Bored on the Fourth of July
Well, I'm really not. But a lot of BIG THINKERS must be, because we have nary a post so far talking up THE AMERICAN HOLIDAY. So HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!
Today is the celebration not so much of independence (voted on July 2), but of the argument for it--THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
The Declaration is, of course, the argument for independence given by the united Americans against Britain. And the argument is that the British government--but especially the KING--is tyrannizing over us, systematically and repeatedly violating our rights. But the Declaration is also an agrument for the independence--for the equal freedom by nature--of every human person or creature or individual. Our government(s) will claim SOVEREIGNTY by the consent of individuals who are sovereign by nature.
So today we're celebrating by sharing our allegiance to truths we hold to be self-evident. We are, as G.K. Chesterton wrote, "a nation with the soul of a church." Churches are held together by common belief in particular dogmas. We're held together by common belief in the principles set forth, Chesterton wrote, with "dogmatic lucidity" in the Declaration.
The not-so-silent Calvin Coolidge wrote that those principles are restful because they're final. We believe that no progress can be made beyond them--just as we believe that our progress comes from more faithfully and consistently actng in accordance with them. The Fourth of July, in that light, should be a day of rest for the same reason every Sunday should be. We need to take a break from our incessant activity to remind ourselves of the foundation that makes our free and restless prosperity possible.
So we can criticize the authors and signers of the Declaration for not acting in full accordance with their principles. Jefferson knew that all human beings--including those imported from Africa to be slaves--we're created equal and had inalienable rights. But he didn't always act according to what he knew.
But we remember that it was the Abolitionists, from the very beginning, who talked up more than other Americans the stirring words of the Declaration as the foundation of their liberationist cause. So did our first strong proponents of the rights of women. And the southern slaveholders ended up openly denying the Declaration's truth, saying that Jefferson didn't know what he was talking about. It was in the context of the spilling of a huge amount of blood for a new birth of freedom that Lincoln rededicated us to the Declaration's proposition that all men are created equal.
Later, I will remind you that even on the level of principle our Declaration was a legislative compromise, with the result better than the theoretical intention of Jefferson the philosopher. So I don't really think we should regard the principles of the Declaration as quite as restful or final as Biblical revelation--nor do I think our Founders would have wanted that. But I won't go on on THE FOURTH OF JULY.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.