July 06, 2008

In what is surely an “€œonly in America”€ phenomenon, the most patriotic holiday of the year celebrates the overthrow of the government. That says a lot about this country, or, rather, about the way it used to be. This time around, the Fourth merely underscores how far we have wandered, and raises the question of when we reached that fork in the road and made a fateful turn.

As that trenchant old philosopher Garet Garrett observed,

“€œThe Roman Republic passed into the Roman Empire, and yet never could a Roman citizen have said, “€˜That was yesterday.”€™ Nor is the historian, with all the advantages of perspective, able to place that momentous event at an exact point on the dial of time. The Republic had a long, unhappy twilight.”€

As twilight gives way to blackest night, and the creepycrawlies come out of the woodwork, the foundations of constitutional law are being subverted by some very busy termites, whose appetite will not be sated until the whole hollow edifice comes tumbling down.

We have come a long way from the heroic age of the American Revolution. The spirit that animated that world-historic event has dissipated to a mere Remnant. The degeneration of our old republic has been a long, tortuous, and never-a-straight-line process, but finally “€“ and agonizingly “€“ royalism has been restored in all but the formal sense. Our President claims the powers of an Emperor, and most of these have already been granted by the two other branches of the federal government, either by law or custom.

This year, the fog rolled in so thickly that the fireworks sponsored by the city were totally obscured, and that about sums up where we are today. This fourth of July, celebrated in the seventh year of the royalist restoration, conjures memories of what this distinctively libertarian state holiday (now there’s an anomaly!) used to mean—and future visions of a revolution betrayed.


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