Happy Fourth of July
The Fourth of July,
Modernity came of age —
Second childhood now?
On July 4th, 1776, the Earth, after centuries of labor pains, gave birth to one of those rare children of Civilization that becomes a light to the world. On July 4th, 2017, that light has dimmed, and appears about to recede forever into the Earth from which it came.
Its great philosophical underpinnings forsaken and finally forgotten. Its calls to heroic tolerance and resignation dispersed in waves of utopian brutality and coercive infantilism. Its practical economic liberty tempered with moral restraint now submerged in a dirty sea of unquenchable greed and irredeemable debt. Its traditions of free-thinking and art, characterized more by iconoclastic individualism than by antiseptic “schools of thought,” now long since having given way to doctrinaire progressivism as “thought” and pimpish hucksterism as “art.” Its greatest accomplishment, the self-limiting political structures of a genuinely modern free republic — the world’s first — reduced at last to demagoguery, ideology, and the marketing of favors among an entitled authoritarian elite caste.
Government-run education, government-manipulated media, government-enamored academia, and now imminent — the death blow — government-run health care: the descent seems unstoppable, and the number of people willing to resist too small, and shrinking.
But all is not lost. Progressivism’s fundamental idea is a lie: History is not a straight line. The end of the cycle is, seen another way, a moment of renewal. Reaching bottom means there is nowhere to go but up.
In the meantime, July 4th remains an important and glorious day for the resilient few: a moment to exult in the memory of human possibilities, akin to reading Plato’s account of the trial and death of Socrates.
To all my many American friends, known and unknown, Happy Fourth of July!