While some libertarians might want to mourn the Fourth of July, especially in light of the counter-terrorism measures passed after Sept. 11, I still think there’s plenty to celebrate. The Fourth has always been one of my two favorite holidays, along with Thanksgiving.
And while I disagree with much that has fallen under the domestic war on terror umbrella — and about half of what Dubya’s trying to do overseas — Sept. 11 did much to reinforce the spirit of individualism still remnant in the American culture at large. It’s easy to dwell on Ashcroft or the Homeland Security Department (shudder) and think all is lost, but when we consider how easily things could have turned worse, we’ve much to be thankful for.
Yes, there are some 1,200 undocumented Arabs in jail somewhere in New Jersey without access to legal representation. And, yes, the “enemy combatant” move by the Justice Department sets a disturbing precedent, but our freedoms and our way of life have remained largely untouched. People will celebrate the Fourth. They’ll barbecue in the back yard and get drunk, and a few will blow their heads off with fireworks — as is their God-given right.
But there are no internment camps. There is no national ID card. There are no tanks patrolling the streets. The blessings of liberty are still with us. We should remember that and have a good time just to spite those who’d trade liberty for security.