Anthony Gregory has a great post up on TLS today, Should We Celebrate the American Revolution?, which exposes many myths about the “libertarian” nature of Independence Day and the Revolutionary War. (See also Jeff Tucker and Doug French’s column today, The Birth of Sedition.) I previously expressed skepticism of Constitution Day (Black Armbands for “Constitution Day”). Likewise, it’s problematic “Independence Day” is upheld as some sort of libertarian event.
Doing some random wikipedia searching about the Statue of “Liberty,” I came across a great quote, from 1886, by an African American newspaper, scoffing at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty (official name: Liberty Enlightening the World) and at the idea that America was a some free country and beacon of liberty. These thoughts express basically how I feel about the 4th of July, celebrations of the Constitution, American “independence,” and America’s “birthday” (note: by calling July 4–the date the US government may be said to have emerged–the country’s birthday, a subtle equation is made between country and state; which is why today yahoos say you are “unpatriotic” or “you hate your country” if you don’t “respect the flag” or don’t send your kids off to the military meat grinder to fight in its savage wars, etc.):
Shortly after the dedication, the Cleveland Gazette, an African American newspaper, suggested that the statue’s torch not be lit until the United States became a free nation “in reality”:
“Liberty enlightening the world,” indeed! The expression makes us sick. This government is a howling farce. It can not or rather does not protect its citizens within its own borders. Shove the Bartholdi statue, torch and all, into the ocean until the “liberty” of this country is such as to make it possible for an inoffensive and industrious colored man to earn a respectable living for himself and family, without being ku-kluxed, perhaps murdered, his daughter and wife outraged, and his property destroyed. The idea of the “liberty” of this country “enlightening the world,” or even Patagonia, is ridiculous in the extreme.
They had a good point. I’m so sick of libertarians upholding America or its Founding slaveholding “Fathers” or the Declaration or the abominable Constitution (the word is rightly used as a swear word in L. Neil Smith’s The Probability Broach or Gallatin Divergence, as I recall, as in “Constitution! I just hit my thumb with a hammer!”). Today will see countless American yahoos, the products of government schools, cheering on our “freedom” by singing Lee Greenwood songs and crying when they put their hands over their hearts to worship Old Glory, in violation of the First Commandment.
All these state-sanctioned state-worshiping “patriotic” holidays only serve to equate country with state and to glorify the state and its statism1 and wars. I’ll watch fireworks with my kid tonight, but tell him to enjoy the lights and chemical reactions, not what the state wants it to signify.
- Gregory, Should We Celebrate the American Revolution?
- Tucker & French, The Birth of Sedition
- Happy We-Should-Restore-The-Monarchy-And-Rejoin-Britain Day!;
- Revising the American Revolution;
- The HUGE Flag;
- The Murdering, Thieving, Enslaving, Unlibertarian Continental Army;
- The Declaration and Conscription;
- ‘Untold Truths About the American Revolution’;
- Re ‘Untold Truths About the American Revolution’
- When Did the Trouble Start?.
- Re: War and Civil Liberties Under Obama
- Black Armbands for “Constitution Day”
- The Bad Bill of Rights
- Rockwell on Hoppe on the Constitution as Expansion of Government Power
- The Nature of the State and Why Libertarians Hate It;
- Was the American Revolution Really about Taxes?;
- Goodbye 1776, 1789, Tom;
- Bill Marina (R.I.P.) on American Imperialism from the Beginning
- Re: Happy Bill of Rights Day — The Problem with the Fourteenth Amendment;
- Jeff Hummel’s “The Constitution as a Counter-Revolution”.