The Capitol rioters and their supporters seem to think they’re reenacting the American Revolution. They’re about as close to the real thing as Civil War reenacters are.
Actually, strike that. I understand many Civil War reenacters are careful students of American history.
The Revolution reenacters don’t seem to know much of anything about American history, beyond what fits on the Gadsden flag. And even that they misunderstand. The “me” in “Don’t tread on me” meant the united colonies, not the lone “me” at the center of the narcissist’s universe.
Neither do they show much understanding of the conservatism they claim to believe in. Conservatism advocates individual liberty, but it must be “ordered,” so as to protect the other individuals who make up a society. As conservative forefather John Stuart Mill prescribed in his classic On Liberty: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”
That’s very different from unbounded selfishness.
And so with the Constitution they supposedly revere. It was designed to promote both private and public freedom, both the “Blessings of Liberty” and the “General Welfare.” Getting that point only requires reading the first paragraph:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
And the Second Amendment to that Constitution? While gun control advocates may be disappointed to hear that the Founders did recognize the right to bear arms as a crucial guarantor of liberty, the Second Amendment’s phrase “well-regulated militia” was crucial. In no way did the Founders think everyone had an unregulated right to guns. An excellent, unbiased source on this is A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origin of Gun Control in America, by Saul Cornell — as is any open-minded study of primary sources. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 29:
If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security.
But no, the reenacters don’t understand such things, or simply don’t believe in them.
The real Revolutionaries fought a monarch to establish a democracy. The Revolution reenacters fight democracy to establish a monarch.
The democracy born of the real Revolution was based on equality, and it defeated an uprising by slave-owners.
The Revolution reenacters wave the Confederate flag with their Gadsen flag.
It’s time for them to take off their “patriotic” costumes.
They aren’t reenacting the Revolution, they’re attacking it.