Palm Bay: History, Please.

In response to the Councilman Santiago post which we discussed yesterday, a commenter in the Facebook thread made this statement:

We cannot support that sentiment.

To understand why, we have to go back to the founding of the country. When it came to taxes, the “battle cry” was “no taxation without representation” – not “no taxation without public vote.”

No one knows the exact origins of the “no taxation without representation,” but it seems to have come from the headline of and article from February 1768 London Magazine’s headline, on page 89, in its printing of Lord Camden’s “Speech on the Declaratory Bill of the Sovereignty of Great Britain over the Colonies.”

In the speech, Lord Camden says:

My position is this—I repeat it—I will maintain it to my last hour,— taxation and representation are inseparable; — this position is founded on the laws of nature; it is more, it is itself an eternal law of nature; for whatever is a man’s own, is absolutely his own; no man hath a right to take it from him without his consent, either expressed by himself or representative; whoever attempts to do it, attempts an injury; whoever does it, commits a robbery; he throws down and destroys the distinction between liberty and slavery. Taxation and representation are coeval with and essential to this constitution. . . .

In short, my lords, from the whole of our history, from the earliest period, you will find that taxation and representation were always united; so true are the words of that consummate reasoner and politician Mr. [John] Locke. (emphasis ours)

The printer of the paper, one John Almon, added the headline of “No Taxation Without Representation.” The American colonies felt it was unjust to tax them without elected officials they could choose and eventually the phrase was adopted as a battle cry against taxes levied by the British Parliament.

While the history is interesting, the fact remains that at no level of government are we a direct democracy. We are a representational republic.

Generally speaking, people will vote for their own pocketbook. If a tax can be proposed that will tax others but not affect them, they will vote for it.

We much prefer the representational republic form of government where people are elected to represent the people within their district. Rich, poor, race, ethnicity and gender not withstanding, we hope that we elect people that represent the people and do the right thing.

Because some elected officials do not do the right thing or vote without the people in mind does not mean we should scrape the entire form of government.

What it means is that we should vote those people out of office and get people who will represent the people and have a vision for the future.

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