This year, finally, I’ve decided that the small face of liberty up there on this blog’s masthead really has to go.
July 4, 2013, American Independence Day, seems the appropriate day in which to begin the process—because the America that Lady Liberty once represented is now dead, and the symbol that more properly represents her now is no longer an image of liberty. It is their Eagle of State.
There was a time when America’s Lady Liberty, a gift from France in the liberty-loving nineteenth century, represented a world in which the ideal of liberty was expounded, was expanding, and was taking over the world. Her creator, sculptor Frederic Bartholdi called her "Liberty Enlightening the World." That is the ideal that masthead of liberty is supposed to represent, and once did.
Nowhere represented that ideal more than America itself in her founding decades.
America was born in liberty. In resisting British tyranny, the American Founding Fathers harked back to European thinkers who had first and most thoroughly given voice to liberty—to Blackstone, to Montesquieu, to John Locke.
America was unique. Where other countries had been founded on accidents of geography or tribal history, America was the first country in all history to be founded on an idea: that all men are created equal and are endowed with rights; that among these rights are those to life, liberty and the pursuit of property and happiness; that the proper job of government is not to usurp these rights, but to protect them; that these truths are held to be, or should be, self-evident.
That was the country, in all its many imperfections, to which the Founding Fathers gave birth, and the Fourth of July celebration once commemorated. The celebration wasn’t just nationalistic jingoism—July 4 wasn’t just a day to celebrate American independence, but our own as well.
That is the spirit the masthead above is intended to represent.
That is not what the United Police States stands for today.
In the former Land of the Free, tyranny has been beating back liberty for nearly a century. This year, 2013, it is finally obvious tyranny has won. Instead of Lady Liberty peeking over the parapet ready to conquer—like the new sunrise of freedom the masthead’s figure is intended to represent—she is now the setting sun of an ideal that flamed, and burned, and has been slowly snuffed out.
The idea of America lives on. But America as the representation of that ideal is now dead.
Happy July 4th.
- “The stupidity and wilful ignorance of our present era cannot dull the force and wisdom of Jefferson's ideas,” says Dr Michael Hurd. “Nothing ever will. ”Happy 4th of July: In celebration of what might have been, and what one day will be again.”
All of the following quotes are those of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence….
- "If it is ever proper for men to kneel, we should kneel when we read the Declaration of Independence... probably the greatest document in human history, both philosophically and literarily.”– Ayn Rand.