Independence Day has become a day for thoughtless merriment and undeserved self-congratulations. It should be neither as the Republic dies. The Constitution becomes every day less relevant, as our respect for it fades and our ruling elites learn they can disregard it. We have thrown away the political machinery that safeguarded our liberty in exchange for illusory safety from small foes, trusting instead to leaders who despise our weakness and gullibility.
Instead of celebration, let’s use this holiday as a time for reflection — to see what we have become and consider what we wish to be. To decide if at this late day we will pay the probably heavy price to retake control of America.
“All things are ready, if our minds be so”
— Henry V, before Agincourt on 25 October 1415
Most of the famous inspirational speeches of the past served to rouse people during wars. In an age when 4th Generational War is dominate — an age of nuclear weapons and security services whose power and wealth would make the Stasi envious — those kinds of conventional wars now live only in memory and fiction (and the yearings of officers and mil-bloggers). The 4GWs of our time against foes domestic and foreign are war only in essence. War — like marriage, childhood, and the very fabric of our lives — has changed in ways unimaginable to people at the Founding. Yet some thing remains constant: the need to struggle for freedom, to commit everything in its pursuit, and to strive for what looks unattainable.
We can still learn from these great speeches of our past, find inspiration in them, and by doing so perhaps make this 4th of July a meaningful day in America.
Henry V speaks to his troops before the Battle of Agincourt on 25 October 1415
Patrick Henry speaks to the Virginia House of Burgesses on 23 March 1775
FDR speaks to America on 4 March 1933
Winston Churchill addresses Parliament on 13 May 1940
Winston Churchill addresses Parliament on 6 June 1940
Morpheus speaks to Zion, at some unknown date in a fictional future
For More Information
Other posts on Independence Day:
- Forecast: Death of the American Constitution, 4 July 2006
- A report card for the Republic: are we still capable of self-government?, 4 July 2008
- What we should Americans do on the 4th of July?, 4 July 2010
Advice from the past:
- A wonderful and important speech about liberty, 23 July 2009
- Another note from our past, helping us see our future, 16 September 2009 — by Daniel Ellsberg
- A great philosopher and statesman comments on the Bush-Obama tweaks to the Constitution, 10 October 2010 — by Edmond Burke
- A top businessman and banker explains our political and economic challenges, 30 April 2011
- A warning from the past. Might the American Empire drag down America?, 4 August 2011
- George Orwell sends us a note, giving some perspective on our situation, 22 January 2012
- Thomas Jefferson saw our present peril. We should heed his warning., 21 April 2012
- Rome speaks to us. Their example can inspire us to avoid their fate., 22 April 2012
- We’re drifting towards tyranny, again. Jefferson describes our first brush with tyranny., 28 April 2012
- Are we following in the footsteps of Athens? Let’s leave the path before we come to the same end., 3 May 2012
- From the archives: sobering words from a great man about the road ahead, 1 January 2013