Happy Fourth of July
To all those Brits in 18th century America and to all those Americans born in America or coming from other countries who after July 4th 1776 created a country where freedom of speech, freedom of religion, just laws, limited, constitutional government, and equality of opportunity (not equality of outcome) are defended.
And make no mistake, these principles need defending, over and over again. Greedy, small-minded people and ideological fanatics are always trying to destroy them.
Signing and affirming the Declaration of Independence. Detail of John Trumbull's painting.
Fair play and freedom came straight from Britain to America. When an exceedingly foolish British king and parliament tried to deprive Brits in America of their rights, they fought, in their words, for "the bright inheritance of English freedom".
This history is described in our book, Share the Inheritance (see sidebar).
Instapundit reminded us that US President Calvin Coolidge said this about the Declaration of Independence:
About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.
Some people are negative about America and Americans. We are positive, and we note that many millions of people have voted with their feet for Anglo-American ideals by moving to Britain and America.
Happy Fourth, dear America!
Plus, a word from American David French:
I think we honor courage by living honorably — faithful to our families and our communities. That may mean taking our own turn on the line of battle, but most Americans – thankfully — will never have to face the hell of combat. So what else can we do? If a person dies to give you a gift, how do you treat that gift?
You treat it with reverence, with the greatest respect. Did men die so that we could be thoughtless libertines, squandering our heritage and our children’s future on our desires, our demands? Did they fight for this “new birth of freedom” so that we could suck the marrow out of the bones of the nation for our own fulfillment? While men fight and die for many reasons, the animating purpose of our founding conflicts — and the great wars we waged thereafter — was to create and maintain a culture that preserved for this and succeeding generations those unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursit of happiness.