Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Still celebrating the Fourth

It's still July 4 in the US, so it's still appropriate to link to further July 4th thoughts to complement those from yesterday. ;^)

So here's three thoughtful pieces. Lindsay Perigo resolves on this day to reconvert to socialism; Ed Hudgins makes clear what it is to be independent; and James Kilbourne calls Jefferson's ringing Declaration of Independence "America's Anthem" and also "freedom's anthem heard around the world":
Whenever you hear news of people fighting for democracy, pause and give thanks for the Declaration of Independence. I am thankful every day that by blind luck I was born in this country. I want the whole world to have the comforts and the opportunities that have so enriched my life. When they tear down a wall in Berlin, when an oppressed group is granted a right in Latin America, when a business is allowed to exist in China, a protest is allowed in a former Soviet satellite, a woman attends a school in Afghanistan or a purple forefinger is raised in Iraq, I think to myself, “the world may not know all the lyrics, but they are definitely singing our song.”
And he's right. America was the nation of the Enlightenment, and her Declaration crystallised the political achievement of the Enlightenment: the development of the concept of rights. With the exceptions of God's creation of rights and their self-evidence, the words could not be bettered today (although some of us have tried):

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...

A wonderful, wonderful anthem to freedom that rings down through the years. If only the real meaning of those words could be heard and undeerstood.

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