This July 4th, Remember: Freedom is Good
Things have gotten so weird, even the most uncontroversial parts of the American experience are becoming taboo
I was never much for Independence Day. In the eighties, patriotism was a pile of uninspiring steroid-addled symbols: Rambo, Top Gun, the invasion of Grenada… I eventually learned to love barbecue and a beer-drunk as much as the next person, but to this day I can’t think of the word freedom without laughing, because it makes me remember Mel Gibson’s hair extensions in Braveheart.
Now the Fourth of July sucks. The overcooked patriotism of old was at least campy. The country today is run by politicians who spend all their time telling us freedom is dangerous, and the press won’t go near the word unless it can wedge it into an act of self-flagellation, à la the Washington Post headline today: “How an enslaved genius saved the Capitol dome’s ‘Freedom’ statue.” The one thing this country doesn’t need to be ashamed of is its unifying idea, and our cultural and political leaders have somehow managed to turn even that into a source of division.