But that doesn't make much sense, since July 4, 1776, was merely the date on which a few landowners declared the American colonies to be "Free and Independent States."
But declaring oneself free does not make one free.
The following riddle has been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, the great enemy of Free and Independent States: If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog? Five? No, four, because calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.
That's true. And declaring the American colonies Free and Independent States did not make them so.
Particularly on July 4, we seem to accept the notion that the colonists gained their independence via a declaration. Via rhetoric. But that's nonsense. The colonists gained their independence by defeating their nation's army, by shooting agents of their country's government.
Perhaps we should celebrate our Independence on October 19. That was the date, in 1781, that General Cornwallis, by proxy, surrendered at Yorktown.
If not October 19, then perhaps September 3, the date, in 1783, on which the Treaty of Paris was signed, formally ending the Revolutionary War.
Remember: July 4 isn't so much about American independence as it is about American balls. It's about openly declaring that governments are instituted among men for the sole purpose of securing unalienable rights, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that when governments exercise too many unjust powers, it is the right and duty of the People to make a big change.
It's not really a radical idea, throwing off one's government. It's not like it's never happened in world history, or anything. What's radical is not throwing off a government that becomes destructive of the happiness and well-being of the People.
But "throwing off" a government is not necessarily revolutionary. After all, any time a nation rewrites its constitution, it is altering its government, if not abolishing it and throwing it off.
Does the typical American today think it was so horrible that thirteen American governments were altered in 1781 with the ratification of the Articles of Confederation?
Does the typical American today think it was so horrible that the federal government was altered, if not abolished and remade, when the U.S. Constitution went into effect in 1789?
Have you heard of the bloody revolution that recently took place in Iceland, wherein the people threw off their government? Of course not, because it didn't happen. But the people did indeed throw off their government by rewriting their constitution from scratch.
See? Not that big of a deal.
By the way, I am not advocating rewriting or altering or abolishing or throwing off anything, okay?
So should we celebrate the Fourth of July? Should we celebrate that at one time, Americans declared and actually believed that "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it"?
Should we celebrate the notion that "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security"?
Well, before you celebrate too enthusiastically on July 4, understand that if you agree with the sentiments expressed in the Declaration of Independence, you are a potential danger to your government, according to your government. That is, if you agree with what was once the prevailing American sentiment, you are now at odds with the current American government.
Don't take my word for it. See for yourself what your government has to say about the likes of you. A report entitled "Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008," published January 31, 2012, by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, contains some real gems.
Citing a 2011 report entitled "Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism in the United States," the DHS "Hot Spot" report includes among its definition of terrorists — and, by extension, the types of Americans who are a potential danger and should be monitored — those who are "suspicious of centralized federal authority [and] reverent of individual liberty."
While the signers of the Declaration did not expressly state that they were suspicious of centralized federal authority, they were indeed that and a lot more. I think it's safe to say they were way past the suspicious stage by July of 1776.
The signers did, of course, expressly mention liberty, but with a capital "L," like this: Liberty. So today we have the feral government naming those "reverent of individual liberty" as a potential danger, whereas, at least at one time, the prevailing American sentiment was that of reverence toward individual liberty.
My, how times have changed.
Instead of celebrating the Declaration of Independence, perhaps we should be mourning the declaration by the feral government that what was once a great notion is now a potential threat.