How we feel about Independence Day
The owner’s manuals for human prosperity
No other system or experiment in human history has raised so many out of poverty and sustained it for so long. No other system has produced such innovation, innovations that have so dramatically and positively affected the lives of so many.
There are 330 million Americans, the vast majority, when compared to the rest of the world live in relative prosperity, in relative peace, and with relative freedom. The majority of the other places on earth that share similar blessings do so in no small part because their constitutions and governing concepts are modeled so closely after ours; some like Japan have constitutions written by Americans, based on the American experiment. The concepts of negative rights, rights of the individual, the idea that a country’s laws are written around what the government cannot do to its people, not the other way around were innovations of the American experiment.
We are 5% of the world’s population yet we have invented so much of what makes the world livable: antibiotics , vaccines, the Internet, the personal computer, air travel , the telephone , television, the light bulb, motion pictures , the ability to record sound , the ability to harness electricity, to transmit it and use it , the refrigerator, the elevator, the thermostat, transistors, photocopies, vacuums, airbags, assembly lines, air conditioning, organ transplants. It is not an accident; there are reasons; these things are not a coincidence, these things are not “in spite ofs”.
Many of these reasons are directly traceable to 242 years ago with the drafting, signing, and distribution of the declaration, 11 years later with the drafting of the Constitution and four years after that with the bill of rights. Free markets, property rights, patent law, all contained within that set of documents, the owner’s manuals for human prosperity.
We are not three wolves and a sheep
Remember on a day like today that we are not a democracy, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson a democracy is simply the tyranny of the majority. Three wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner is a democracy. We are not, we are more than that. Better than that.
We are a constitutional republic where the minority’s rights are protected from the whims of the 51%.
When you’re frustrated by slowness in change and slowness in government, remember that that is by design.
Frustration and stability
When you are afraid of the speed at which things change, remember the stability of our system, and honor it.
When you think politics have never been so vile, so divisive, read about the election of 1860.
When you fear that the country will not survive social unrest, read about the domestic bombings in the 1970’s
Specifically, clearly and in a calculated manner, slowness and difficulty were built into our system to prevent rapid, changes to suit the whims of a particular age. The constitution can be changed, but it is hard, as intended. Change is difficult, it is supposed to be.
We believe the structure within which this country operates is the reason for its success.
Originally posted in 2014, updated annually.