A Free-Market Energy Blog

Craig Biddle: "What to Celebrate on the Fourth of July"

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- July 4, 2011

The nefarious Joe Romm at Climate Progress (Center for American Progress) is trying to muddle the true message of our founding fathers this July 4th, replacing “independence” with “interdependence.” Under this hubris, a lot of alarmism and Big Government Energy comes in. Here is part of Romm’s post:

Not bloody many people will be pursuing “happiness” under [future climate] conditions. They will be desperately trying to avoid misery, when they aren’t cursing our names for betraying our moral values.

If we don’t aggressively embrace the clean energy transition starting immediately with the climate bill in front of Congress — and help lead the entire world to a similar transition — then the Ponzi scheme we call the global economy will probably be in some stage of obvious collapse by our 250th anniversary, July 4, 2026.

Please Joe, take a day off from alarmism. Fire up the grill, shoot some fireworks, and chill!

Regarding ‘interdependence,’ it is a fallacy to believe that government coercion makes us social, and a free society makes us atomistic–quite the reverse. Government creates us versus them–those with special privilege (the net tax consumers) versus the rest of us (the net taxpayers). Free trade and voluntary relations create real interdependence because we have to please each other in a world of persuasion.

Ed Crane, the president of the Cato Institute, has insightfully explained how civil society is fostered by freedom and replaced/destroyed by political society. Disputing Robert Reich’s notion that “either we are all in this together, or we’re a bunch of individuals who happen to live within these borders and are mainly on their own,” Crane writes in the latest Cato Policy Report:

The choice is hardly between in-this-together sheep and atomistic individuals. Tocqueville was astounded at the many ways Americans loved to work together. Granges, churches, business associations, volunteer fire departments—the list was pretty much endless. 

That said, these associations were voluntary and the government had nothing to do with them. If there is one thing that identifies American exceptionalism, it is a fierce individualism. Americans don’t like to be told what to do—especially by bureaucrats.

So this is a good time to revisit what the meaning of our national holiday. It is about independence, about liberty. Such is what Craig Biddle understands and put so well at The Objectivist Standard blog.

What to Celebrate on the Fourth of July

by Craig Biddle

On July 4, 1776, the Founders declared to the world not only that the colonies would henceforth be independent from Britain, but also, and more fundamentally,

that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

This was the beginning of the first moral country on earth—a country in which individual rights were to be explicitly recognized and protected.

Although slavery persisted for several decades after the founding, this aberration was ultimately recognized as incompatible with the basic principle of America and thus eradicated. Between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century, America came close to being a fully rights-respecting society. Men were essentially free to live their own lives, by their own judgment, for their own sake. This was the Land of Liberty. And this is what we should work to achieve again.

On the Fourth of July, celebrate not the rights-violating, welfare state that America has become, but what America once was and could be again. Celebrate man’s “unalienable Rights.” Celebrate the principle that the proper purpose of government is “to secure these rights.” Celebrate the principle that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” And, most of all, celebrate the Founders, who recognized and codified these principles, thus making possible the degree of freedom we still enjoy and the moral ideal to which we should return.

Let the fireworks explode!


  1. Michael Lynch  

    Is Joe turning Brit? “Not bloody many people….” Or is he just a wannabe like Madonna. Seems a bit odd for an Independence Day message.
    Still, you can file this under “Send me lots of money.”


  2. Ray  

    Joe sounds like one of the old testament prophets telling us we are doomed unless we repent and change our behavior. In old testament times the penalty for false prophecy was death. I think that penalty should be reinstated.


  3. MarkB  

    Joe Romm has taken to ‘bloody?’ Methinks Joe has been on the Guardian and BBC web sites too much.


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