Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Seeing as the majority of the political blogging I do is a defence or promotion of the American way, I'll keep this post brief.

Today is a celebration of the birth of a country and the embodiment of an ideal. For some, this is a black day, as the country born today represents everything that they are against. However, it truly is the living triumph of the individual over the collective, and the beacon that lights the way forward for Liberty-loving folks.

When I think about how America is the only country of its kind in the world; that is, born of an ideal, I can't help but correlate its remarkable success compared to the rest of the world with its political uniqueness. Can it be a coincidence that the richest, most powerful, most innovative and progressive country in the world is also the most free?

Why would I celebrate America's day? Because its progress pulls us all along - we all get the benefit of their success. I would suggest that they are responsible for the national security of virtually every country in 'the west', they are responsible for the economic growth of many, and they are responsible for many of the technological, pharmaceutical, and medical advances that we all enjoy the consequences of.

So, just as I am grateful for Canada, and celebrated its birthday a few days ago, so I am grateful for America, and all of her glorious achievements.


manalogue said...

For sure without many Americans and unique form of cultural incubation the world as we know it would not exist. The world would differ greatly without the American inventions and theories accelerated throughout humanity.

At the end of your post however you make two, probably unintentional, statements I find bearing an underlying truth.

The first, you say, "...we all enjoy the consequences of," which implies a negative result from a given action. I do not look forward to increased fossil fuel consumption and subsequent increased pollution for example. Nor do I agree that global bullying answers peace issues such as the taut nuclear relationships between America and its foes because the tension created dangers the rest of the world.

The second point I simply find amusing. You personify America as a glorious woman, but Canada remains an unidentifiable androgynous "it."

Anonymous said...

Liberty does'nt suffice. The human rights philosophy is incomplete if it forgets true equality. Liberty within inequity is a limited freedom, even an alibi in this case.

An individual's liberty ends at the beginning of other's.

Rocketman1200 said...

I agree with your last point, that "an individual's liberty ends at the beginning of others", in that one cannot deny someone else's liberty in order to claim it oneself. But what do you mean by equality? Do you mean that if we don't have 'true' equality, then someone's liberty is indeed being denied? Because I don't think that necessarily correlates.

For instance, if I don't possess the same intellect or material wealth as Bill Gates, is my liberty being oppressed? Because I certainly don't think I deserve his wealth or intellect...Yet I don't feel that my liberty to think or accumulate wealth relative to my ability to do so is being restricted...

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that wealth and liberty should be intertwined; wealth and ambition for power have nothing to do with the happiness and freedom of a human being. Equality is humanitarian; without equality, someone's liberty is not necessarily being denied, it's being limited for the profit of others.

Rocketman1200 said...

You are completely at liberty to say that, but I'd suggest that equality of values is something that should not be pursued, and cannot be achieved. I mean that, for instance while you believe that certain things do and don't bring about happiness, not everybody does. Besides, wealth IS a consequence of Liberty, whether it should be or not is of no consequence.

Anonymous said...

lib·er·ty (lĭb'ər-tē)
n., pl. -ties.

The condition of being free from restriction or control.

The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing.

The condition of being physically and legally free from confinement, servitude, or forced labor. See synonyms at freedom.

Freedom from unjust or undue governmental control.

A right or immunity to engage in certain actions without control or interference.

A breach or overstepping of propriety or social convention. Often used in the plural.

A statement, attitude, or action not warranted by conditions or actualities: a historical novel that takes liberties with chronology.

An unwarranted risk; a chance: took foolish liberties on the ski slopes.

A period, usually short, during which a sailor is authorized to go ashore.

Anonymous said...

While most developed European nations tend to have Gini coefficients between 0.24 and 0.36, the United States Gini coefficient is above 0.4, indicating that the United States has greater inequality.

Anonymous said...

A recent cabinet office report confirmed that, despite huge increases in affluence compared with 1950, people throughout the developed world report no greater feelings of happiness.

However, thus far, the government has ignored another crucial fact: not only are we no happier, we are actually far more prone to mental illness. That advanced capitalism, especially the US variety, is making us ill is not something New Labour wants to think about.

Rocketman1200 said...

you shouldn't use Gini when comparing European countries to America because America is a much much larger country (in population and geography) that is far more geographically diverse. Besides, just because there are more rich people in America than there are in Europe doesn't say that inequality is greater. Again, Bill Gates will always be far richer than I, for proper reasons.

Rocketman1200 said...

Now that you've defined Liberty, define Happiness. I'd have to say that there are few common denominators when it comes to happiness. One thing could make one person miserable, but simultaneously make another euphoric!

Anonymous said...

Gini stats are measures of proportion; it doe'snt matter if a country is bigger than the other compared... The proportions don't change. A square of 1 cm has the same proportions as a square of 1 m.

Happiness is the emotional state of being happy. The definition of happiness is one of the greatest philosophical quandaries. Proposed definitions include freedom from want and distress, consciousness of the good order of things, assurance of one's place in the universe or society, inner peace, and so forth.

Precisely why things like money and consumed goods or services bought with money can't "make" people happy is because happiness is a concept that is individually defined and individally developped with OR without wealth.

Many of us spend our lives looking for happiness from external things, and all the time, while we go to the ends of the earth in search of it, it's nearer to us than anything else: in our own being. Once we turn our attention in the opposite direction, however, and begin to change ourselves rather than our circumstances, we realise that it was always with us, and always will be; rich OR poor.

Rocketman1200 said...

The profundity of the definition is duly noted. I agree that happiness is a very personal, individual experience. I'd stress that everyone's idea of happiness is different, and for that reason happiness is best left to the individual to achieve.

Further, one of the great things about the American ideal of Liberty is that it's supposed to allow the individual the rights to life (and the products of it), liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (not the guarantee of happiness, as bestowed by others).

And that's what I celebrate on July 1st and 4th.

Rocketman1200 said...


there are numerous problems with Gini, simply listed here.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that you are aware of its subleties. The Gini coefficient of inequalities is to be taken as a warning that inequalities exist in the United States.

That the measure is not 100% without flaw is not the point(it is a human made statistical measure). Its importance is rather in the more complex reality that it suggests we take into account before claiming superiority.

If you believe that the country we live in and our neighboring States have this almighty superiority, feel free to celebrate.

Rocketman1200 said...

Hey you know, I don't feel like I have to love my country just because I live here. I don't always agree with Canadian policy, and I definitely don't like some things about America (trade protectionism for example. But too many people these days downplay the significance of what Canadians and Americans have accomplished here in just a couple short centuries that the rest of the world couldn't do in a millenia - that is, free its people.