The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, July 04, 2014

July 4th

Over the past few years, it has become quite fashionable among left-wing activists, academics and self-appointed intelligencia to refer to the founding fathers of the United States of America as "rich white guys." The founders are accused of being slave owners, landed gentry, all male, and uniformly Caucasian. These personal characteristics are used to denigrate the work they did, the hard negotiations they endured, the war of independence they fought, and the nation they created.

It's equally fashionable among many on the Left to suggest that the United States is deeply flawed, that we should live in guilt because of the mistakes of the past, that we need to apologize often and fervently for our history. That "reparations" to specific groups are necessary, and that only through such a mechanism can our collective guilt be assuaged.

Not all of us share these views, and many reject the notion that we should feel guilt for things that happened in the distant past. After all, we cannot relive the past or change it in any substantive way. Nearly every people has been wronged, conquered, subjugated, enslaved or otherwise brutalized at some point in history. How far backward should this "guilt" be projected? 100 years? 1000 years? Should the descendants of the mongol hordes feel guilt or pay reparations for the massive wave of destruction and death perpetrated by their ancestors more than 1000 years ago? Should the Egyptians feel guilt or pay reparations for enslaving the Jews more than 2000 years ago? What about the descendents of Romans? We must examine history to learn from it, but we must not use the past as a bludgen to exact political advantage today.

Of late, the United States has been in decline. On both the domestic and international fronts, we have taken serious body blows. Much of this comes from political leadership that actively tries to divide the nation and cannot competently execute the affairs of state. Some of it comes from a wasteful, ineffective, intrusive federal government that exists not to serve its citizens but to perpetuate itself and grow ever larger.

Too few citizens seem to care and many applaud this new normal. 

John Kass comments:
A story about the beginning of the country tells us that a group stopped Benjamin Franklin on the street in Philadelphia. They wanted to know what kind of government the delegates were creating.

"A republic, if you can keep it," Franklin is said to have announced.

Democratic republics require an informed and inquisitive people to survive, a people who are actively involved, a people who question their leaders.

But most of all, they require a people who prize one thing above all else.

It's not barbecue and corn, not beer and fireworks, not Kim Kardashian, not chatter on social media. Not the loving watchfulness of drones or the reach of presidents who fashion themselves kings.

A democratic republic requires something else: citizens who prize their liberty as they celebrate their nation's independence from tyranny.
Happy 4th of July.