism. And they’re trying to come down with a ton of bricks not just on those who entered the capitol, but even those who were merely at the rally in DC that day.
Many people who were at that rally have now been the victims of doxxing at the hands of left-wing mobs on social media. They have lost their jobs, had to shut down their businesses, and are being vilified everywhere they go. Do we really want to shut people out of society completely because they attended a rally that other people didn’t like?
That’s how you create people who have nothing to lose, and the more people who have nothing lose, the more likely you are to create a political movement that devolves into violence. If you take away people’s ability to feed their families and put a roof over their heads, and deny them a chance to undo that, what else do you think they’ll do except lash out at those who persecute them?
People on the left, unfortunately, have a habit of failing to understand that actions have consequences. The concept of blowback is completely foreign to them, which is why the takeover of the Capitol took them by surprise. When you have thousands of people demonstrating in front of your building, all of whom believe that you’ve stolen the election from them, and you send a few hundred cops out to beat and pepper spray them into submission, what do you think is going to happen?
All of this could have been avoided had Democrats been willing to engage with Republicans and placate concerns over electoral fraud, even if just by something as simple as establishing a commission. But ignoring legitimate concerns, claiming that they’re illegitimate, and attempting to steamroll over those who have them is a recipe for disaster. Even better, those without a dog in the fight who see what’s going on realize just how evil the Democrats are being, which will even further work to their disadvantage.
We’ll have to see just how far Democrats try to push things, but the trajectory doesn’t look good. If Democrats become emboldened by their takeover of the federal government next week and try to push things too far, we may end up looking back at the takeover of the Capitol and wishing for a return to such a mild form of protest.