Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Meaning and Significance of Independence Day

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I participated in the July 6, 2016 “Libertarian Angle,” webinar sponsored by the Future of Freedom Foundation, with the Foundation’s president, Jacob G. Hornberger, on the topic: “Independence Day.”

This week’s discussion focused on the 240th anniversary of the signing of the American Declaration of Independence. Grills were fired up all around the United States, burgers and hot dogs were cooked to perfection, families and friends gathered together to enjoy a mid-summer holiday, and fireworks lit up the evening night to the delight of tens of millions of children and adults.

But too many of our fellow Americans probably failed to reflect on the meaning and significance of this day in the country’s history. Here was the first politically transformative declaration of the principle and ideal of individual rights to life, liberty, and property, for which government, if it was to exist, was to be the protector and not the plunderer; a limited servant of human freedom and not an unrestrained political master over men.

The founding fathers who signed that declaration made this clear in their enumeration of the grievances against the British Crown that had led them to make this momentous decision to break away from the British Empire – to “Amerexit” – and proclaim liberty to all in a world of kings, princes and tyrants of many types.

The British government had violated civil liberties, plundered the colonists’ properties, taxed them for purposes for which they had not given their consent, imposed bureaucratic regulations and controls over their economic and commercial affairs, and conscripted them for wars against their will.

Too few of our fellow Americans think about what this Independence Day should be remembered and cherish for. It was the day when enlightened men 240 years ago declared the end to tyranny and collectivism, and hailed a new ideal for the human race: the rights of each and every individual human being to their own life and liberty in a social setting of peaceful association and mutually beneficial trade.

We need to rekindle that spirit and understanding at a time when the dark forces of collectivists and political paternalists are redoubling their attempt to return mankind to the chains of compulsion and command.

The webinar runs for about 30 minutes.



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