Thursday, July 4, 2013
Thoughts on Independence Day
(See Below) Pastor Dekker went ahead with his protest, reportedly drawing up to 1,500 people in attendance. The City of Rehoboth Beach, ironically founded by Methodists as a Christian-oriented resort town, found a way to save face. Since Pastor Dekker's move was officially a protest, they approved his second request.
It is difficult for us to put ourselves in the shoes of those who argued for Independence from Great Britain. For the vast majority of American colonists, they saw their struggle as one for their rights as subjects of the Crown. Even many of those who felt that the ultimate outcome would have to be a separation had no choice but to keep their thoughts to themselves; only sharing their thoughts with the utmost caution lest they became known to other delegates to the Continental Congress. If the intentions of the Independence-minded were no longer a secret, the bulk of the delegates to the Congress would likely have let the New England colonies - particularly Massachusetts, deal with the developing hostilities by themselves.
Conservative sentimentality is effective at clouding an individual's perceptions. Like most of the colonists and their respective delegates, we look about and see a United States that appears on the surface to the the same country that was founded in 1776, organized effectively by 1789, and by the crucible of our Civil War set on a path that would allow us to fully realize Equality. I of course speak of equality as that of a people equally free before the Law and not that type which has been used by the Left to change the meaning of the term.
It is not easy to look deeper, looking at the substance of our nation rather than its accidents (To use Aristotelian terms for matter), and admit that we no longer live in a nation that would be remotely recognizable to our Founders or later leaders such as Lincoln.
Something happened to the American psyche. I would see it as the result of a long process by which we lost our concept of culture, our history, and our destiny. We are the heirs of a long tradition of taking risks in order to ensure that those who follow us will not have to fight, but the outlook now is one of preserving what you can for yourself or your immediate family. We have become like the Romans at the end of the Republic; fearing that, if we buck the trends, we will be financially ruined and unable to claw our way back into a state of reasonable material security.
Our mindset stands in complete contrast to the societies that exemplify the best of Western Culture. The struggle to keep the Poleis of Greece free of submersion into Persian despotism, the expulsion of the Tarquins by the Romans and the latter's stubborn 14-year contest with a foreign army on Italian soil, the Germans under Herman doing what the Gauls could not - unite and destroy three Romans legions, Alfred the Great leading the only free Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex against the Danes, the savage struggle of the Christian Kingdoms of Spain and Portugal as they won back their lands and freed their people from the cruel and rapacious Muslim robber-states, the multiple defenses of Vienna against the Ottomans, the bitterly-fought war fought in salt-marshes that brought Independence from the Spanish Hapsburg to the Netherlands, and the move of British colonists to declare a separation from the nation that had the greatest force-projection of its time are as foreign to many of us as the societies that built the ancient cities of Mesoamaerica.
The issues of the 1760's-70's seem laughable when seen in the light of what we take for granted. Restrictions on settling West of the Appalachians, trade laws that benefited companies that amounted to foreign corporations, and some taxes that were hardly burdensome compared to what we see today -
They don't look like much in the rear-view mirror.
This was long before Wikard v. Filburn, Kelo v. New London, and a host of other decisions of our Supreme Court that was viewed by many early on as a final bastion of our liberties. The State today has taken it upon itself to enslave the masses with welfare and the rest with paying for the ruined lives, force children into lives of functional illiteracy with sight-word programs, order religious bodies to pay for abortions and abortifacients, intrude on our privacy on all sorts of levels, bankrupt the nation and its citizens with immeasurable spending and borrowing, brainwash our children to detest the culture that bred them and to turn them into compliant socialists, involve us in never-ending wars that drain us of men and money and (As the Spartans noted) wind up teaching others how we fight and by extension how to beat us, the frightening portent of claiming that it has the authority to create new styles of marriage with all the logical conclusions that "governmental-derived rights" imply .
It was also before our society opted to encourage making our men into androgynous creatures (And pretending that it is as easy for women to be killers as it is for guys), shaking our fist at God by refusing to admit his very existence, telling young boys to treat girls as playthings and girls to like it that way, to sensationalize the death of an individual from one ethnic group while embarking on a systematic campaign to hide an enormous crime problem in which other ethnic groups are regularly targeted,.........
It is time that we stepped back and took an honest assessment of where we are, where we are going, and what we need to do.
Our nation was started by people who left the homes of their forefathers, not only to have better opportunities, but to build a nation, one that was "...conceived in Liberty". It was founded by people who risked everything to make it better for future generations. Its greatest sin was wiped away only by a painful war.
Today, we may well have to consider another separation to restore that for which so much was sacrificed. We can't keep putting out fires.
We can only change our outlook if we recall the past struggles that made our Independence something that was within reach of the imagination of the Founders. Sacrificing for the future is not easy nor is it always a pleasant thought.