Commentary

Happy Guy Fawkes Night!

Remember, remember the fifth of November, The gunpowder, treason and plot, I know of no reason Why the gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.

Although it may pass largely unnoticed in the United States, November 5th is marked in the United Kingdom with fireworks and bonfires, where effigies of the famous Gunpowder Plot conspirator are burned. While the occasion is ostensibly to celebrate the foiling of the 1605 plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, Fawkes has become a hero in his own right for his attempt to stand up to the Crown’s persecution. Fawkes was even reintroduced to popular culture recently through the 2005 movie hit “V for Vendetta,” adapted from David Lloyd’s graphic novel of the same name, in which the protagonist “V” wears a Guy Fawkes mask and threatens to blow up Parliament to protest a totalitarian, Orwellian government. Supporters of Texas congressman and former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul took up the revolutionary theme and used it to raise a staggering and unlikely sum of more than $4.2 million last November 5th, setting a single-day GOP fundraising record in the process. For more on Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, see this entry on Wikipedia or this site.

Adam Summers is a senior policy analyst at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. He has written extensively on privatization, government reform, law and economics, and various other political and economic topics.