Review: The Arsonist – The Most Dangerous Man in America (James Otis 1760′s Catalyst for Liberty)

6 Star Top 10%, America (Founders, Current Situation), Biography & Memoirs, Country/Regional, Culture, Research, Democracy, History, Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design, Peace, Poverty, & Middle Class, Philosophy, Politics, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
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Nathan A. Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Six Star Pre-History Ignored Until Now, July 17, 2011

This is a BARN-BURNER of a book! This book is a PhD dissertation that is being published quickly to aid the cause of liberty in 2012. The academic detail would normally make it a four-star read, but the relevance, the originality, and the appendices-both within the book as it will be published, and online-carry it to six stars. Depending on one's interest, this can be a quick read to confirm that we need a second American revolution-or a slow read to savor the loneliness, the persistence, the integrity of one man called a lunatic and a traitor for one reason only: he was twenty years ahead of his time. It is on the shoulders of James Otis that the Founding Father stood, and this author, Nathan Allen, has performed brilliantly in identifying a slice of American history here-to-fore overlooked, and in deeply investigating and then publicizing what can only be appreciated as both one man's cross to bear, and one nation's long lead-time in the gestation of liberty.

The work adds deep perspective to the underlying intellectual and moral foundations of the American revolution, and in particular helps present the difference between the traditional view (taxation without representation) and a much more nuanced and philosophically founded view, objection to the entire feudal hierarchy that placed power in the hands of a very small elite-very similar to the “one percent” that rule America today, using the two-party politicians as their servants, pawns, or co-conspirators.

QUOTE (120): “The man who was developing in 1762 and 1763 was a man torn between his county and his father-a man who could have chosen a life of ease and wealth but instead chose the path of patriot and hero.”

QUOTE (195): “Otis's influence on revolutionary politics is obvious: in forcing the idea of rights and consent into the colonists' consciousness, he created the platform to envision independence from Britain, from slavery, from government. His fight was not so particularly against a regime that oppressed him; he was wealthy and more a part of the ruling oligarchy than difference from it. His fight was against a regime that oppressed anyone, not just by the obvious tactics … but simply by the way in which society was structured. A practical philosopher and a rebel, James Otis provided the means by which the people could free themselves from the feudal hierarchy that had shackled them for a thousand years.”A couple of core ideas that will stay with me from this book:

01. James Otis was instrumental in helping both educated upper middle class professionals and street-level working men realize that “their” government was working AGAINST them.

02. This was a rebellion of, by, and for the middle class.

03. “Rights of the British Colonies” by James Otis preceded everything else be it Common Sense or other pamphleteering leading up to the revolution a decade later.

04. The core concept of a Constitution and a federal form of government started to emerge in the 1760's from the work of James Otis in particular.

05. The Petition of Lechmere legal case fought by James Otis was a precursor to all else-indeed, the book documents how John Adams, future president, took notes during this trial.

06. The Stamp Act later on was not just about taxation, but about censorship and the confiscation of all media elements engaged in “revolutionary” publications activity.

07. Unchecked unbalanced power, the use of customs writs to engage in legalized corruption and invasion of homes and workplaces were the core foundation for the revolution (now think about Department of Homeland Security today, police now allowed to break into homes if they testify they “heard noises” (or confiscate entire homes not actually related to specific crimes), warrantless wiretapping, three trillion dollar wars justified by 935 now-documented lies) .

The book provides some lovely insights into the false claims for expenses for “procuring information” that could be easily compared to today's $80 billion a year largely worthless US secret intelligence community.

Philosophically there is an all-too-brief sidebar on Arminianism, the view that salvation comes not from works or grace but by will alone. … the sovereign individual. This is said to have become the dominant theological systems in the USA in the 19th century and in some ways a legitimate justification for American exceptionalism.

Hats off to author Nathan Allen-this is a *very* important contribution to scholarship, to humanity, and to We the People who have lost our way and allowed “reasonable dishonesty” to destroy the Republic.

Other books I recommend for context:
The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Define and Inspire Our Country
What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States
Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

One DVD:
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

All my books are free online as well as offered here at Amazon in hard-copy. Here's my bottom line: the US Government today does NOT represent We the People. It lacks intelligence and integrity. It lacks legitimacy. It has no credibility. Its leaders are lying to the public every day. Some of us have been saying this for decades. It gives me a lift to learn from this book that James Otis was 15 years ahead of the pack–as Ron Paul and Ralph Nader have been decades ahead of the pack. It's time to refresh the tree of liberty.

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