3 Things To Remember On Independence Day

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

It's difficult to say what most Americans commemorate or celebrate on Independence Day nowadays. Many appear to focus on some vague notion of "America." Others even take to jingoism equating the United States government with the very notion of "freedom." 

Lost in all of this is the fact that the Declaration of Independence - the document we're supposed to remember today - is a document that promotes secession, rebellion, and what the British at the time regarded as treason. 

On the other hand, those who do recall the radical nature of the Declaration often tend to romanticize the American Revolution in a way that is neither instructive nor helpful today. 

So, what should we remember about Independence Day, and what can it teach us? For starters, here are three things about the history and context of this holiday that should continue to inform us today and into the future. 

One: If You Can't Secede, You're Not Really Free

The very first sentence of the Declaration of Independence lays it out. Sometimes, "it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another..." 

The document then goes on to list in detail why 1776's specific act of secession was justified and necessary for preserving the rights of the colonists. 

By the 19th century, this philosophy of self-determination would become a foundational element of the ideology now known internationally as liberalism — or "classical liberalism" in the United States. 

Not surprisingly, we find this idea in the later writings of liberals such as Ludwig von Mises who, writing in Vienna in 1927, concluded:

It must always be possible to shift the boundaries of the state if the will of the inhabitants of an area to attach themselves to a state other than the one to which they presently belong has made itself clearly known...


[W]henever the inhabitants of a particular territory ... make it known ... that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time ... their wishes are to be respected and complied with.

Mises, like Jefferson, understood that without this right of self-determination, there is no freedom.

Nevertheless, modern opponents of self-determination and secession will claim that secession cannot be tolerated because it is not "legal."

This is scarcely relevant. After all, the colonial uprising against the King was not "legal," and it hardly matters whether political victors consider any breakaway secession movements legal. Times and societies change, and nothing is forever or written in stone. 

For Mises, secession must be tolerated for pragmatic reasons. It is "the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars." But For Jefferson, as for his fellow secessionists, it was a moral imperative, whether "treasonous" or not. 

Two: Independence Day Is Not a Military Holiday 

For obvious reasons, government institutions have little motivation to emphasize the Declaration of Independence or the philosophy it represents. This would amount to the government undermining itself. Consequently, many have attempted to turn the Fourth of July into a holiday that embraces vague notions of celebrating "America." 

These ahistorical interpretations notwithstanding, Independence Day recalls resistance and a withdrawal of fealty to a hostile political power. We should not twist it into a celebration of our current rulers in Washington, the federal government, or the troops that work for and represent the federal government. 

It should be a celebration against government and a reminder that Americans can once again walk away from tyranny, even if force of arms is required. 

This does not defame or insult the American troops, but rather reminds us that we are a civilian nation and the government (and its troops) is supposed to be our servant rather than our master. Slavish displays of patriotism and loyalty to the state are inimical to the real meaning of the holiday.

Three: Armed Revolt Is a Serious and Rare Event 

Among those who do wish to commemorate the true resistance offered by the revolutionaries, there is a different error: thinking that armed resistance is always right around the corner. 

In some corners of America, it's become almost commonplace to hear claims that surely the Second American Revolution will come with just a few more outrages committed against life, liberty, or property. All it will take is a few more no-knock raids committed against peaceful families sleeping in their beds. Or perhaps the government need only seize a few more guns before the American people "wake up." Or perhaps once someone reveals the extent to which the US government spies on us all — as Edward Snowden has already done — then Americans will simply refuse to tolerate it any more.

In truth, armed resistance tends to only materialize in the midst of poverty or foreign invasion. Not surprisingly, over the past century, despite decades of immense growth in government power, rising taxes, and stifling government regulations, virtually no Americans have been taking up arms against the American state.

Some of this may stem from admirable prudence. After all, the American Revolution was an exceptionally bloody conflict, and such conflicts should not be started lightly. As noted by the Library of Congress, "[t]he Revolution ... was, after the Civil War, the costliest conflict in American history in terms of the proportion of the population killed in service. It was three times more lethal than World War II." The poverty, property destruction, and loss of life was immense given the tiny size of the American population at the time. 

Most Americans are unaware of these specifics, but most people instinctively know that armed conflict can bring with it a very high price. 

This doesn't mean armed resistance is impossible, of course. It's simply worth recognizing that so long as Americans enjoy some of the world's highest standards of living few will be motivated to take up arms.

Ideas Always Matter 

It is also helpful to remember that armed conflict can be especially disastrous when motivated by the wrong ideas and the wrong ideologies. Who can say with confidence that if the US government were wiped away today, that it would not be replaced with something even worse? Under such circumstances, we must never abandon the important work of laying the foundations first for a revolution in ideas. Without a true respect for the freedoms outlined in the Declaration of Independence, political resistance is of little value. Moreover, in a society where true freedom is valued — and where a majority embraces liberal ideals — violence will prove to be totally unnecessary. And this would be the best outcome of all. 


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Lost in translation's picture

The US is independent?

Lost in translation's picture

I see the hillbillies are out in force.

chumbawamba's picture

All wars are really between two moneyed interests, i.e. the banks. The War of Northern Aggression (misnomered as "The Civil War") was yet another such conflict. The war debts of the United States (the collective entity representing the states united, which legally held the debts incurred from the revolution) were being enforced on the southern states (as political scapegoats) through banking interests in the northern states. The slavery issue was just a patriotic cover story for conquest.

To learn more about the hidden history of the United States of America, get thee to YouTube and search for "James Montgomery" and "The Informer". Also, Rulers of Evil is a must read for anyone who wants to understand why the US government does what it does.

Hint: the Roman Empire never collapsed, it simply transmuted and relocated. Today it is known as the "United States". It's roots are Babylonian, via Egypt.

I am Chumbawamba.

chumbawamba's picture

P.S. A quick web search will reveal a PDF copy of RoE available from several sources.

The two Roman fasces sitting aside the Vice President and Secretary of State during the President's State of the Union address should raise some curiosity. Bet you never noticed them before, or if you did, it didn't register unless you knew what you were looking at.

I am Chumbawamba.

Txpl9421's picture

Do you mean the VP and the Speaker? Or am I missing all of the photos with Tillerson?

All Risk No Reward's picture

Hi Chumnbawamba,

The United States is NOT the new Roman Empire. It is a vassal of the new Roman Empire, though.

The new empire system can be equated to a Money Power "woman" riding governmental system beasts. This "woman" has "illicit relations" WITH ALL NATIONS, not just one.

Note that one name of this "woman," per Revelations in the Bible, is "Whore of Babylon."

The United States is the militarized arm of the Debt-Money Monopolist Mega-Corporate Fascist Empire - the true descendant of Nero's (the number of his name is 616 and 666) Roman Empire system.

"The beginning of wisdom is to call a think by its proper (accurate) name."

The Debt-Money Monopolists are truly supranational - they use their Money Power to finance everything big - from government, to politicians, to corporations, to media, to schooling (training, NOT education, which is how to think accurately and independently).

All Risk No Reward's picture

"There was a Second American Revolution in 1871. It was not won through force of arms, but through force of insight into how to control public opinion."
~John Taylor Gatto


Gatto's The Ultimate History Lesson (1 of 5, watch them all)

All Risk No Reward's picture

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Aldous Huxley - The Ultimate Revolution (Berkeley Speech 1962)

The Handbook of Human Ownership - A Manual for New Tax Farmers

The Story of Your Enslavement

Happy debt-money dependence Orwellian Crimestop day.

PitBullsRule's picture

After the war, the slaves were free, before the war, they weren't.  That kind of kills your theory, doesn't it?

bshirley1968's picture

After the war, no one was free.......it just took a while to realize it.

Lordflin's picture

You are completely wrong about this, though that is a wonderful myth... the true cause of the civil war was slavery. Plantation owners from the Deep South were becoming increasingly marginalized as slavery was becoming less a factor through other regions of the South, and the North was gaining power... partially the banking interests you mention, but immigration into Northern states was accelerating rapidly. Those same plantation owners understood that left to the flow of events slavery would die a natural death. It was the Deep South that drove succession, and it was the slavery issue that caused the war to burn so hot. If it were not for slavery the war would never have taken place.

On the other hand if you prefer believe the popular myth...

nmewn's picture

Actually, the North was imposing tariffs on Southern ports (were/are we not one country?) to drive ships to dock in the North and slavery was a component not THE cause, the tyrant Abraham Lincoln said as much himself when he said (paraphrasing) "If I could keep the Union together WITH slavery I would." 

But all you really have to do is look at his "Emancipation Proclamation" where ALL the territory under Union control the slaves WERE NOT FREED yet (in true Clintonian speak) he said territories NOT UNDER UNION CONTROL were free.

In essence it was a political device not meant to free ANY slave...because it didn't. So slavery was not the main cause.

However, non-slave states being admitted into the Union would vote against the Souths interests at the time and at the same time slavery (as an institution) was dying off naturally. Mechanization would end it anyways and the NY bankers could have printed "their greenbacks" in compensation for "property" anytime they wanted. 

But didn't, preferring blood, mercenaries & conquest.

Lordflin's picture

This is why I hate getting into these kind of debates online... yes, tariffs were an issue, but not the cause of the war... so far as Lincoln was concerned slavery was a relative non issue... he too understood that given time slavery would die on its own... but it was the South that seceded from the North, not the other way around. The Deep South used the hatred felt for Lincoln as leverage to drag the other states with them. They clearly understood that to remain in the union was to ultimately loose their property.

So far as the emancipation proclamation this is frequently misunderstood. Lincoln did not believe he held the authority to free slaves in states that were not in rebellion, however slaves that were in states that were in rebellion he believed could be liberated as they were property held by rebels and such property had already been freely confiscated... although up until that time not human chattel. The proclamation held little effect in the states but played heavily in Europe where English high society were very desirous of recognizing the South and splitting the US apart. The commoners in England where very anti slavery and the proclamation had the effect of presenting the North as fighting for the rights of slaves thence putting the aristocratic class in a very untenable position if they were seen supporting the South.

Again, it was the Deep South that pushed the country into war as much of their wealth was tied to land and slaves and they saw the direction of the country as an existential threat. Slavery was not the principle issue to the North or Lincoln, secession was... along with what that meant, for example, to the banking class... but again, the North did not secede the South did.

nmewn's picture

I agree, seems like people see what they want to see and exclude what they don't want to see and the debate (such as there is one) will not be decided here...however ;-)

There was never any question that the South seceded from the North, the question was why. There is also the concept of state sovereignty (states rights) and the voluntary nature in which the nation was born, each state in the South felt it as a nation unto itself and had joined willingly into a "Union" so logically felt they could leave. 

They were not ending or trying to destroy the United States that Lincoln was the President of, they were just leaving it, which are two distinctly separate things. 

Not sure on your analysis on the Emancipation Proclamation outside of the fact I agree that the document was purely a political document aimed at Europe more than slaves. Again, where his armies were in control they were not made citizens or freed (in fact many were made to work for the Norths war effort) or carried on under their current masters and it certainly had no effect where his armies were not in control...which points to the document meaning nothing in the affirmative for slaves.

The topic is of interest to me because my Great-Grandfather (and other family members) fought in the First Florida eventually winding up with General AP Hill's Light Brigade in Virginia and naturally, he and I have been ridiculed down through the ages by baseless propaganda & opinions as to our character. 

He was not a slave owner, he (and they) fought for his state and his family, not for slavery.

At any rate, time to go do my "wage slave" thingy, have a good one and if you wish to continue amicably I'll check the thread again this evening.

Have a good one.

Lordflin's picture

Good response nmewn... A.P. Hill was a gentleman indeed, and was known as one of Lee's hardest fighting generals...

My family hailed from the border states and sent members to both sides of the conflict. In my youth I was pro union... I have changed in that regard despite my beliefs regarding the cause of the war. Most men in the South had little to no stake in the slavery issue... but they were not the ones who drove the war... they never are, are they? As it was the war wound up becoming one over who would control the reigns of power... states or central authority... and the states lost. It is for this reason I would have gone South.

I am sadden in the extreme to see what is happening to Southern war monuments. It is sickening, and while at its root are those who desire to severe our link with our past, those who are going along have no sense whatsoever of history. I have nothing but the deepest pride in the young men who fought for the South, and those who fought for the North as well. It was truly a war between brothers. Perhaps, coming from the border states as my family did, I can understand that better than most. It seems we are on the verge of yet another, assuming the world war does not catch us first. I doubt it will be fought with anything like the same degree of honor, as we as a people have forgotten what honor is...

btw... despite my pride in the young men who fought that war, those who drove us to war should burn for all eternity in hell...

nmewn's picture

Hillbillies is it...you any relation to Hillary?


Mzzz. Les Deplorable, I presume ;-)

Handful of Dust's picture

All the downvotes are from hateful NPR trolls who have to day of bashing Americans off.


Listening to NPR is one of the most depressing things one can do these days...all negative hateful stuff.

Hopefully, this administration can defund it and let Soros finance it from now on.

Vageling's picture

Grow a pair. A proud person doesn't give a fuck ;)

Yukon Cornholius's picture

The only thing 'independent' is the (((bankers safe house))).

Mazzy's picture

The 50 colonies of Israel (well 52 if you count Gaza and the West Bank, and more if we wish to add countries like France and Britain).

Lordflin's picture

So far as the first point made in this article ask the South how their right to seccession went (now even their monuments are being torn down). As to the second, it was Lincoln, as justification for an armed response to Southern seccession, who stated that no government in its formulation would include the seeds to its own dissolution. As to the third... a certain level of inertia must be overcome before the frog is sufficiently uncomfortable to the point that he will hop out of the soup. In this case the frog has been thourougly anesthesized... hard to say if there is enough life left to the critter to even care about its ultimate fate... and this last, btw, includes all of us... how many more of these trangressions are we will to take... 'Is life so sweet, or peace so dear..."

Yog Soggoth's picture

Lincoln was a treasonous war criminal! You did ask the South what we think about the subject.

Lordflin's picture

Lincoln was a complex man... but that is certainly an argument that could be made. I made a ten year study of the American Civil War... read all the major historys (Foote's three volume set is just one example... read that four times)... numerous biographys, numerous volumes dedicated to a variety of individual military campaigns... and still I don't know where I stand with regard to the fellow... but again, your point is one that could be made.

xtremers9's picture

People talk big about revolution, but no beer-drinking tv-watching "big guy" is going to follow through with it. Typical "the world is going to end" people

SeuMadruga's picture

Perhaps another american revolution/civil war could easily follow, should an end to the status of world reserve currency occurred to the USD, specially if such change happened suddenly...

veritas semper vinces's picture

To the fake USA,aka Jewmerica,happy fake Independence Day! and FO !

rejected's picture

Independence Day?


Happy hot dog day with pay for a few....

Mr Hankey's picture

For our. Gov safety  friends

Mr Hankey's picture

For our. Gov safety  friends

dizzyfingers's picture

We were a tough and surly bunch then. We should return to that now and not tolerate what is intolerable.

Not "happy  4th of July", but "Make sure you retain your freedom".Government is the problem, NOT the solution.

rejected's picture

This does not defame or insult the American troops, but rather reminds us that we are a civilian nation 

Civilian is a military term,,, Limo

But then I guess anything else like, a free nation, a just nation, an independent people, just wouldn't apply!

Lost in translation's picture

I've observed both media and government now regularly refer to non-law enforcement officers as "civilians." Rather telling.

Perhaps soon non-DMV employees, non-elementary school teachers, and non-child welfare workers will also be labeled "civilians."

jm's picture

Why don't we think about how it celebrates a marvelous idea called democracy that was implemented in a novel and enduring way by men with a classical education in Greek, Latin, history, and humanities.

Rather than the posting of dullards that can't think beyond shitting on everything.   

HillaryOdor's picture

 'marvelous idea called democracy' 

Wow.  What a moron.

HillaryOdor's picture

He had a point?  I thought he was just spewing thoughtless platitudes.

frank further's picture

Regardless, what is your point with your mindless insult, bereft of any information except that YOU are the real moron?  The ZH forum is loaded with stupid, insulting one-liners, fuck this fuck that, etc.  I have read there used to be rational discussion here, but alas, the teenagers have taken over. Instead of a thoughtful riposte to a statement one disagrees with, we now have what I just described.  Sad.

jm's picture

Democracy is merely a tool to enable freedom and autonomy of the individual.  If it fails, it is because the men and women who participate are unworthy of it.  

Democracy is suffering weakness. It has the flu.  One strain creates a rule of the mob that empowers welfare parasites. Another strain suffocates the democratic impulse itself and replaces it by inept bureaucratic cronyism.  Both replace initiative with despair. Productive people who have a vested interest in success are pickpocketed on one hand by the dirty hand of the bum and the well-groomed hand of the lobbyist on the other.   


Ecoutez-les... un éclair... puis la nuit?

serotonindumptruck's picture

You're probably familiar with the old saying: "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for dinner."

Democracy, as a system of government, has many of the same flaws as other forms of governance. Human nature teaches us that there will always be those who seek out political power for personal gain. Once corruption is permitted to gain a foothold, then any democracy tends to destroy itself as the corrupted parties "vote themselves largesse from the public treasury".

Democracy is Tyranny of the Majority, and while it may be preferable to Monarchy or Dictatorship, it suffers from the same flaws of corrupted human nature that most other forms of government do.

jm's picture

The democratic system is not equivalent to tyranical, authoritarian, or oligarchical systems.

Democracy is capable of making people better.  Tyranny can its cousins can never do that. Tyranny requires that men fall on thier knees, democracy enables them to stand.

Unfortunately, stakeholders in democracy are currently content to pacify the rabble rather than make them noble.  Make them even more parasites so as to make them easier to deceive.  Anyone who speaks against the almighty handout for bums, the rich elderly, corporations--nearly everyone is a beneficiary in some way--is shouted down.



serotonindumptruck's picture

If I'm following your argument correctly, you're suggesting that our current democracy can be repaired somehow? It could be made functional again if only personal accountability, values, and a moral code were somehow imposed upon the populace?

I'm not trying to put words in your mouth. I'm only trying to understand what, if any, solutions that you might be proposing are practical and/or possible.

Personally, I believe we're well past the point of no return to fix anything.

edit: not my downvote

jm's picture

There are no overnight fixes.  What is needed is people to 1) not be slothful and 2) accept responsibility for their actions.  We need virtue more than anything and that takes a while to grow.  I would suggest you read Thomas Mann's "The coming Victory of Democracy" as a start. 

1) and 2) go hand in hand:

If you don't pay taxes you don't get to vote.  One should have no say in taking other people's money and giving it to yourself.

I'm not sure how to deal with lobbyists that steal other than to make all tax increases and aggregage departmental spending increases subject to popular vote. This may not be workable.

Don't subsidize sloth by making it possible to live without work of some sort.  Don't create handouts that vanish if finds work. It has created a permanent underclass.

Take the profit incentives out of the criminal justice system to get/keep butts in cells. It has created a permanent underclass.

Everyone must accept that they are going to die.  No one owes you the right to vegetate in a nursing home for years @ $80,000 per annum when your outcome will be the same in your home.  If you are morbidly obese or a crack addict or a life-long smoker with lung cancer, or have end stage renal disease you have no right to expect anyone to accept your responsibility for you. Life isn't fair, that is why people pay for insurance. 





Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

What would, say, the well-crafted, Potemkin *appearance* of democracy be capable of would you say?

may we never live in such a place, but if we did, I bet it would be crucial to redirect people's anger away from the right people, no?

And away from the right things... like the money... pardon me... currency system and its controllers.

And lest we forget that in Athens of old, asking too many inconvenient questions of the people assembled, the 'state' (if you will) just might be rewarded with a cup of poison.

realmoney2015's picture

Agreed Democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner , the United States were a Constitutional Republic until around 1865 and since 1913 it's been owned by the bank cartel