It's easy to say the modern teabaggers are assholes. The modern teabaggers are assholes. See? We didn't even break a sweat.
But as it turns out, these latest teabaggers are simply carrying on a longstanding tradition of proud, vaguely patriotic douchebaggery that they learned from the OG's of asshole behavior; the guys who tossed some tea into a harbor a couple hundred years ago.
No, we're not saying we wish the British had won the war or that we wish America had never been born. We're just saying that American history glosses over a lot of true dick behavior. After all, consider that...
Benjamin Franklin had been chosen by the Pennsylvania colonial legislature to represent the colonies before the crown. If the colonies were pissed, or sick of paying unfair taxes (or as was more often the case, not paying them), it was Franklin's job to let the crown know.
Unfortunately, Ben really loved the crown. Right before the revolution, he had been trying, unsuccessfully, to convince the king to take back Pennsylvania from the Penn family, and put it under royal control.
When the issue of the Stamp Act first came up, even though the colonists were furious, Ben Franklin was all about it, and he told Great Britain as much. Hell, he even gave a friend of his the cushy job collecting the new taxes.
Because he was fucking clueless about the people he was representing and spent most of his time in Britain. When colonists eventually showed up at his house rioting, he must have been just shocked that they were so angry about the Stamp Act. Or, he would have been shocked, but people were rioting at his house and threatening to hang him, so he kind of had some other stuff to deal with.
When you think about it, Ben Franklin was a terrible choice for Voice of the People. The dude managed to be a rich, successful, self-made, internationally jet-setting playboy in the 18th goddamn century, for fuck's sake. John Q. Public he was not. Of course he didn't mind the Stamp Act; if it didn't at all impede his ability to fuck princesses on hot air balloons, (or whatever the 18th Century analogue to the mile high club was), why should he care? Franklin's hypothetical balloon-humping to one side, the point is that Great Britain was blissfully unaware on the other side of the ocean while the colonists steamed and let their rage build.
When we think of the original Tea Party Guys, we think of a bunch of decent, hardworking people who were treated unfairly and had every right to rebel against their oppressors. That's sort of a harder pill to swallow when it turns out the "oppressors" were more like "laid back goons," and the "opressees" were more like "whiney assholes." True, Great Britain did impose taxes on the colonies without representation, but according to Taxation in Colonial America, the British rarely bothered collecting them. Hardly anyone was paying the tax that the colonists were so pissed off about.
Smuggling mixed with some general bad leadership. London was an ocean away and there just wasn't an efficient way to manage an entire empire across seas. Not to mention the smuggling. Lord, the smuggling. The British taxes were only on trade, and it was just ridiculously easy to get away with simply not paying them. This was because the layout of the Virginia coast allowed merchants to sail past the authorities and just pull their boats right up to their customers. As a result, many merchants built their businesses on smuggling.
The British tried to put a stop to this, but how could they? Imagine if, instead of just losing a portion of your paycheck to taxes every month, you had to literally hand money over to an IRS agent who wouldn't chase you, didn't keep record of you and was incredibly easy to sidestep. Would you pay that guy?
Great Britain understood this inefficient system, but they also understood that they didn't really need the taxes they were asking for. So unofficially, it was decided that as long as the colonies were doing well, the British were just going to loosely enforce the trade laws, lest they risk accidentally starting a rebellion. This is the same discipline philosophy held by parents who think that the point of having children is so that you can finally be invited to high school parties.
When it eventually did become necessary to start collecting cash, the British were never able to successfully put and keep in place any taxes, ever again. Every time they tried, a group of colonists would throw the kind of shit fit that ends in some embarrassed step-dad having to buy a pony.
So why bother?
Say you have a friend, who's kind of a loud-mouth. He's a few years younger than you and infinitely more irritating, so much so that he pissed off some tougher, bigger kids. Now they want to kick his ass. Even though it's your friend's own fault, and even though you had nothing to do with the dispute, you still feel like you have to step in and fight on his behalf. The French and Indian War was sort of like that, except Great Britain was the older, sensible friend of the idiot colonists, and the French "bullies" knew a shitload of Indians.
The land known as the Ohio Country was perfect for fur trading. The French realized this, so they claimed it. The British colony of Virginia claimed it "second," which is English for first. Great Britain didn't care too much and France wasn't terribly interested in putting up a big fight over what clearly must have just been a misunderstanding. The colonists were, objectively, wrong. To apologize for the misunderstanding, the Virginian colonists started sprinting to the territory in order to gobble up land, take advantage of the fur trade, and annoy the living crap out of the Native Americans.
The French, hilariously thinking this conflict was still in the "words" phase, sent a bunch of troops on a peace mission into the forest to see if absolutely anyone in Virginia was in charge (nope!) A nearby colonial militia spotted the French, and being young, dumb, and full of guns, they thought it'd be real neat to sneak up and yell "SURPRISE!" With their guns.
Now, the French are fine if you're running around saying "Nuh uh, we own the land," but if you start wrecking their shit? They're going to have something to say which, in this case, involved recruiting a buttload of Indians and an even bigger buttload of bullets. Regardless of the outcome, the ensuing French and Indian war ended up being ridiculously expensive for the British who, remember, didn't even really give a crap to begin with.
On top of this, the British colonial smugglers continued to sell stuff to the French illegally throughout the course of the war. This kept the French well-supplied and the British well-supplied with rage at the colonists who, (once again), refused to pay taxes.