CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Independence Day

Jul 4, 2016

Regrettably most people seeing this title will be thinking of a 1996 film, or the brand new sequel to it. (Speaking of which, I enjoyed the first instalment and hope soon to see the second!) But that is not what I am talking about here. I refer of course to the annual celebration of America’s independence from the British.

But the dumbing down of the West and most folks in it, including massive historical illiteracy, means that the majority of people are not even savvy as to what July 4 now means. Indeed, I just did a google search and the first 4 ½ pages of my search results were entirely taken up with the films!

There was nothing about the real Independence Day until much later. And as clear proof as to how the cultural Marxists have so utterly succeeded in capturing our institutions, especially academia, one simply has to see how clueless even American college kids now are when it comes to correctly explaining what Independence Day is all about.

Just check out this shocker of a video to see why we desperately need an American resurgence more than ever: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRkFDcX_72c

Fireworks behind statue of liberty

Fireworks behind statue of liberty

That is some pretty scary stuff there. But regrettably it would be far too common. We have utterly dumbed down an entire generation – and deliberately so. The secular left activists have always known that to capture a culture, you must do various things, including destroy its history. Or rewrite its history.

So I must remind people what July 4 is actually all about. I just did a quick search of my 3735 articles in CultureWatch to see if I had penned anything on July 4, and to my surprise, I find that I have not. So this piece is a correction to that.

There is so much to say about what the Fourth of July means that it is hard to know where to begin. Thus I will simply defer to one other person here – one who briefly yet cogently reminds us what Independence Day signifies and celebrates. In 2011 Sam Blumenfeld wrote a helpful little piece on this. He begins:

In the American holiday calendar no day is more significant than the Fourth of July, in which we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. That Declaration proclaimed to the world our separation from Great Britain and our emergence as a new sovereign nation, as we state in the pledge to our flag, “under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
The Declaration stated unequivocally: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.”
Those few words sum up the divine source of our unalienable rights and our philosophy of government. Nothing quite so revolutionary had been proclaimed anywhere by any people. But those beliefs had to be affirmed by a long, bloody war, which was finally won. The result has been this shining light on a hill, the United States of America, the freest, most creative, productive, and richest nation in the history of mankind.
Today, the Declaration of Independence is celebrated as the centerpiece of American political philosophy. It clearly spells out the purpose of government, which is to secure our God-given unalienable rights. A government limited by its basic purpose does not need to incur a back-breaking debt of trillions of dollars. Our legislators have obviously forgotten what is written in the Declaration.

He closes by discussing “The Soul of America”:

It is interesting that we do not widely celebrate Constitution Day, although the United States Constitution provides the legal framework of our form of representative government. The aim of the framers of the Constitution was to make it as difficult as possible for any person or group of persons to establish a despotic regime over the people of this country. They therefore broke up the government into three branches — Executive, Legislative, and Judicial — in order to disperse power as widely as possible. And they divided the legislature into two bodies: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The House of Representatives, representing local Congressional districts, brought the citizen as close to the seat of government as possible. The large states, with their larger number of delegates, could exert power over the smaller states. However, in the Senate the smaller states could exert power over the larger ones. In the Senate, little Rhode Island or Delaware has as much clout as California or New York.
What an ingenious plan to limit the power of government over a free people! And yet we have Time magazine, the voice of the liberal elite, advocating the shredding of the United States Constitution because it is an obstacle to total government.
During the last century, many in the cultural and political elite have favored socialism, a political and economic doctrine contrary to the political beliefs of our Founding Fathers. With this powerful liberal elite pushing for government control over every area of our lives, for over 100 years, how have we managed to retain so many of our freedoms… and even exercise the almost lost freedom to homeschool? It’s largely owing to the appetite for freedom still spread by the ringing words of the Declaration of Independence.
Yet, the New World Order socialists would prefer that we write a new Declaration of Interdependence, and joyfully accept the chains of statist tyranny.
But that is why we must celebrate the Fourth of July — Independence Day — with all the fervor and joy that the American people can muster. We do so to inform our would-be masters that we are not interested in the collectivist utopia based on atheistic Marxism they wish to impose on us. And that is why we humbly thank the men who gave us our Declaration of Independence, which will remain for future generations of Americans the beacon of liberty, the upholder of our divine unalienable rights, the guardian of our independence. Its words must be written in the hearts and minds of our citizens, so that we never forget the price paid for our freedom … and the reasons why freedom is worth paying the price.

Today most Americans look forward to July 4, not out of deep respect for, and recognition and appreciation of, our political past, but as just another public holiday, a time to party, relax, have fun, and watch the fireworks celebrations. Sadly very few know anything about all that preceded that momentous day in 1776.

Thus the American Revolution is now a distant event which not many Americans even know about. Lots of blood was shed and many lives were lost to secure our independence and our freedom. But most of that is long forgotten or ignored, and today most Americans – and others – are content to live with a bad case of historical amnesia.

I have previously written various pieces on America’s Christian beginnings, on the faith of the Founding Fathers, on the connection between freedom, democracy and religion, etc., and so on. See for example:
billmuehlenberg.com/2010/12/22/nations-virtue-religion-and-freedom/
billmuehlenberg.com/2014/04/12/america-christianity-and-secularism/

But as mentioned, the war on history is part of the bigger war on America and the West. Our enemies have done a thorough job of gutting American education, and especially American history. Many great thinkers have warned us about the dangers of this. Chesterton once put it this way:

The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. History is a hill or high point of vantage, from which alone men see the town in which they live or the age in which they are living. Without some such contrast or comparison, without some such shifting of the point of view, we should see nothing whatever of our own social surroundings. We should take them for granted, as the only possible social surroundings. We should be as unconscious of them as we are, for the most part, of the hair growing on our heads or the air passing through our lungs. It is the variety of the human story that brings out sharply the last turn that the road has taken, and it is the view under the arch of the gateway which tells us that we are entering a town. Yet this sense of the past is curiously patchy among the most intelligent and instructed people, especially in modern England.

That of course is true of America as well. As commentator Joe Sobran put it much more recently, “Through no fault of their own, most Americans study American history in school. This is why they have so many misconceptions about American history.”

George Orwell was quite right to say this, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” Or as Thomas Sowell put it, “One of the most important reasons for studying history is that virtually every stupid idea that is in vogue today has been tried before and proved disastrous before, time and again.”

I for one will be forever grateful for what occurred in America two and a half centuries ago. I will always be thankful for the amazing beginnings to this once amazing nation. Sadly now most of its greatness is lost and/or being trashed. All the more reason to have a sharp sense of history, and to appreciate what has gone before.

Happy Independence Day America. I pray that you can keep that independence.

www.thenewamerican.com/reviews/opinion/item/10811-the-true-meaning-of-independence-day

[1609 words]

4 Responses to Independence Day

  • Minor matter.
    If you are planning to watch the sequel to the film, be aware that according to a viewer, it appears to includes a gay couple, one of whom dies: christiananswers.net/spotlight/movies/2016/independenceday2016.html

    And the movie director Roland Emmerich is known to be an outspoken Hollywood gay activist and also support other questionable stuff: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_Emmerich

    In any case, the movie is reportedly bad and a box-office bomb (failure):
    www.rottentomatoes.com/m/independence_day_resurgence/
    www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2016/07/02/friday-box-office-independence-day-implodes-finding-dory-just-keeps-swimming/#7f37f0d61704

  • In view of that terrible You-Tube clip, I remind you of the following, which may need to be updated as to detail but the substance of the charges remains distressingly valid:
    .

  • Thanks Bill,
    It is sad that USA is so sick. 1776 is a common year for America and Australia. In 1976 both nations celebrated a bicentenary. This was the start of the British coming and the opening up a new settlement that was needed to land convicts. For Americans it was the beginning of the new nation. The Document has endured and the nation has, until now,endured with trust in God’s providence. It is worth noting that Australia was settled by the losers of the revolution because they needed another place, other than America, to dump convicts! Well, it was also good land to replace the 13 colonies now lost!
    The Christian influence of Abraham Lincoln is rich in 19th Century USA. His biography is worth digesting. Besides his Gettysburg speech, Lincoln gave a speech in Springfield, Illinois: “The Lyceum Address” 1838. He outlined the importance of the constitution, law, together with civil and administrative order. He asserted that no enemy would invade from abroad… “in a trial of a thousand years”. However, he did strongly warm of destruction from within:
    Quote: “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” How true today in Australia and in America!!!!

  • Thanks Bill for this important review of the history of the United States and those founding fathers who believed that God is a part of everything we do on earth. In similar fashion, our own Constitution and its writers said that we humbly rely on God.

    May I also recommend an extremely well produced 7 part mini-series called “John Adams” If you haven’t seen it you are in for a treat. It has Paul Giamatti in the title role and one of the producers was Tom Hanks. John Adams was the second President of the United States of America.
    Cheers from a dual citizen (Australia and USA)

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