Independence Day

DEC. OF INDEP. 1

I really like Independence Day.  I’m not into foam-finger patriotism or parades that celebrate military service (which are the proper stuff of several other national holidays).  What I like about this one is that even in its apparent super-Americanness it’s actually a very international holiday.  There’d be no Revolution without a lot of Scottish and French philosophers; we mark it from coast to coast with night displays that depend on Chinese technology while chomping on German sausage.  More importantly, the idea that prompted the Signers to high treason remains attractive to people around the world.  And that’s the main thing: this is a holiday about an idea–a perfect utopian theory that has been difficult (if not impossible) to put into practice.  But it remains one of the best ideas ever, recorded in a great document, and how many holidays celebrate philosophy?

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