Campfire Blog

America Celebrates Independence—Not Government

July Fourth is the anniversary of rebellion against a repressive, aloof, overtaxing government

My friend Tim Carney makes a great point about Independence Day:  America celebrates the day we defied our government in 1776—not the day we created our own government in 1789.

“It is a peculiar thing that we celebrate our country on the day we broke away from England, especially because at that time we were hardly a nation, and barely united colonies.

“This is important. America’s birth was a negative act-a breaking of bonds-rather than a positive act-the passage Articles of Confederation or the approval of the Constitution. This detail distinguishes us from most of the world, and plays a central role in current U.S.-Europe tensions.”

This country was created for freedom, so that the people, dependent on each other in their own ways, would not be dependent on—and therefore subject to—the government. The government is not America. America is something larger. If you had to put it in words, you could call it the pursuit of happiness—and the government exists to solely to preserve that free pursuit.

And it is a pursuit. Happiness can never be guaranteed in this world, and there will always be ups and downs. But what can be guaranteed—and what was guaranteed by the Constitution—is that the American government exists to ensure that the pursuit can actually happen.

Read Carney’s piece at Doublethink, the online journal of America’s Future Foundation (1 page).


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