Keeping the Right Perspective on Independence Day

Today is the 4th of July, that oh so celebrated day in American history. The day that the United States of America was officially born (okay, it was the 2nd, or 3rd, whatever they’re saying these days; but we celebrate on the 4th so quit whining).

Anyways, I have two things I wish to convey to you; both of which are of the utmost importance this Independence Day.

My first point regards patriotism. The fireworks, BBQ’s, American flags, family gatherings et al are enough to get any decent American stirred up with love for country. And rightly so; America is the most generous nation that the world has ever seen, though many liberals, and even some of my fellow libertarians, will disagree. Yes, we do have our faults as every nation does. But our opportunity and freedom for all has set us apart from the rest of the world. This is something we like to refer to as American Exceptionalism.

independence day

Be proud of your country, and of your heritage. However, we all must be sure to keep our patriotism in check. There are dangers of hyper-patriotism, believe it or not. During the 1930-40’s, hyper-patriotism played a huge role in Hitler’s rise to power. The German people were so blinded by their love of the motherland that they lost sight of what was right, and they ended up allowing upwards of 20 million people to die in a brutal war.

Before you go all “he hates America!” on me, take that into consideration. It is important that what is right comes before your country, as harsh as that sounds. The most brutal regimes in world history have used love of country against their citizens; this is merely a warning to prevent such from happening in America.

My next point is that we should remember what we are celebrating this day, and to give you a little history lesson.

Independence Day. The day that we declared independence from a government that had become distanced, overbearing, and intolerant of its people in the American colonies.

It wasn’t always this way though. In fact, the American colonies were very free compared to other British colonies around the world. This is because the British simply traded with the colonies for resources, and basically let them self govern. This was the pattern for more than a century.

However, the French and Indian War changed that. The British realized how much the colonies were worth, and took considerably more interest in regulating the economy for exploitation of resources. The Proclamation of 1763 halted all expansion by the colonists into the frontier, which greatly angered Americans.

The many draconian acts that were passed in the following years only increased the anger of Americans, who were not used to having England meddling in colonial affairs. The colonists petitioned the king and Parliament many times over the course of 20 years to no avail. It came to a certain point in 1776 that a certain group of men realized that they had to free America from British control.

It was a time in the course of human events to dissolve the ties that had bound them to England. So they compiled a list of grievances that had been ignored by the king and Parliament, and wrote the following famous words in that Declaration of Independence.

signing of the declaration

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

These men realized that a free society was the only path that was acceptable for America. They fought for it, bled and died for it. And they won it for their descendants.

Now let’s come back to 2014. What would they say to the average American about how they celebrate Independence Day? I beg to say that most would be most displeased with what America has become, because the purpose of this nation has been forgotten.

But this seems to be the natural course of things in this world. People fight and die for something, then work to maintain it, then reach prosperity, then forget how they got to that point. We are at that point right now. We have forgotten the purpose of this nation because we have become so self-absorbed in our stuff that liberty no longer seems to matter for many Americans.

If you are reading this, perhaps you are not in that boat. Perhaps you know about how the IRS is targeting people based on their political beliefs, or that federal agencies are being armed to the teeth for no benevolent reason (I hardly buy the claim that the Dept. of Agriculture needs submachine guns).

What are you celebrating this 4th of July? Are you celebrating it at all? If you are, know what you are celebrating: the freedom for anyone to live and let live; to not be directed and coerced by the gun of the state; to not be dissuaded from entrepreneurship; to not be disparaged from exercising Constitutional rights.

If you are simply celebrating because ‘Merica, perhaps you should re-examine your love of country. If you love someone, you will correct them. If you love your country, you will not be afraid to say when she has gone wrong.

Are you really independent? For millions in the country, “Dependence Day” would be a more suitable holiday.

Is this sobering? It is, I admit it. But these kinds of messages are rarely uplifting. What I am asking you to do is to think. Think about what this country was founded for, and what it has become since. Is that something that you want to celebrate with no second thoughts?

Follow Seth on Twitter: @sconnell1776
Views expressed are not put forth or endorsed by Red Millennial.
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