Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July

We invented the English language and the Common Law. We will always be proud to have bred Shakespeare, though - like the language he shaped - we now share him with the world. However, we should acknowledge the American Declaration of Independence as one of the best pieces of prose in Shakespeare's language. "We hold these truths to be self evident...", it began, and a nation's history began with it.

The American Constitution too is a fine piece of work. Americans are fortunate that it was drafted at the peak of classical liberalism. It is not as beautiful as the Declaration of Independence, but it is elegant nonetheless. It contains in a few words (by lawyers' standards) beginning "We, the people..." so much more than any modern attempt at a framework for a nation's laws and government.

My chosen "nom de blog" is a clue that I am fond of the United States of America. Politically, I acknowledge it openly as the greatest of Man's works to date. I am proud that the best of English political philosophy found a home somewhere. I just wish it had been England.

The Founding Fathers did a great job and their successors have not yet screwed it up so much that they could fail to look them in the eye. Tom Paine began his life an Englishman and ended it an American. One reason I chose his name is that I still hope to repeat that feat one day, if circumstances permit.

Americans - unlike the English - are openly proud of their country. So should they be. No nation is perfect and they make mistakes like all humans, but the USA - as much as any nation on Earth - has contributed more to humanity than it has taken. The Europeans and Brits who make snide remarks about America are the same sorry minority of self-loathing liberals who have little good to say of their own countries. Americans should therefore not take it personally.

To all my American friends, present and future, I say "Happy Fourth of July". And may God bless America.

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