Power & Market

Do We Have Regrets While Celebrating July 4?

This is a transcript from Mark Thornton’s Podcast, “Minor Issues,” July 6.


Well, I know that many of my listeners will have a certain number of regrets about the July 4th holiday. And some of them may not even celebrate it at all. I certainly share many of those regrets. And concerns about the future of our country.

We have an extremely bad government. That has increased in size and power enormously. We have a national debt which has exploded in size with an annual deficit reaching $2 trillion a year. We have an all-encompassing surveillance state that monitors everything we do. And of course, we have a neocon takeover of our government and a powerful Federal Reserve. And the list goes on and on and on. It seems hopeless.

Well, I think this is the wrong perspective. And I think it’s something we need to get over. And we need to know what to do going forward. Personally, I’m very optimistic about the future. And I think we are winning the battle for liberty. But of course, there’s much work ahead.

First of all. The battle is not a militarily one. It’s not even a political one. It’s won through the process of ideology—winning the minds of our fellow citizens. We have economic science and history on our side and productive citizens are getting ripped off! First, we have to win over our own minds.

Why do things work in a free society? Why is the free society ethically superior? Those are the battles that we’re winning in the hearts and minds of people all over the world. Regular listeners know that the Mises Institute is the central cog in winning that ideological battle worldwide.

So, we do have reasons to celebrate. And there are ways to get ready for next year’s July 4th. Celebration.

The United States is no longer viewed as a city on the Hill, the City of Light. And that, frankly, is a good thing. And it’s something that more and more people know. Both here in the United States and around the world. That utopian view of the United States is broken, and that’s a good thing.

This is especially true among young people in the United States and around the world. I’m usually who I’m most concerned with younger people and I’m not even really concerned with anybody my age or older. I always think about and work towards the future, even if we have to think and act today.

We have a lot of work to do, but we have excellent targets to work with, especially the Federal Reserve, its inflation, boom/bust cycle, and its robbing from the productive middle class to give to the financial elites.

Frankly, as a nation based on immigrants we are, as a people, a pretty good nation, a very good people, with great traditions; tolerant, well-meaning and hopeful population who have created a great standard of living and shared it with the world.

So, we already have a good starting place from which to work. Even if it does start from position where the American people have been divided by our government politically. What we need to work for is an ideological reunion of our people based on an ideology that includes sound money and property rights. And that reunion exactly centers around the topic of independence from government. Let’s step back and take a look at what that means.

People came from Europe to the colonies to get away from Europe. It was the “new world” but it must have been a scary prospect.

Europe was a place of constant warfare, high taxation, inflations, and religious intolerance by governments. The people hated war. They hated taxes. They hated government paper money and debt. And they came to the colonies out of desperation.

Colonial and frontier life made them even more independent. But also, much more thankful for the people that they did depend on all around them. The people they worked with. The people they bought and sold with, worshipped with, etcetera. They had defeated the world’s only superpower from the dark side of the pond. They declared their independence and tried to create a more perfect union. That’s not an easy task, and I’ll be asking you to do far less today.

 We can only think and act in the present. So, you’re not going to be expected to overthrow a nuclear superpower with your box of fireworks today. You simply need to make two mental notes.

Every 4th of July I make a mental note to declare my independence from government, and you can do likewise. Second, I also commit myself to be more appreciative as a member of our society. Society is really the opposite of government. Everything in society is voluntary. At base, everything about government is based on the threat of force and violence if you don’t comply.

Think about all the people we depend on. It’s easy for me to give thanks in my thoughts for my plumber, my electrician, and especially my air conditioning people, even if I hadn’t seen them in a while. We might also have customers and charities we work with. Of course, we also see such people every day in stores, in drive-throughs and at work. We have all kinds of people who help us. That helps our families, our pets, our homes, our cars. We can have all types of private insurance to protect many of the important things of life.

We want to be independent of government, but in society we should acknowledge all the assistance we receive from others. And we should also do our best to do our part in what Ludwig von Mises called the social division of labor.

If we make these two mental notes to declare ourselves independent from government, while at the same time declaring and acknowledging all the help and assistance we get from one another, we’re on our way to start acting personally in such a way that we’re getting ready for next year’s July 4th holiday.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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