Our Independence Day

  • July 2, 2023

The Farce of July is almost here again. That is its proper name – because it is farcical to “celebrate” what has been lost – and pathetic to pretend it hasn’t been lost. Even to the extent, in most states, of being allowed to celebrate what has been lost – with fireworks that have been banned.

The banning of fireworks – real ones, not the gay ones that spew forth a showy but meaningless show of sparks as opposed to the ones that explode and fly (and sometimes, both) – being a kind of leitmotif of our lack of independence.

What are we still permitted to do?

Without prior permission, that is?

And without being told it must be done this way and not that way?

The answer, of course is one we already know. It is – hardly anything. Even to the extent of having to beg permission – the evasive term used is “obtain a permit” – to build something on land we bought (and pay endless taxes on to prevent it being seized from us). It is interesting to imagine George Washington rising from his tomb at Mount Vernon and his reaction at being told he had better get a permit before he adds a new outbuilding. At being told he needs license to ride his horse – which must be registered – and that he had better “buckle up” for “safety.”

It might have caused him to declare his independence.

And so should we.

The time has come for an intellectual and spiritual insurrection. All governments – including the most merciless ones – founder when the people they rule over refuse to be ruled over. This does not require organization – much less an army. Nor the aid of foreign powers (meaning, foreign governments that have the same interests as all governments). It does not require standing in the streets – much less in front of tanks.

It merely requires standing up – for oneself.

But to do that, one must first get off one’s knees – intellectually and spiritually – by refusing to accept the idea that anyone else has the slightest right to rule over you. Rejecting that ugly idea requires deconstructing the uglier ideas that there is something roaming around out there called “society” and you owe it something. That there is such a thing as the “public good.” That the “cost of civilization” is barbarism made legal – and its victims characterized as criminals for defending themselves against it.

There is no “we” – except in the rhetorical sense. There is only I – and you – and others like us but also different than us. Each of us as entitled to our I as all the others; none of us having the slightest moral right to take anything away from that by force.

The states of the Southern Confederacy made a gallant attempt to gain their independence from what was then a young Leviathan just beginning to bare its fangs. Everything the Southern Confederacy objected to and cited as reason for the separation was fundamentally the same as the roster of wrongs cited by Jefferson in the Declaration put forward by the colonies to justify to the world the reasons for that separation. These reasons apply far more so to the Leviathan that crushed the attempt by the Southern Confederacy to depart from a “union” that they would assuredly have never agreed to join had it been made plain it was to be one from which the parties to it could never leave, even for the exact same reasons adduced in the Declaration – only far more so.

The Lost Cause is not, however, lost.

We each have it in our power to declare our independence – any time we decide to. It is the independence – of mind as well as heart – that the Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote about while he was in a cage. They had his person, certainly. And of course they had all his possessions. But they did not possess him. His mind. His will. His heart. His soul. Whatever word you wish to call it by, it is all the same essential thing. The one thing that no government can take without your allowing it.

This is the true form of independence, upon which the lesser expressions of it depend. America was once independent because Americans were independent. It did not take a revolution to cause them to be so. It was because they were already so that the revolution took place – and was successful.

The same could happen again – if enough of us declare our independence, again.

Perhaps this Fourth of July. So that – in the future – it will once again be a day worth celebrating.

. . .

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