Surely, conservatives who cherish the Fourth of July while cheering today’s wars have a high tolerance for cognitive dissonance. The American Revolution was, at best, a revolt against empire. The taxes at issue were being used to finance Britain’s national security state. The colonial rebels didn’t “support the troops” — they resented them. And they resented Britain’s status as the hypocritical world power, which closely resembled the modern United States — an empire claiming the mantle of liberty while smashing its colonial subjects. Today’s conservatives would have likely been partisans of King George. In our own time, true independence would mean Washington, DC, releasing control of its satellites and colonies worldwide.

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