At first blush, my answer is a resounding “no.” Everywhere I look, I see reasons to believe the radical experiment in freedom that is this great nation of ours has failed.
As I read and re-read the Declaration of Independence over at Defending People and The Defense Rests, I can’t help but think the average citizen wouldn’t find the King of Great Britain’s repeated injuries and usurpations all that bad. Did they make us safer?
On this Independence Day, I intend to celebrate my country. However, I will celebrate with trepidation. I will wonder how much longer we have as a nation before we become indistinguishable from every other country in the world. I will continue to worry that the average citizen loves his country the way most people love the sports franchise geographically closest to them. They are proud that it is near and familiar. It is in no meaningful way different from any other, but it is theirs.
I am proud of this great country’s history and traditions, but I become more skeptical about its government with each passing day. Freedom, our foundation, is an afterthought.
Today, we will eat hot dogs (which vendors cannot wrap in bacon), watch a government fireworks display (which we cannot put on ourselves), smoke a cigar (which we cannot do in more places each day), and lift a glass to our heritage (which we cannot do before driving, even if we are not impaired). We will not think about the sweeping ideas of freedom and human rights that have provided us with 233 years of prosperity. They will be washed away by a multimedia melange of pomp and circumstance designed to make us think the government is what makes us great.
I sincerely hope that all of you have a happy Fourth of July, but I wish you would keep a few things in mind. As you celebrate, please think about just what you’re celebrating. Think about what makes us great. Think about what makes us different. Is it freedom, or is it government?