The Importance of Independence

It seems you hear everyone say “Happy Fourth of July!” At Freedom Forge Press, it’s one of our favorite holidays, but we prefer “Independence Day.” To us, understanding the importance of independence is essential in preserving liberty and an empowering way of life.

This “Man on the Street” video from Mark Dice would suggest that many people don’t know why they’re celebrating the Fourth of July:

Of course you can argue selective editing. Not everybody is as clueless as many people in the video (it finally ends on a positive note!). But a Rasmussen poll of 2014 found nearly 1 in 5 Americans don’t know why we celebrate Independence Day.

One of the reasons we founded FFP was to provide a forum for people to share stories about the importance of independence. It’s no coincidence that many of the authors we talk to have stories from other countries or other times in history, ones that long or longed for the freedoms offered by the United States. These authors are all passionate to share their tales, victorious or cautionary, to help future readers understand what is truly at stake when a loss of freedom is involved.

And really, what makes America exceptional is our independence. Here we believe that humankind is born free and that it’s government’s job to protect our freedoms – not take them away or bargain them back to us. There really is nothing more effective in fostering the potential of the human spirit than a liberal helping of independence. When people are left to their own devices, they find the passions that drive them. And when they’re forced to work for someone else’s passion, they typically deliver the minimum needed to get by.

In schools, children are more routinely passionate about project-based learning—projects they are free to choose themselves— rather than assigned tasks such as rote memorization of dates and locations.

The film 300 effectively illustrates this concept too. A group of 300 passionate Spartans volunteered to defend their homes against impossible odds—a huge army numbering over 100,000. In fighting to the last man, they inflicted significant losses and halted the Persian advance to allow for the organization of a more forceful defense. In one scene, the Spartan king says to the Persian king, “You have many slaves, Xerxes, but few warriors. It won’t be long before they fear my spears more than your whips.”

In America, independence is essential to keep—and, in some ways, to rekindle. Free markets—not crony capitalism or corporate welfare—allow buyers and sellers to meet and determine value by voluntary exchange. There are no political favors owed, no secret agendas hidden from voters and buried deep in the bowels of an innocent-sounding-titled law, tucked away inside another “must pass” law such as an emergency or disaster response package or “‘Murica Good, Terrorists Bad” law.

When people are free to determine their own course, few things can hold back their ingenuity, aspirations, and drive to excel. The #LearnLiberty campaign recently collected the results of improving the independence of free people with government policies increasing personal freedom and independence and illustrates how the lives of people across the globe have improved:

  • Health Savings Accounts in Singapore were enacted in 1984, giving its people independence to plan for health care needs. Today it boasts an infant mortality rate 70% lower than the US, has a life expectancy of 82 and one of the lowest health spending as a percentage of GDP.
  • Botswana is rated as one of the freest economies of the African continent. It has one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a per capita GDP that grew from $70 in 1966 to $16,400 in 2014.
  • Irish taxi deregulation in 2000 led to shorter wait times, greater taxi availability, and reduced prices.
  • Guatemala removed its monopoly on phone lines in 1995. Phone ownership rose from one phone per 37 people to 1.5 phones per person in 10 years.
  • France removed regulations of its mobile phone providers in 2009; prices fell 30% in two years.
  • New Zealand is the only industrialized country that has zero farm subsidies. Agriculture accounts for 2/3 of the country’s exports.
  • England and Wales eliminated laws regulating closing times for pubs (11pm?!)  and allowing them to stay open until 5am. Traffic accidents recorded on Friday and Saturday nights fell by a third.

Independence gives people the power to solve their own problems, far more effectively than can be done for them on their behalf by a self-appointed expert in a distant capital passing ineffective laws that restrict freedom of action.

Although we enjoy celebrating freedom–and our Independence–this weekend, maintaining and increasing our freedoms against power hungry do-gooders, politicians, dictators, and the like, is a constant battle. It’s one we’re passionate about fighting every day because we believe the proper state of humanity should be that of free individuals interacting peacefully and willingly to foster the best we have to offer each other.

And that is always worth fighting for. We invite you to join us!

 

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