Common Sense

4 Jul

Happy fourth! Before we get started on this quick 4th of July special post, let me warn you: this is not an off-topic post, nor is it going to be political – it is Saints-related. But you’re going to have to stay with me for a few paragraphs. If you haven’t been reading this blog very long, I’m a History guy, and I like to infuse a little history into the Angry Who Dat whenever possible. Of course, today is a perfect opportunity for a bit of that.

236 years ago, our nation was “officially” born, as we all learned in grade school. However, some of the stories we learned are a bit of a stretch – particularly, the romanticized notion that America was founded upon the ideal of religious freedom. Sure, some of the colonists were fleeing religious oppression – notably, the Puritan Separatists of Massachusetts make for a great Thanksgiving play.

But the real story is far simpler – colonization of the Americas by all nations, whether we’re speaking of the British, or the French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, was a money-making enterprise. In virtually every case, the colonies were formed on the principle of mercantilism – that is, the colonies existed solely to make money for the mother country.

I won’t bore you with a lot more information that you’ll probably recall from grammar school or junior high, we’ll just glance through it. The colonies got tired of oppressive laws which protected that mercantilism and prevented self-sufficiency. Britain said that tobacco must come to the Isles first, that taxes must be paid, that intercolony trade was illegal. Et cetera, et cetera. The colonists reacted variously with boycotts, with pledges not to obey.

Everything came to a head following the Boston Massacre (and other, similar events) and strong boycott movements in Massachusetts and elsewhere, when the British passed a pile of laws that they called the Coercion Acts. Colonists called them the Intolerable Acts for obvious reasons. They shut down the port of Boston, crippling Massachusetts’ economy. They restricted trade, and took power from the Massachusetts legislature. The governor of Massachusetts effectively became a dictator. They declared that soldiers who committed crimes in the colonies were to be brought back to Britain for trial.

The colonists said no. They petitioned King George III and asked him, basically, to reconsider what he was doing. In effect, they appealed their punishment: “What the hell are you doing, George?”

George did not respond. One may even imagine that he turned red in the face when he read the petition.

Because this is a Saints blog, and not a history class, we’ll take the liberty of jumping ahead. Things were becoming a mess, and the Founding Fathers saw themselves on a one-way road. Something had to break, and they decided to take control. July 4, 1776 did not begin the revolution, of course. Battles had already been fought. It was getting nasty. But that’s the day we all remember and celebrate, thanks to Thomas Jefferson. He willingly accepted a nomination to write a document directly addressed to King George himself. It would, as you know, come to be known as the Declaration of Independence.

Over 160 years after the first British colonies were established in North America as a mercantilist operation, they had changed their mind. The colonists recognized that the old system wasn’t working. They had agreed to mother-country governance when they landed on the west side of the Atlantic, but nobody could have seen the abuses that were to come. Britian had overreached, and the colonists were about to do something about that.

Jefferson wrote, in that paragraph that Mrs. Jackson made you memorize in the 6th grade, this:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

And this:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

What Jefferson is saying here is this: what we agreed to isn’t working anymore. It’s not working because you won’t let it work, George – you’ve gotten out of control, and we have to do something. That’s enough. We fucked up – we didn’t see all this coming. But we’re about to fix it, and this is why.

Now the NFL is not America, and Jonathan Vilma is no Thomas Jefferson, and I’m certainly not comparing myself to Thomas Paine. What I’m trying to get across is that when someone tells you something like this:


You can tell them this: Please do not propose that because a group of people agreed to a profit-making enterprise and accepted the governance of one man, they are morally obligated to accept abuses of that power that was granted to him. Oppression cannot be justified by the method with which he was given that power. That abuse is still wrong, no matter who granted him the ability to determine punishment.

In short, legal dictate and moral obligation are not necessarily synonymous. Sometimes, the two come into conflict.

In fact, the very idea Knox (and many, many others) has proposed – that the players should just suck it up and tolerate the abuses of power because they agreed to it in the first place – is, by definition, un-American.

Happy Independence Day, Who Dats.

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6 Responses to “Common Sense”

  1. Philip H. Anselmo July 4, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Excellent piece there Angry.
    Thanks for always fighting the good fight bro.
    And happy fucking 4th!

  2. gigleason July 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Wow! As a history teacher, I am impressed by your analogy of rebellion to the tyrant King George and the NFL’s own Roger Goodell. Well done.

    • The Angry Who Dat July 5, 2012 at 8:11 am #

      Thank you! Maybe you can work this into the lesson plan?

  3. Himself July 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Who the hell is Knox Bardeen? And is that Phil Anselmo of Pantera and Down? How come nobody famous visits my place? Is it the jukebox?

    • The Angry Who Dat July 5, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      Bardeen is an NFC-S blogger for Bleacher Report. He was just the most recent person I saw to come with that lame-ass argument.
      Yes, that’s him. Phil, go check out The Who Dat Social Club … just don’t pay any attention to the jukebox.
      Hope that helped.

    • Philip H. Anselmo July 6, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      As Angry pointed out, ’tis me.
      I’ll visit your joint big daddy…. as long as you’re a Saints-loving-fuck-the-rest-of-the-NFCSouth type-cat!
      Y’all be cool!

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