This blog entry will be a little different than most. I have been meaning to mention this guy for a while. I stumbled across his podcasts a few years ago and have been a regular subscriber ever since. I went to his site, saw some cool stuff and I couldn’t resist promoting him to you.
I really admire his ethics and approach and I want to share him with you.
His name is Bruce Carlson and he is the driving force behind www.myhistorycanbeatupyourpolitics.com. Yes, I know the website name is quite a mouthful, but you’ll never forget the name and it’s well worth visiting. No frills or gimmicks – “Just the facts, Ma’am!”
Have you ever thought about politics and wondered if it has always been this crazy in our history? That’s exactly what Bruce talks about.
His works are a little varied, but in general, Bruce spotlights an issue or event of the present, then looks in our history for an identical or similar event and compares the two. After that, he explores other related topics of interest. He gives an honest report of the facts and shines a light on the implications of what was done and what might have been done. Where the facts are clear, he reports them.
If that were all he does, it would be great. But Bruce is a master at setting the stage and painting the scene for you, and his word pictures make you feel like you are there, watching history unfold.
Bruce not only researches the heck out of a topic, but he is the most balanced and non-partisan observer of history and politics I have found. Over the years, I have tried to guess which side of the Left/Right aisle he leans toward and my conclusion is: I have no idea. He presents all sides in a fact-based manner without adding any commentary.
Below, I’ve provided a sample. I asked a question on his Facebook page and he responded (which I didn’t expect – certainly not with a lengthy explanation). This just underscored my belief that this is a guy who loves history and really enjoys engaging with people that are curious about history and our politics today.
Here’s the question I asked:
Here’s a question that has been nagging me for a while and I think you may be the best person to provide an unbiased report. We all know that one of the main reasons our Founding Fathers rejected rule by England was the financial drain – the extreme taxation. My question is: How does the average person’s tax burden today compare to the tax burden imposed by King George on the average person in 1776? Thanks in advance for all you do. You’ve provided me with many hours of listening pleasure and a good deal of relevant knowledge. Keep up the good work. Cheers and Regards!
Here’s Bruce’s response. Please bear in mind it was a Facebook chat and so has some errant punctuation, misspelled words and a word dropped here and there. I didn’t want to edit it less I affect his meaning. Check it out and see how he explained the misconception I had in a kind way and gave a very well-rounded factual response.
—Beginning of Post—
Thanks Kim, why from moment one after Revolution there were regrets of this nature — Loyalists saying things like ‘How is your precious independence now! fools! and the like’ Shay’s was the result of some heavy taxation from Massachusetts as a state as well as the failure to give relief from creditors.
I’ll poke around a bit – don’t know if it will make this Q&A episode because there’s some researching there. It might. But on the surface, here are my thoughts – – I think colonial taxes were zero.
That is no head tax. Or as we might say today income tax.I don’t think the individual colonist had any direct tax burden to England, unless they engaged in importing – and though many did, that was more for the richer folk. Customs which would have affected a country that was still mostly seaboard, would have been where taxes were assessed and for those people I think were considered burdensome, but maybe not the only reason for war. There was also the consideration that the taxed dollars were going across an ocean and not coming back.
I’m not entirely taxes were the issue that is sometimes presented as in the history books and summaries. This is likely because of the Stamp Act fight, which was important, but also resolved in the 1760s before the Revolution.
Compared for example with – limiting where Americans could trade, cutting off markets (George Washington couldn’t get the good products for his fishing because London didn’t ‘plan’ fishing for Virginia.) Strictly limiting iron production. Limiting how far Americans could settle – the Proclamation Line and setting up Canada so that it had rights and might compete with Americans – these things were also pretty heavy on American minds. These forcing of American commerce in one way or another were ‘taxes’ designed to send business back to Britain though the cost is difficult to calculate. The Tea Party was also about a regulation / forced commerce issue more than tax issue – they were dumping tea to
I like to look at Tom Paine’s Common Sense as a ‘founding document’ and he has a ‘Founding Father’ if I am to use that term, because it was his document that was the call to war. He does talk about spending monies for nothing but otherwise the word tax is not used.
Another thing to always think of in assessing the Revolution is that it was so much about the future and not just present grief. At any time, the King could send over officers and have them be ‘in charge’ of a colony. No election, no chance to vote etc. Some guy that did a favor for the King would be the new governor or tax collector. States replaced that with elected governors, initally by the Legislature and now by us, whether we like the choices or not I tend to think it was so much more about control than merely the cost or burden of taxes.
—End of Post—
See what I mean? Balanced and factual in plain English.
I hope you’ll take the time to look at his site and sample what I consider the best neutral observer in the business.
Want to check him out? Here’s where to go…
iTunes Store for podcasts: “My History Can Beat Up Your Politics” by Bruce Carlson
Website: http:// http://www.myhistorycanbeatupyourpolitics.com
Facebook: Search on Facebook for “My History Can Beat Up Your Politics”
See you next time. Cheers and Regards,