Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2014

independence day patriots

It’s Independence Day here in the US, in which we celebrate our break with the British Empire. We’re 238 years old and, despite what some sanctimonious Lefty scolds might think, I think we’ve done pretty darned good. We’re not without our problems or faults, some of them serious, but I continue to believe America is exceptional among the nations of the world and that we are indeed a force for good. If you’re looking for some good Independence Day reading, there’s always the Declaration of Independence itself. Think of it as a short ideological summation of who and why we are.

Then there’s the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which function as a citizen’s “owner’s manual.” And yes, to those of you in other countries raising an eyebrow about now, we do tend to place those documents on a pedestal. You have to admit, however, they’ve worked well for over two centuries. How many republics and constitutions has France had in that time?

Gosh, it’s become quiet…. Winking

By the way, at The Federalist, John Daniel Davidson asks us to consider how the Declaration’s list of King George’s offenses against the (then English) constitutional order and the rights of the American people might well also apply to President Obama.

A lot’s been written around the Web about today on the meaning of Independence day, so I’ll spare you my musings. Instead, I want to leave you with the thoughts of historian Victor Davis Hanson (1) who, writing in National Review in 2008 (2) at a time of growing national discord, wanted to remind us that things often had been much worse and that, on that 4th of July six years ago, we could use a little perspective:

On this troubled Fourth we still should remember this is not 1776 when
New York was in British hands and Americans in retreat across the
state. It is not 1814 when the British burned Washington and the entire
system of national credit collapsed — or July 4, 1863 when Americans
awoke to news that 8,000 Americans had just been killed at Gettysburg.


We are not in 1932 when unemployment was still over 20 percent of the
work force, and industrial production was less than half of what it had
been just three years earlier, or July, 1942, when tens of thousands of
American were dying in convoys and B-17s, and on islands of the Pacific
in an existential war against Germany, Japan, and Italy.

Thank
God it is not mid-summer 1950, when Seoul was overrun and arriving
American troops were overwhelmed by Communist forces as they rushed in
to save a crumbling South Korea. We are not in 1968 when the country
was torn apart by the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin
Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the riots at the Democratic
convention in Chicago. And we are not even in the waning days of 1979,
a year in which the American embassy was seized in Tehran and hostages
taken, the Soviets were invading Afghanistan, thousands were still
being murdered in Cambodia, Communism was on the march in Central
America, and our president was blaming our near 6-percent unemployment,
8-percent inflation, 15-percent interest rates, and weakening
international profile on our own collective “malaise.”

We
live in the most prosperous and most free years of a wonderful
republic, and can easily rectify our present crises that are largely of
our own making and a result of the stupefying effects of our
unprecedented wealth and leisure. Instead of endless recriminations and
self-pity — of anger that our past was merely good rather than perfect
as we now demand — we need to give thanks this Fourth of July to our
ancestors who created our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and suffered
miseries beyond our comprehension as they bequeathed to us most of the
present wealth, leisure, and freedom we take for granted.

Still holds true, I think.

Happy 4th of July, folks. Enjoy the hot dogs and fireworks.  smiley us flag

RELATED: Also from 2008, a love-letter to America. I mentioned yesterday a point of view that sees the American Revolution as a second English Civil War. It’s an opinion with some merit, I think, given that the Patriots saw themselves as defenders of rights granted under the Bill of Rights of 1689. Continuing that theme at National Review, Daniel Hannan, a British MEP who’s more of a Patriot than many Americans I know these days, writes about the meaning of the forgotten flag of the American Revolution. Also at NR, British emigrant to America Charles Cooke considers the civil war of 1776. Cooke’s articles should be on your must-reading list. On American exceptionalism, Jonah Goldberg looks at how progressives really resent it. Finally, Salena Zito takes us to where independence began.

Footnotes:
(1) aka, my spiritual leader
(2) Sorry, the old link is broken, and National Review can’t be bothered to provide a searchable archive. Bad show, NR, bad show. Update: Found a re-posting. Do read it all.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Proclaimed in Philadelphia, July 4th, 1776

July 4, 2013

history  Trumbull signing declaration independence

It’s a fact often forgotten by many, after 237 years, but the United States is a truly revolutionary nation — one of the few in the world, in fact, because we declared that all Mankind is equal, that government derives its power from the people, alone, and that the people have the right to change that government when they see fit. The band of men who made that declaration in Philadelphia had no idea how their gamble would turn out –some thought hanging at the end of a rope was as likely as winning– but I think it’s safe to say it’s succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and in ways they couldn’t imagine. The revolutionary ideal contained in the Declaration of Independence first compelled the nation to purge itself of the evils of slavery, refounding itself in the process, and then to bring the light of liberty to other peoples around the world, sometimes with great success, sometimes not, but always with a firm belief in the power of liberty and human liberation.

So now we’re going through one of our periodic crises of national confidence. Times are tough: the economy stinks, the world seems to grow more dangerous, and many of those in our government seem to want to turn us from free citizens into dependent children. At times like these –and on this day, especially– I think it’s a good idea to re-read our national “vision statement,” both to remind ourselves of who we are and why we exist,  and to stiffen our spines to tell the new King Georges “NO!!”

Declaration of Independence

(Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776)

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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 to 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776

via Early America

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Is America Becoming Europe?

March 27, 2013

A philosophical question for you from Encounter Books and narrated by, I think, Bill Whittle:

My short answer is “No, and I’d  rather not live in Europe, thanks.” (Even though I live in one of the states closest to “might as well just join the EU and get it over with.”) If it means permanent 10% unemployment, economic stagnation, dependency on a cradle-to-grace welfare state, the high taxes meant to support it, and rule by a political class that thinks the people are to be controlled, not consulted… Well, I’ll pass.

Wait. I’ve  just described the modern (Social) Democratic Party, haven’t I?

Seriously, I’m old enough to remember the stagnation, declinism,  and national bad mood of the 70s, particularly under Jimmy Carter. Those times passed, and I’m sure these will too, but only if we work tirelessly to remind people there is a better way.

Complacency really will make us Europe.

PS: I can almost hear someone saying “Yeah, but we had Reagan, back then.” But few if any in the 70s knew that Reagan would become one of the most successful presidents in our history. Many didn’t take him seriously, calling him a fringe politician, a Goldwater throwback, even a nut and an amiable dunce. It wasn’t until several years into his presidency that we realized how right he was and how much good he was doing. We may or may not have a “Reagan” waiting in the wings, now, unnoticed or underestimated, but my point is that we can’t sit back, waiting for that person to save us. We have to work at it and stand against the spread of statism and dependency and for the promotion of liberty day after day, every day.

/soapbox

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bongino: #Guncontrol is “people control”

March 4, 2013

It’s a shame Dan Bongino lost his race for the US Senate from Maryland last November. As Professor Jacobson says, we could use a lot more like him in office. But, like Elizabeth Emken here in California, Bongino was running a Republican in a deep Blue state, and the odds were too long to overcome… this time.

Anyway, here’s Dan speaking at a “Guns Across America” rally in Maryland from last January; the takeaway line is his comment that gun control is really people control, and that when we use the left’s terms, we give the progressives the advantage in the argument. Point well made, and it’s one I’ll strive to remember:

And did you feel his passion, his conviction, and his willingness to keep fighting? When you live in a Bluer than Blue state (as both he and I do), it’s easy to get discouraged and give up. Time and again we lose elections, we see those in charge doing stupid, harmful things, and many of our friends and neighbors, frankly, look at us as if they’re seeing some sort of alien, all because we take seriously the philosophy behind the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and believe in an America that really is exceptional.

Citizens like Dan Bongino are a tonic against the urge to give up.

PS: Elizabeth Emken is considering a run for the House in 2014 against freshman Democrat Representative Ami Bera in CA-7, near my old stomping grounds in Sacramento. I know little about Bera, but I’m sure Emken would make a positive contribution toward moving this country back in the right direction. If she runs, we’ll be sure to follow the race.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Quote of the Day: fading exceptionalism edition

November 8, 2012

Roger Kimball of PJM (who, like me, has egg all over his face from predicting a big win for Romney) heard from an English friend after the election and shared this excerpt from the email:

You just don’t care about being a Great Power any longer. That’s what this is about. The world should start sucking up to China instead now, as Americans have shown they’ve no appetite for world leadership any longer. You’ve had a century in the sun, and now you’ve decided to become Sweden instead of shouldering the burden. The 47% have won and you’re going to slip into social democracy and in 4 years time no-one — Christie, Rubio, Ryan — will be able to do anything about it.

RIP American Exceptionalism

Perhaps I’ll feel better in a few days/weeks/months, but, right now, I fear this nameless Englishman is all too right.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) SEALs don’t fight so American presidents can bow to kings

August 28, 2012

Another hard-hitting ad by special operations veterans, this time from Special Operations For America (SOFA), headed by former Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke, a Montana state senator.

Did I say “hard hitting?” Make that a gut-punch.

Ben Shapiro at Breitbart spoke with Senator Zinke about why these former special operators have chosen to speak out:

The ad is sure to provoke massive consternation on the left, which has been in a frenzy ever since Special Operations for America launched. The event at which the ad launches, “Defending Our Defenders: A Salute to the United States Military,” will feature a tribute by Congressman Louie Gohmert, former members of SEAL Team Six, Army Rangers, Gold Star parents, and a few surprise guests.

Ryan Zinke, the former Navy SEAL who started the super PAC, spoke exclusively with Breitbart News today. “The ad itself accurately portrays where this President is,” said Zinke. “It accurately portrays his core belief that America should not lead. This president is shaping America to be one of the followers, to relinquish our role as a world leader. I didn’t fight 23 years as a Navy SEAL to watch America bow to anybody.”

(…)

When asked whether it was inappropriate for former SEALs to speak out, as some on the left have alleged, Zinke answered, “If the veterans can’t speak out, who can? I think it’s a duty of every veteran and every citizen to be actively involved in our political process, especially when the president sets out to negotiate away our rights under the Constitution. There have been other veterans — TR, Eisenhower, JFK — they’ve been active in speaking out and shaping the policy and politics of our country. I’m going to stand for what I believe in, and I’m encouraging every veteran and every citizen to do the same. Our country is at a crossroads, and this election is certainly the most important in my lifetime.”

And, as Shapiro notes, for their choice to speak freely as American citizens and veterans, SOFA has been placed on the White House “enemies list.”

Nice way to say “thanks for your service,” isn’t it?

RELATED: An earlier short video from another group of concerned veterans and intelligence operatives, this time on White House leaks.

PS: Romney-Ryan 2012, because they won’t glad-hand our enemies.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) A sign of real Hope and Change?

June 12, 2012

Busy day today, but I wanted to share with you this latest Afterburner, in which Bill Whittle compares the choices made in recent elections in France and Wisconsin, and finds cause for hope in the Land of Cheese:

On a smaller scale Bill could also have taken heart from recent elections in San Diego and San Jose, where voters overwhelmingly approved reforms to public pensions in order to save their cities’ finances. The margins were large enough that I’m certain there were pensioners and near-pensioners who voted for reform, in contrast to the self-deluded voters of France and Greece.

When one thinks about it, this global debt crisis may yet be proof again of American exceptionalism.

We hope.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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