On March 23, 1775 Patrick Henry made a famous speech. Would he repeat it today?

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In the face of COVID-19, one wonders if Patrick Henry would have repeated today the sentiment that he uttered before the second Virginia convention on 23 March 1775.

Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Admittedly, Mr. Henry was speaking to an audience that was not yet held in the intellectual thralldom of the scientists and statisticians who reign supreme over the denizens of the twenty-first century.

Nonetheless, he was speaking to an audience over which George III reigned and, at least from the history books I read, he appeared to have been quite formidable in his own way. Fortunately for America, British Regulars were a little easier to spot for colonial marksmen than is the invisible enemy that presently invades our shores.

As sympathetic as I am towards my own health and especially towards the health of the vulnerable elderly and those with underlying health conditions, it does make me shudder a little that the right to free assembly and public worship appears to have vanished almost overnight.

Thankfully, none of us need entertain any suspicions that the current suspension of political and religious liberty is the result of an overseas potentate exercising despotic power through grossly unreasonable taxes on our tea!

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No need to suspect covert and nefarious forces at work orchestrating an attack on the principle of self-governance and local sovereignty that is the hallmark of American patriots. Although a foreign flu appears to have squelched massive pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong, it is we ourselves through our own elected leaders who have voluntarily set aside our liberty.

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Let us be grateful that George III never thought of using something like the Coronovirus to suppress public meetings in 1775.

After all, life is more important than liberty is it not?

What was Patrick Henry thinking?

About marklangley

Academic Dean at The Lyceum (a school he founded in 2003, see theLyceum.org) Mark loves sacred music and Gregorian Chant and singing with his lovely wife, Stephanie, and their twelve children.
This entry was posted in America, classical education, Custom, enlightenment and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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