“Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.”
– Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, January 10, 1776
Independence Day is one of my favorite days of the year, an opportunity to fly a new flag, reflect on the remarkable country I live in, and give thanks to those who literally changed the world with their thoughts and actions. It is important, I believe, to not only give thanks to those who preceded us but also recognize that it’s not enough to just think big thoughts, you also have to have the will to act on them. In our case, a group of men were willing to pick up a gun and fight for the freedoms we all too often take for granted now and the ideal of a state in which the people are sovereign, not just some inherited elite class. The founding fathers were not just against Britain, they were for something that was bigger, democracy, so in between hot dogs and beer today you might consider downloading a copy of the Federalist Papers to see for yourself the brilliance these men, in their time and ours.