Friday, July 04, 2008

Independence Day

My favorite Founding Father has long been Thomas Jefferson, and a big reason for that is because he wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important political documents in history. The Declaration is special not because it announces any radically new philosophy or idea, but because it seeks to be the practical, common sense culmination of centuries of Western thought, from Athenian democracy to the Enlightenment - the end of history, so to speak.

As most commentators have noted, the men who signed it were signing their death warrants should the revolution fail. These were statesmen quite unlike the politicians of today - willing to sacrifice their own property and families rather than continue to be under the thumb of a monarch that was an ocean away. Doubtless each had their own self-serving reasons for wanting the overthrow of the English crown (they were still human beings, after all), but they did not waver, did not flip-flop, did not try to explain away their commitment to the cause on subsequent questioning.

It's part of the American psyche to take these kinds of defiant stands - from the Alamo to Mogadishu, we honor those who go for broke, who are in it till the bitter end.

Anyway, stay safe and have a great Fourth everyone. Here's a little red-blooded patriotism, courtesy of Lee Greenwood and the U.S. military:

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