Late last month, the administrators at a Colorado public school—with the grandiose name "the Vanguard School"—tried to force a 12-year-old boy named Jaiden to remove a Gadsden flag patch from his backpack. The Gadsden flag may be more familiar to readers as simply the rattlesnake flag with the words "don't tread on me" on it. People who are at all familiar with the American revolution know the flag is a revolutionary-era flag with a message designed to repudiate the imperial despotism imposed on the Americans by British elites.
Teachers and administrators at the Vanguard School, however, were absolutely sure the flag has "origins with slavery, and the slave trade." Of course, this is exactly the kind of historical illiteracy and social-democratic revisionism we'd expect from public school teachers and administrators. "Teaching" at your average public school is mostly about running a taxpayer-funded propaganda mill and daycare center, and has little to do with the dissemination of any factual material. Thus, it is likely that the staff at this school saw on MSNBC once that the Gadsden flag is "racist" because some American conservatives wave it. The leap from this slur to the idea that the flag is a symbol of slavery is brief indeed.
This whole narrative is part of the story pushed by the "1619 Project" at the New York Times which would have us believe that the American Revolution itself was all about racism and slavery. Meanwhile, the real themes and facts of the revolution—secession, natural rights, radical liberalism, violent revolution, and extreme decentralization—have all been swept aside to serve Progressives' current ideological projects. The regime's propagandists—which includes most public school employees—naturally seek to destroy and discredit all symbols of the American Revolution beyond bland slogans about "taxation without representation." This framing of the revolution makes it all very safe and does not encourage any opposition to the current regime. After all, we have "representation" now—the millionaire gerontocracy in Congress "represents" you, don't you know—so there's no reason to think revolution can be justified. If you don't like something, just vote harder.
This sterile pro-status-quo interpretation of the revolution is exactly what we should expect to be taught in a government school because the correct interpretation is far too dangerous and inconvenient for the regime.
The reality of the revolution, of course, is that a sizable portion of the population—from intellectual elites in cities to ordinary farmers in the countryside—grew tired of the British yoke. Animated by a radical ideology of natural rights—which we now call "classical" liberalism or libertarianism—Americans declared the established government illegitimate and seceded. It didn't have to be that way. At first the Americans had asked politely for more freedom. They even sent the Olive Branch Petition to the King. For their efforts, the Americans were declared "traitors"—that epithet so often used by despots and their useful idiots everywhere.
When the British state eventually launched a war against the Americans to prevent their secession, the Americans were forced to take up arms and killed government soldiers and officials until they packed up and left the country. The revolutionaries only wanted peace and self-determination. The British refused to let them have it. The British got their response, and got it good and hard.
It was all morally justified, of course: the secession, the rebellion, the disdain for the British idea of "law and order." Parliament and the Crown had attempted to destroy the Americans' human rights—the rights of life, liberty, and property as outlined by the libertarian Leveller revolutionaries in England a century earlier. As a result, the revolutionaries were entitled to protect their rights by using violence in self-defense.
Naturally, today's elites ignore those parts of the American Revolution. It also now appears the Progressives have moved on to the next phase which is to discredit the revolution altogether. Thus, symbols of the revolution must be denounced as symbols of slavery, and all modern rebellion and secession declared to be "treason" or "sedition" or some other political "crime." It's okay to "rebel"—i.e., in the style of Antifa or Black Lives Matters—so long as the "solution" is always more state power. Real independence, secession, and rebellion are absolutely not allowed. The 1619 Project thus assures us the whole enterprise of the American Revolution was suspect. We're told those ill-mannered Americans should have listened to their betters in the imperial metropoles of Britain!
For those who actually respect human rights, however, any attempt to craft or promote this Progressive anti-revolutionary narrative must be met with enthusiastic opposition. In the case of Jaiden at the Vanguard School, there is a happy ending. The teachers were humiliated and Jaiden's backpack remains bedecked with the Gadsden flag. It's a small victory, but a necessary one. For obvious reasons, the regime doesn't want Americans to think secession or revolution—as so well described by Thomas Jefferson—is ever an option. Ever since the counter-revolutionaries got their new centralist-nationalist constitution in 1787, the American regime has been about the maintenance and spread of federal power. The revolution, however, acts as a beacon in the opposite direction, and Rothbard has explained why:
The Americans had always been intractable, rebellious, impatient of oppression, as witness the numerous rebellions of the late seventeenth century; they also had their own individualist and libertarian heritage, their Ann Hutchinsons and Rhode Island quasi anarchists, some directly linked with the left wing of the English Revolution. Now, strengthened and guided by the developed libertarian natural rights ideology of the eighteenth century, and reacting to aggrandizement of the British imperial state in the economic, constitutional, and religious spheres, the Americans, in escalated and radicalized confrontations with Great Britain, had made and won their Revolution. By doing so, this revolution, based on the growing libertarian idea pervading enlightened opinion in Europe, itself gave immeasurable impetus to the liberal revolutionary movement throughout the Old World, for here was a living example of a liberal revolution that had taken its daring chance, against all odds and against the mightiest state in the world, and had actually succeeded. Here, indeed, was a beacon light to all the oppressed peoples of the world!