On the 237th anniversary of our nation’s birth, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read, or listen to, Michael Berliner’s reflections on the deeper meaning of Independence Day. A sample:
Political independence is not a primary. It rests on a more fundamental type of independence: the independence of the human mind. It is the ability of a human being to think for himself and guide his own life that makes political independence possible and necessary. The government as envisaged by the Founding Fathers existed to protect the freedom to think and the freedom to act on one’s thinking. If human beings were unable to reason, to think for themselves, there would be no autonomy or independence for a government to protect.
To the Founding Fathers, there was no authority higher than the individual mind, not King George, not God, not society. Reason, wrote Ethan Allen, is “the only oracle of man,” and Thomas Jefferson advised us to “fix reason firmly in her seat and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God.” That is the meaning of independence: trust in your own judgment, in reason; do not sacrifice your mind to your neighbors, the church, the race, the state, or the nation.
Happy Fourth of July!