Monday, 4 July 2005

July 4th: Celebrating revolution

On July 4th, Mark Steyn reminds us that criticisms of the US for being 'unilateralist' are ever so slightly amusing when you realise that a position of 'unilateralism' is simply a euphemism for one of 'independence,' the concept for which the July 4 celebration is putatively held.

Why not abolish the holiday altogether, wonders Tibor Machan. A nation born in liberty now subjects itself to the very tyrannies and usurpations against which it once revolted, he says, so what is there to celebrate.
The Fourth of July ... is supposed to celebrate the Declaration of Independence and its revolutionary idea that it’s not governments, states, monarchs, kings, tsars, and the like who possess sovereignty. Rather we, individual human beings, are the sovereign ones. That idea was revolutionary then and, let me assure you, it is revolutionary now.
He calls for a recovery of the revolution in order to make the holiday meaningful. A first step might be an understanding of that revolution -- what it brought, and how it happened. What better time to learn (or re-learn) the history than today: constitutional scholar David Mayer has just the posts to help: he reminds us that the Founding Fathers brought about 'A Republic, not a Democracy'; he explains here how they went about doing it. And he reflects here on the 'Meaning of Independence Day.' Wonderful stuff.

[Hat tip to Stephen Hicks for the Mayer links.]
[UPDATE: I notice that on this July 4 No Right Turn is also celebrating the ideas that gave birth to the United States, and like Tibor he decries the present state of American liberty. Oddly enough, his reasons for thinking America needs a 'get well card' are rather different to those of Tibor.]


  1. A good time to mention the Checkpoint Charlie memorial for people killed by the East German Communist regime is being bulldozed on the 4th July (US time):

  2. The Check Charlie memorial that is being bulldozed today is/was a crock. It was in the wrong place, looked budget, was inaccessible, etc. etc. etc. And let's not pretend it was the only wall/wall victims memorial around either. The others, particularly the Eastside Gallery and the Dokumentationszentrum Berliner Mauer are considerably better, in the right places, and authentic. I for one won't miss the Checkpoint Charlie memorial. If they're going to do it, they should do it properly. Incidentally, they've said they *are* going to do it properly, but it's not yet clear how or when.

  3. AL,
    I've been and read that article, and as ever from Medienkritik, it's a bilious pile of bollocks. For starters, the suggestion that there's a deliberate link between demolishing the memorial today and it being Independence Day is just tripe. Secondly, after complaints about the juncture between the 4th of July and the original demolition date, they've moved it back by 24 hours, to make it on the 5th July. But that, the new argument goes, is still the 4th of July in the US. But, using that logic, the 4th of July, the original proposed demolition date, would have been the 3rd of July in the US and therefore presumably no problem. They can't have their cake and eat it too. Thirdly, the suggestion in that article in the trackbacks below it that this is an attempt to remove Berlin's Communist history from the public eye is just utter nonsense. If that were the case, then the memorials I mentioned above wouldn't exist, or there would be similar machinations in place to have them removed, and nor would the Topography of Terror museum, or the documentation centre about the Staatsicherheitsdienst (Stasi) etc. etc. etc. Berlin is fair full of stark reminders about its communist past. I've never been *anywhere* which confronts its own sordid history as readily as this city.

    David's Medienkritik is talking out a hole in its arse on this issue.

  4. He has more details up in his latest post:

    Why is it being destroyed at 4am, local time? Is that standard practice for construction projects in Berlin?

  5. Umm, traffic? It's right in the middle of a very busy road in a very busy city. Any sensible questions AL?


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.