June 15, 2015, marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede, southern England. From this “Great Charter” emerged the concept of a written social contract spelling out freedoms.
Prior to the Magna Carta, kings governed under the principle of force and will, justified by the view that kings were above the law. Force and will have a way of being financed by heavy taxation, be the currency bushels of wheat, silver coins, or fiat money. King John of England undertook a perpetual quest to regain possession of Normandy, which contributed to his relentless imposition of taxes and other arbitrary burdens on the kingdom’s barons. There was no tea party to protest the taxation, but there was armed rebellion that forced King John to sign the Magna Carta.
The concept of liberty that arose out of the Magna Carta is like a genie that cannot be forced back into its bottle, no matter how much it is at times disdained or battered. At least that is what Libertarians firmly believe.