What transpired aboard the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver, three American ships carrying East India Company tea into Boston Harbor was not at all about high taxes. As a result of the Tea Act, East India Company tea was now cheaper than smuggled Dutch tea.
The destruction of the tea was as much of a protest against a large commercial conglomerate that had used its financial and political influence to create a government sanctioned monopoly as it was about a lack of representation.
The benchmark of the United States is its system of private capitalism. Theoretically, and as it should be, it is a system under which, without asking anybody’s permission, various enterprises compete with each other in the market by offering the highest quality goods and services they can, at the lowest possible prices. Progress occurs as companies and individuals strive continuously to raise quality and lower their prices.
In September, the legislature will return to Oklahoma City. The special session has been called to review several statutes that were adopted in 2009 and ruled unconstitutional earlier this year. Among other things, those statutes limit the amount of money an injured person or the family of a deceased person may receive from the person or company who caused the damage, injury or death; make it more expensive to sue a company or another person who has caused injury or death; and make it more difficult to hold someone accountable if they harm a person, such as a nursing home resident or a child.
Our Founding Fathers drafted the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Oklahoma to give ordinary citizens the right to hold accountable those who violate the rules of society and cause harm to others. We must carefully examine whether the legislation that will be introduced this session will be in the common good. The last thing we should do is allow the rights of the people to govern themselves through trial by jury to be taken away or infringed.