Fun on Friday: Should We Just Cancel Independence Day?
Independence Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love the food, the fireworks and the parades. And the message of independence has always resonated with me – ever since I was a little kid.
Unfortunately, Fourth of July festivities have been canceled in most cities and counties – by governments. Which is painfully ironic.
Should we just go ahead and cancel the whole thing?
Last year around this time, Peter Schiff did a podcast and argued that they should probably change the name of the holiday to “Dependence Day.” He’s not wrong. That seems to be the American way in 2020. Peter said, “I’m sad that we no longer have the nation our founders created for us, that we have lost all that it means to be an American.”
He’s right. And not just in the sense that a lot of Americans no longer believe the government was simply meant to protect unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but that it’s there to give them stuff. There’s that. But Americans have also lost the fundamental Spirit of 1776 – that people have the right to “alter or abolish” their form of government and establish a new one “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends.”
The crazy truth is Independence Day is a secession holiday.
Secession became a dirty word thanks to the Civil War and its association with slavery, but the right to alter or abolish a government and form a new one is the foundation of American political thought. It is rooted in the idea that the people are sovereign and not the government.
In the British system, the government was supreme. It made its own rules and the people were expected to submit. The American colonists said, “Wait a minute! Government wasn’t meant to lord over us; it was meant to serve us and work toward very limited ends.” This is why the United States has a written Constitution that starts with the words “we the people.” It sets the rules and limits for government. The government isn’t in charge of us. We’re in charge of the government.
Or that’s how it’s supposed to work.
These days…well, look around and you decide.
Most Americans have a general familiarity with the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, but many have never taken the time to read the entire document. Thomas Jefferson used most of his ink listing grievances against the British crown. Once Jefferson established the right of the American colonies to secede from Britain and form new governments, he endeavored to justify such a move.
I find the list of grievances enlightening when placed in a modern context. Reading through the Declaration, I get the distinct impression it might be time for another Revolution (although I would prefer this one be without guns). Here are just a few of the American grievances. Just replace “he” (the King of Great Britain) with Washington D.C. and you’ll get the idea.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: (UN and international law)
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: (Federal agents of every variety)
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: (Think like a state)
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. (Again, think like a state)
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury: (administrative law)
Just some food for thought as you watch your fireworks this weekend – if you’re allowed.
Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.