04 July 2007

4th of July Post

A few days ago, I wrote a little soap-box type piece on citizenship, representation and responsibility. As I look back on that piece, I think it’s more than a little didactic and may have given the impression that I think the US is seriously flawed.

That is not the case. I feel that the US is the best country in the world. The levels of freedom, opportunity and liberty available to US citizens (and indeed to anyone in the US) are truly unique in the world. It is a country which at its founding set out its priority of supporting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all men. That these inalienable rights have endured for more than two centuries is a demonstration to their foundational nature. That they have spread beyond the shores of the US over that time is a testament to their universality.

Probably the greatest aspect, in my opinion, about this concurrence of these things is that any person who has the drive and determination to accomplish a goal can probably move towards that goal without much, if any, government interference.

I think that it is a good thing to defend the concepts, the ideas, which are fundamental to the American way of life – and I mean this in a very non-PC way. Just off the top of my head… All men (species, not sex) are created equal. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, we should judge men by the content of their character. All men should be held responsible for their decisions, and at the same time must be free to make their own decisions, good and bad. Liberty should trump equality because total equality does not equate to freedom.

Sometimes these things get lost in the emotional food-fight of the PC realm, where no one can be offended and yet certain kinds of speech (typically labeled “conservative”) are routinely branded xenophobic, racist, hate-filled, etc.

It would make more sense, and engender more progress (as a nation) if we could put these PC restraints behind us and talk openly and honestly about America and what makes it a great country. Because it’s not the government, nor is it overbearing equality, nor timidity at offending sensibilities, nor grandstanding for political gain which makes America great. It is the open, honest discussion of how best to pursue life, liberty and happiness which sets America apart.

And now that I think about it, I’ve ended up back where the last writing on Independence Day ended up…personal responsibility. But perhaps that’s a point that can’t be made enough.

Happy Fourth of July to you. Enjoy and promulgate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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