Monday, July 04, 2005

We hold these truths to be self-evident...

The United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Great in at least three senses:

1. The most powerful militarily
2. The most powerful economically
3. The most admired and emulated

These are wonderful achievements.

But it is number three that really matters.

Daily, we are bombarded by various and sundry accounts of the world's disenchantment and growing estrangement from the U.S.A. We are told that we are squandering the goodwill of fellow nations. This is often disconcerting and occasionally discouraging.

But then I remember:

When people around the world decide that they can no longer endure the poverty and/or oppression to which they are subject at home; when they consider places to go where they can enjoy real liberty and a chance for prosperity...what country is almost always #1 on the list? (Hint: It's not France)

This is the truest test of a country's "standing" in the world.

Ours is the greatest country not because of what we do, but because of what we believe.

We still hold fast to the principles that the founders enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

We don’t believe that we are perfect, but that our principles are.

We fail and make mistakes. Injustices occur and problems endure. We fall down again and again. We ALWAYS come up short - but we don't give up. We struggle on to improve all the time. We continually examine our principles and finding them solid and noble - strive to uphold them better than our predecessors did.

We haven’t yet given up on human nature. Many people and nations throughout the world have adopted an attitude toward civil governance, the primary principle of which is to avoid the basest human behaviors rather than inspire each other to the highest of human aspirations.

They say that people cannot be trusted to act wisely in their own self-interests or help their neighbors. Therefore, they ought not be permitted to do as they wish, but must be made to help themselves and do what is best "for all concerned”.

But, who decides what is best? How will they be made to help themselves and others?

Recent history is replete with examples that clearly demonstrate that this “help” cannot be effected without setting up a tiered society in which those who make the rules are rarely themselves accountable to them.

Further, we are told that this is “progressive” and somehow superior to the idea that “…all men are created equal…”. We are lectured to that for the right of “The People” to be upheld, the rights of - people - must be limited.

In no possible sense of the term, can this idea be called "progressive". This is a profoundly pessimistic and cynical view of humanity and its history.

What makes us Americans…what makes ours the greatest nation ever…is that we reject this idea.

Today, July 4th, we ought to look around us to see - not whether - but where we have failed to live up to our principles. Then, it is incumbent upon us as individual citizens to see that necessary corrections are made.

It is always helpful to remember that we retain the ability to do this solely because,

“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ours is the greatest country not because of what we do, but because of what we believe.

America does not have a monopoly on those ideas you hold dear. Many think it does, but they are wrong. Meanwhile in the name of such values, your country is reversing itself into something which you revile.

1:59 PM  

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