Friday, July 01, 2011

Thoughts on Independence Day

The Fourth of July is not a celebration of our freedom. When we declared independence, we were not free, beyond whatever the King and Parliament of Britain allowed us. We held our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be inalienable gifts from our creator, but we did not expect them to come from government.

Reread the Preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Two things stand out: 1. It was done by the People of the United States of America, and 2. it was made "to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."

Liberty is secured by people who are independent, for otherwise they can be denied it by withholding the benefits on which they depend. Our founders believed that we were and are dependent on our Creator for our rights and the earth on which we live, and they understood that we must band together to enjoy the security and prosperity that come through living in society, and they prepared the Constitution and ratified it in order to set the ground rules of that society, but they had no illusions that this new government, this "more perfect union" was responsible for their liberties or welfare. It was, rather, to provide a setting in which we could secure those things through exercising our Independence, our efforts, our skills and our talents.

Somewhere along the way, we've been taught that our prosperity and freedoms come from this government we created at the end of the 18th Century, but it is not nor ever will be so. These things come from our own efforts, the exercise of our independence, maintained by our own responsible behavior: our thrift, husbandry, civic duty, efforts to learn, and especially our speaking and standing against efforts to reduce that independence. It is in the nature of things that we will vary in results, wealth, creations, wisdom and learning, and so forth. But the cornerstone is our cognizance that except for our reliance on God and his providence, we, as adult Americans, are dependent only on ourselves and our efforts and no one else. The government's job is to maintain an atmosphere and setting where we can act independently and apply ourselves for our own betterment and that of our society. Those who will not put forth effort to learn and earn have wasted their independence and do not deserve the fruits of it. That is a harsh, but inevitable truth derived from our national patrimony.

Today we are close to losing our independence to an oligarchy consisting of our politicians, bureaucrats, tax collectors and those who keep voting to keep them all in office. Let us think on these things on this an every July fourth and resolve again to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity," through keeping our Independence. There are always those who conspire to take it from us, some by force and some by offering ease in its place. Our safety lies in vigilance and responsibility.

Mark Steyn makes similar point.

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