The Perversion of the Fourth

As we prepare to celebrate the most important of American holidays, the anniversary of its founding, I have a grievance I'd like to air now. Every year when people should be reflecting on the historical significance of the American idea and the philosophical significance of assigning very narrow limits to hitherto broad government power, they are instead subjected to a lot of military-worship. Playing "God Bless the USA" while adoring images of tanks and fighter jets is not the proper way to celebrate.

This is absurd for three reasons:
1. Strictly historically speaking, if we were going to follow this direction, we ought to celebrate militias. Privately armed, volunteer militias.
2. What makes the American experiment great is not the military force that the country ultimately developed. Independence was declared by a bunch of mostly rich and mostly old white men. These men were generally not fighters, crusaders, or any other martial heroes. The country was ill-prepared for war in material terms; at the time, its strength was the strength of spirit that these men and their compatriots had.
3. Lastly, before I am accused of hating the military, there is already a day for it. Remember Memorial Day? I love independence, and damn it, the Fourth of July is the day of secession, rebellion against tyranny, and independence.

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The Signers were definitely

The Signers were definitely white and male, but I wouldn't call them old. The average age of the signers in 1776 was 44.8. 19 of them were younger than 40, only 7 were older than 60. I got the data from


The adjective "old" is

The adjective "old" is subjective. Ask a 22 year old if 44.8 is old.

Good point. As a 41.9 year

Good point. As a 41.9 year old, I simply can't accept that 44.8 is anything other than youngish.

I'm going to celebrate by

I'm going to celebrate by bootlegging illegal fireworks and beer across state lines, and then shooting copious amounts of ammunition through my ominous Assault Weapons. Then I'm going to drink the contraband beer and light the contraband fireworks.

I think that the founders would consider that an appropriate celebration.

Randall, Thank you for


Thank you for saying that! I'm living here in Provo, Utah, home of the "American Freedom Festival". The sad thing is that as you noticed, patriotism for a lot of people boils down to adolescent "My country can beat up your country, so we're cooler" type crap. I do have to admit though, I did have a really good 4th of July back in 2000. One of the local colleges put on a reenactment of the Continental Congress where Patrick Henry gave his famous "Give me Liberty, or Give me Death" speach.

I just have a hard time making the connection that some people do between the men who gave their lives at Lexington and Concord, staring down the barrels of one of the biggest, toughest military forces on the planet and worshiping our current armed forces.