Friday, July 02, 2004
Don't forget the reason for the season
The Fourth of July
is my favorite holiday. Smack dab in the middle of summer, you play, grill, and then watch colorful explosions. Pretty cool.
It's also a time to celebrate The Declaration of Independence
, this country's most radical
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 of 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.... 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.
Seriously, read Neil Jumonville's essay
which describes how on Independence Day we mistakenly revere the Constitution and its conservative authors, instead of reflecting on our country's more revolutionary ideals, seen in the works of Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine.
Why don't you do something revolutionary this year?
Update: Uh, apparently Time
hasn't overlooked the Jeffersonian spirit. That's good. But you should still read the essay above, if for no other reason than great sentences like these:
"Our reverence for our constitutional scriptures reveals a national ancestor worship that is practically Oriental in its intensity."
Everyone remembers the "These are the times that try men's souls" quote by Paine, but few remember what comes after:
"'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country....Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered (emphasis mine)....They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world."
Thomas Paine is not just a philosopher for the Revolutionary Era, but for the post 911 world as well.
Very interesting, perhaps I will do something revolutionary... or perhaps I'll drink myself into oblivion. Either or.
Thanks for stopping by my blog, I appreciate your comment. I hope you'll visit again soon, as I will yours.
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