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Celebrate Life, Not the 4th

I could quibble with items such as the authority of a Constitution and the conflating of rational defense with world policing, but on the whole, Harry Browne’s 4th of July message is right on. And, so, on this day, like every day, I try to celebrate my life and what’s possible in spite of every conceivable barrier standing in my way, wasting my time, my money, my life–for no other reason than to grant unearned power, prestige, and livelihoods to a class of parasites of the state who purport to run things. I curse them all.

Uncelebrating the Fourth

by Harry Browne

Unfortunately, July 4th has become a day of deceit.

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress formally declared its independence from Great Britain. Thirteen years later, after a difficult war to secure that independence, the new country was open for business.

It was truly unique — the first nation in all of history in which the individual was considered more important than the government, and the government was tied down by a written Constitution.

It was the one nation where you could live your life secure in the knowledge that no one would ask for your papers, where you weren’t identified by a number, and where the government wouldn’t extort a percentage of your income as the price of holding a job.

And so each year July 4th has been a commemoration of the freest country in history.

False Celebration

But the America that’s celebrated no longer exists.

The holiday oratory deceitfully describes America as though it were the unique land of liberty that once was. Politicians thank the Almighty for conferring the blessings of liberty on a country that no longer enjoys those blessings. The original freedom and security have disappeared — even though the oratory lingers on.

What made America unique is now gone, and we are much the same as Germany, France, England, or Spain, with:

– confiscatory taxes,

– a Constitution and Bill of Rights that are symbolic only — merely documents used to justify governmental actions that are in fact prohibited by those documents,

– business regulated by the state in the most minute detail,

– no limits on what Congress or the President might decide to do.

Yes, there are some freedoms left, but nothing like the America that was — and nothing that you can’t find in a few dozen other countries.

The Empire

Gone, too, is the sense of peace and security that once reigned throughout the land. America — bound by two huge oceans and two friendly neighbors — was subject to none of the never-ending wars and destruction that plagued Europe and Asia.

Now, however, everyone’s business is America’s business. Our Presidents consider themselves the rulers of the world — deciding who may govern any country on earth and sending Americans to die enforcing those decisions.

Whereas America was once an inspiration to the entire world — its very existence was proof that peace and liberty really were possible
— Americans now live in fear of the rest of the world and the rest of the world lives in fear of America.

The Future

Because the education of our children was turned over to government in the 19th century, generations of Americans have been taught that freedom means taxes, regulations, civic duty, and responsibility for the whole world. They have no conception of the better life that could exist in a society in which government doesn’t manage health care, education, welfare, and business — and in which individuals are free to plot their own destinies.

Human beings are born with the desire to make their own decisions and control their own lives. But in most countries government and social pressures work to teach people to expect very little autonomy.

Fortunately, in America a remnant has kept alive the ideas of liberty, peace, and self-respect — passing the concepts on from generation to generation. And so today millions of Americans know that the present system isn’t the right system — that human beings aren’t born to serve the state and police the world.

Millions more would be receptive upon being shown that it’s possible to have better lives than what they’re living now.

Both groups need encouragement to quit supporting those who are taking freedom away from them.

You and I may not have the money and influence to change America by ourselves, but we can keep spreading the word — describing a better society in which individuals are truly free and government is in chains (instead of the opposite).

And someday we may reach the people who do have the money and influence to persuade tens of millions of Americans to change our country for the better.

I don’t know that it’s going to happen, but I do know it’s possible. I know that the urge to live one’s own life is as basic in human beings as the will to live and the desire to procreate. If we keep plugging away, we may eventually tap into that urge and rally the forces necessary to restore the real America.

And then the 4th of July will be worth celebrating again.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

17 Comments

  1. Jonathan Murray on July 4, 2005 at 18:03

    May I suggest? Find some little segment of the world you can call your own (still plenty of little islands unoccupied), declare independence, and have at it.

    Alternatively, run for office, gain the support of the people you hint at representing with your opinion, and change the system from within.

    Otherwise, this little rant on why you hate your country is rather despicably empty and meaningless.

  2. Kyle Bennett on July 4, 2005 at 19:12

    Jonathan,

    I agree completely with Richard, but it's not that I hate my counry, it's that my country has been occupied – mostly, at least, we can argue over the actual extent – by hosile forces.

    In that light, your second option smacks of Vichy and Quisling. No, I'm not comparing the US to Nazi Germany. I'm only saying that the idea of changing the system from within is nohing more than appeasement. As to your first option, there may be ways other than geographically to accomplish that.

    In my experience, those who have a knee-jerk reaction with the form "hate your country" are coming from the right, and generally love the same things about our country that I do. (The lefties are the ones that hate this country, and all it once stood for.) The difference is that many of those who love their country as I do still hold on to the illusion that the United States is still that country. There's just enough ghosts of it left to allow people to pretend it's still real.

    A few of them have been shocked into realizing it just this week – the Kelo decision was akin to seeing your hand go right through the ghost instead of meeting solid subtance. But some still won't believe their own eyes.

  3. Walter E. Wallis on July 4, 2005 at 19:54

    The democrats worked a winning deal – they would demand a dollar for goodies for every dollar for defense. The republicans got suckered in.

  4. Richard Nikoley on July 5, 2005 at 14:45

    Jonathan, I've never thought much of the vacuous "America: Love It of Leave It" slogan, and your sophisticated way of saying the same thing doesn't cause me to regard such slogan any better.

  5. Whymrhymer on July 5, 2005 at 08:59

    It's unfortunate that Harry's comment is exactly right — if a little dismal.

    Attitude is important! This country is in a sailboat that's half-way down the wrong tributary, but there is still a good possibility that that direction can be reversed — and that movement, that wind is already starting to blow.

    I thank the Religious Right for that because people are beginning to look at them and what they're trying to do to this country and are saying "Nope! Not that way!"

  6. Kevin on July 5, 2005 at 13:00

    Jonathan Murray, people are allowed to disagree with government. It's called dissent. It's healthy. And you need to be more accepting of it. Instead of trying to shut people up, try showing how it's wrong with facts (that is, if it's possible).

  7. Kyle Bennett on July 8, 2005 at 15:50

    Carla,

    I noticed that you didn't mention property in your little run-down of the freedoms we still have. Just as well. You do realize that the bill of rights doesn't stop at just one, don't you?

    I am grateful, but to generations further back than the last few. The last few have not just made bad policy, they've completely abandoned the core things that made this country what it was.

    What freedom we do still have, and I'll agree it is considerable in some areas, is no longer a living force, it is a staggering zombie that just hasn't gotten around to falling over yet. Surely you're capable of looking beneath superficial appearances – past the hot dogs and brewskis.

  8. Carla on July 8, 2005 at 11:11

    I love my country now as always. This country has always changed. We have had bad policies, wars, discriminations, inequality, religious nuts and I could go on forever. Also, all our presidents haven't been saints until now either. But yet this is my country. I am still free. Free to express myself like every other idiot is total free to express themselves and call people names, burn flags,go around the world and talk shit about our country. We all have our rights! We have our right to be religous nuts or just have spiritual beliefs we keep to ourselves. We have freedom of the press, so any old journalist can write any piece of shit op-ed he/she pleases. Any moron can write a book or make a movie slaming anyone they choose. We can blog about any policy and "conspiracy theory" we want. We can call anything fact that we want and we can call anything on anyone a liar that we choose. We have a free society where we can choose our own desininy. We can become whatever we want.
    So, you so ahead and write your sob stories all you who thing that suddenly America is this awful place. But I bet you enjoyed your steaks, hotdogs and baked beans, potato salad and hanging out with friends and family, thowing back a few brewskys maybe huh? Did you sit in the house and sulk for the four of July? This kind of "fad" comes from the most ungrateful generation we have ever seen so far.

  9. Kyle Bennett on July 8, 2005 at 20:56

    Yes, Carla, you be thankful for the priveleges you're allowed in this great country of ours. I'll keep hoping for a day when we have rights again, not priveleges.

    You be thankful that now blacks and women have the same easily revokable priveledges that we white males have. I'll look forward to everyone having the same rights that we white males once had.

    You keep looking back at the days when we had actual rights and pretend that the fact that they were improperly withheld from some people means that they never really counted for anything. I'll remember those days when we at least had the principle of rights to inform the debate.

    You rest comfortably in the home that only belongs to you so long as no-one more powerful and well-connected wants it. I'll keep my focus on the principle that no one should be more powerful with respect to your home than you are.

    You celebrate the fact that women can vote. I'll keep complaining about the fact that every voter's only choice is between somebody who wants to steal from them and somebody who wants to steal for them.

    From my point of view, you're the radical.

  10. Carla on July 8, 2005 at 19:34

    Yes, those were the days when black folk and women were property. Freedom was alive then boy!!!! As for property, is that all you have to bitch about? The government has always had the right to property under certain circumstances, so now they went a tad bit farther with it. So we cancel Independence day over it? We should celebrate that women can vote now. Blacks can own their own property, go to college and be master of their own home. We have plenty to be thankful for. You are just looking for something to conplain about so you could write a really "radical" entry for the holiday. Now admit it.

  11. Richard Nikoley on July 9, 2005 at 04:15

    Impressive reply, Kyle.

    Why is it that people believe that the only way to resolve past injustices that denied certain people their natural rights is to take away everyone else's in essentially the same vein?

    Why not simply acknowledge the freedom of all?

    Why, rather than just 'freeing the slaves,' do we seek to enslave all in the name of justice?

    It seems as though justifiable hatred for some of the activities of our past leads to unjustifiable hatred and rejection of all of our history, especially the good.

  12. Richard Nikoley on July 9, 2005 at 09:53

    Carla:

    Non-sequitur. There is a difference between the cancer eating away at natural freedoms and the existance of opportunity to live a happy life in spite of it all.

    I've accomplished and lot and coninue to do so (great family, founder of a 30-employee company, houses, toys, vacations, investments, lots of free time, etc.). I will continue to create and produce and strive to be free to do so. But I'm also not going to sit around and pretend against all facts to the complete contrary that all is just fine. Moreover, I have an absolute right to every single freedom that is denied me on a daily basis. That's wrong. If you don't care, then it's your problem. Your submission to it all does not compromise _my_ rights (that are being denied) in the slightest.

    There are many great things about the time in which we live, but global politics and the State in general is not one of them. Politics and the state work against every single individualist on the planet.

    You claim it isn't so, which leads me to suspect that you're either ignorant of it, you've done nothing really great with your life that you risk losing, or you've no plans to do anything really great, and what the state alows you is sufficient. Well it isn't sufficient for me–not by a long shot.

    I wonder what sort of people fought off England and established America. Folks like me, or folks like you?

  13. Carla on July 9, 2005 at 06:09

    Go ahead and cry on each others shoulder. If you want to show the glass half empty, please do. Thats your right. I know, however, that I clearly made my point. Your negative spin on things in this point in time is all part of a process of creating the setting of a failed Government. Just spit it out instead of acting like this is the darkest point in history.

  14. Kyle Bennett on July 10, 2005 at 11:52

    Carla,

    Before you pigeonhole me (I can't speak for Richard), I favor killing all the terrorists and all those who support them as quickly and efficiently as possible, in their homes or caves or wherevere they may be, before they have any chance to come here. That includes an immediate and overwhleming invasion of Iran, Syria, and possibly Saudi, as soon as manpower and equipment capabilities allow. I'd prefer it be done privately, but as long as Bush has the responsibility, that is how he should use it.

    GWB is the best foreign policy President in my lifetime – in the 20th century, actually – with the possible exception of Reagan.

    He's too much of an appeaser on domestic spending, and I'll never forgive him for Mcain-Feingold and for supporting New London in the Kelo decision, but his fighting of the GWOT (Patriot act excepted) and his appointment of Janice Rogers Brown almost make up for it. If he gets private Social security accounts, and two strict constitutionalists in SCOTUS, then he might just deserve a place on Mount Rushmore (we can lose TR in a heartbeat, and Lincoln can go to, to make room for Reagan).

    Don't lump me in with the Bush-bashers or those who hate the ideals of Amnerica. My complaint is that those ideals have been all but abandoned.

  15. Carla on July 10, 2005 at 09:05

    Well it certainly wouldn't have been passivists who practically want to roll out the red carpet for terrorists and nearly expect us to offer up Mark Garagoes (sp?) as a lawyer for them.

  16. Richard Nikoley on July 10, 2005 at 16:31

    Now you're just making things up, Carla. Nowhere have I said or implied what you've indicated.

  17. Carla on July 11, 2005 at 08:04

    The implication here was towards ME. Read your last paragraph about fighting the British off. That following post was my response. Im finished. We can argue all day, and we will still not understand one another and that is sad isn't it?

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