Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Flags and John Adams

I just put out my flag for the 4th of July. A small gesture that I always do with a bit of reverence to mark what is probably one of the most important days in the history of mankind. It is not the first day a man was able to live freely, nor was it the first day that his right to do so was proclaimed, but it was the first day that the principle was declared to be the founding basis of government.

The Declaration of Independence laid down the principle that "to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men." This provided the only valid justification of a government and defined its only proper purpose: to protect man's rights by protecting him from physical violence.

Thus the government's function was changed from the role of ruler to the role of servant. The government was set to protect man from criminals—and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government. The Bill of Rights was not directed against private citizens, but against the government—as an explicit declaration that individual rights supersede any public or social power.

-Ayn Rand
More than any other Founding Father, this day is due to John Adams, probably the premiere intellectual father of the United States, and the one who fought most adamantly to see this declaration passed. Here are some of his thoughts on the importance of this day [written in the days leading up to July 4]
The object if great which we have in view, and we must expect a great expense of blood to obtain it. But we should always remember that a free constitution of civil government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate, as there is nothing on this side of Jerusalem of equal importance to mankind.

Objects of the most stupendous magnitude, measure in which the lives and liberties of millions, born and unborn are most essentially interested, are now before us. We are in the very midst of revolution, the most complete, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the history of the world.

The second day of July 1776 [the date the Declaration was voted on and a majority was for. Revisions would take another two days.] will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.
May you recall the import of this day and have a very happy 4th!

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