“One people should not be ruled by another.”
– Field Marshall Tamas, Promise of Blood
The Powder Mage Trilogy, by Brian McClellan
We Americans love our 4th of July Independence Day celebrations. We go a bit nuts with fireworks, fireworks, and more fireworks. But, it is a very sad thing, I think many of us have forgotten, and are continuing to forget, what it really means: a time to celebrate, and remember, our freedom. Ultimately, that freedom comes down to this simple principle.
I have completely forgotten the exact circumstances surrounding this quote, but it’s the man saying it which truly fascinates me. Tamas was always a man of principle and honor, though he came to cultivate a stoic, ruthless exterior to cloak such with. That is not the same as being entirely innocent, as he also has a great deal of blood on his hands. Yet, he has also gone to great lengths to try and protect the innocent and uphold order in a time of great upheaval. Said upheaval also came about by his will, yet it was much preferable to the alternative.
Tamas’ nation was sick, for a very long time, with corruption, greed, entitlement, and worse. Foreign powers meddled for the sake of their own interests, and sometimes for nothing more than their own petty amusement. Tamas lost loved ones, plural, to these machinations, and when what he could do on his own was not enough to stop that, he devoted himself entirely to saving his people, from the encroaching chains of enslavement. He was big enough to see that what happened to him was just a symptom of a much larger, more nefarious disease, and he was determined to cut out the cancer. The salvation of his nation was his revenge against the foreigners who murdered members of his family.
I dimly recall Tamas saying these words when he seems to be at the mercy of an enemy, a low point. This principle is the bedrock of truth which he builds upon. Flawed though he and his efforts may be, this truth supports him and drives him on to success.
It is the same truth that my nation was first built upon: that a people should be free to govern themselves without outside interference.
I hold that to be true across the board.
China should not rule America, and America should not rule China.
Europeans should not rule Africans, and Africans should not rule Europeans,
Christians should not rule Hindus, Hindus should not rule Muslims, and Muslims should not rule Christians.
Farmers should not rule cities and cities should not rule farmers.
We glorify empires, quite often, but what is an empire, if not a collection of peoples ruled by another people? Even when the differences between the capital and the colonies seem small, they are not the same. And no people should be made to bow to the whims of another people.
No one should have to answer to those who think themselves “better” and don’t even have their subjects’ best interests at heart.
Everyone should be free to live as they like, so long as they do not prohibit others of the same.
That is the first truth within the foundation, and spirit, of the United States of America.