Taking Heart

While Jonathan points out the perils that face lovers of liberty both domestic and foreign, I'd like to take a moment to remember (in a random way) what has gotten better in the intervening years since 1776 (or even 1976).

Women and minorities have been freed from state sanctioned oppression- and while state sponsored racial and sexual discrimination still occurs (ala affirmative action & 'disadvantaged business' set-asides), life for all in 2003 is much much better on the whole than 1903.

The Federal government, while overlarge and recently growing at a greater clip, has waned in the past couple of decades from a much larger and heavier boot on the neck of the American people- to me, reinforcing the point of 1776 that at all times government can be pared back if determined folks press and work hard enough, and that while the state always tends to grow, its growth is not irresistable.

The spectre and threat of international communism has been removed, and state central planning discredited. Alas, like Voldemort, the statist impulse isn't dead, but at least it's been severely weakened and forced into hiding, which is a good thing.

Globalization continues apace, bringing the world back to the level of integration it once knew in 1903- thus increasing the global division of labor and making everyone better off.

The heavy hand of regulation has lifted from the airline industry and other major industries, both in the US and the UK, revolutionizing transit and 'democratizing' air travel by lowering prices.

Libertarian think tanks are widespread and growing, with the memes of liberty taking root in more and more individuals. That both conservatives and illiberals alike feel the need to either confront libertarians or attempt to hijack the label means our ideas are getting stronger (even if national 'movement' Libertarianism isn't exactly surging). By hook or by crook, I say...

And in general, the US experiment, while deeply flawed and in need of repair in many places, still allows a bewildering amount of private spaces in our civil society, allowing individuals of all sorts to carve out niches and identities, and to seek out opportunities and profit from them. With all our faults, the US, in my opinion and to paraphrase Maximus, is "the light of world."

So while things could be better, they've been worse, and that's reason to celebrate, too. Here's to a happy 4th to the Catallarchists and all free peoples, and a wish for many many more (in all respects).

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