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I'm a Catholic. I don't go to church very much anymore because I cannot stand being lectured to by a bunch of power-hungry, economically ignorant human beings who claim to be something else. There are other reasons too. In any case, I DO respect a great deal the Catholics and other Christians who take Christian holidays seriously. Did you ever notice the signs near churches and in some yards around Christmas time asking us to "Keep Christ in Christmas?" 

Well, on this 4th of July I believe we ought to start a similar effort to rescue the 4th of July from the fireworks and mindless celebrations (I like both of course). Almost all of the celebrations happening on this day are devoid of historical context. I am sure people have a vague recollection that we are celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, an excellent document if there ever was one. But I doubt most people can recite even a few lines from that founding document – based deeply on George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Right, and strongly influenced by the events and documents surrounding the Glorious Revolution in England (1688) and the many great liberal writers preceding it. The 4th of July is a celebration of freedom and our founding documents, whatever the flaws of the men who wrote them and their interpretation today, are firmly ensconced in the classical liberal tradition. Sure we are not that country anymore. But you have no right to celebrate the 4th of July without respecting what those documents and ideas stood for. No right at all (in my moral calculus, not my legal one). So on this 4th of July, remember to keep Freedom in the 4th, Remind folks what this day was all about. Remind folks what a precious gift liberty can be, And I also ask you to remember that liberty is of course not the only important value we cherish nor that will increases in liberty mean nirvana for everyone. And I also ask you to remember that the classical liberal escalation of liberty as a high value is not rooted in a knee-jerk anti-government doctrine nor does it ignore the myriad private forms of coercion that are all around us. Not at all. But it does escalate the value of individuals, the role of private property and the rule of law as superior to other forms of social organization when it comes to how it is possible for us to live peacefully and happily among billions of people with different hopes, wishes, desires, loves, hates, passions,and the like. 

So keep Freedom in the 4th. And enjoy those fireworks!

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