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Independence Day 2011


Think of the past three days. What you did, where you did, and with whom it was done. In the current world, is there a nation where those three days of activity and experience would have been better?

Unlikely. For any person with some intelligence and some motivation, the current United States is the regime most friendly to flowering the human potential. And that’s what we’re supposed to be waving flags about today. U.S.A.! U.S.A! U.S.A.!

Some faction will use their liberty to dwell on the persistent injustices that come when fallen man is given his measure of freedom. The cheerleaders will counter with all the instances where the United States (or the States themselves) have corrected injustice. Or at least the institutional expression thereof.

In the top tier there, slavery is ended. And black culture is probably the single largest influence on the broad American culture. Some peoples have come a long way.

I have no fireworks above my flag. I solemnly acknowledge the point I began with. And I have no need to shout against patriotic chantings. But I am stuck on the unseen. The opportunity cost of a nation that has lost its founding spirit. For, along with the settling of major injustices, we have become a land of minor grievances.

Every slight or risk has earned—or is working toward—some petty protection. Through obnoxiousness and into law, the United States as a political entity is a vast bookkeeping operation aimed at an impossible balance.

The odd, the curious, the strange, and the ill-fitting once were able to be a part of America. The mainstream did not flow over everyone. And everyone was O.K. with that. Now every gathering of freaks is a community that must be respected (GLBT, for example). Or a threat that must be monitored and perhaps destroyed (like the Branch Davidians).

The more comprehensive we make the law, the less energy we have to make better lives. There is no better place than America. But we’ve handicapped our dream. We have the fastest wheelchairs in the swimming pool.

I want my country back.