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A 4th of July Remembrance: Independence Arises from Self-Reliance

A 4th of July Remembrance: Independence Arises from Self-Reliance

 


charleshughsmith.blogspot.com / CHARLES HUGH SMITH / JULY 04, 2017

Individualism, it seems, means not the making of one’s own way but the demanding of sacrifices by others to maintain one’s own lifestyle.

What is visible on July 4th is the overwhelming consumerism of an American holiday: the over-hyped sales campaigns, the over-indulgences of the table, and the obligatory displays of fireworks. But beneath this celebratory surface run questions about American identity and the state of grace of the American soul.

There is a darkness in that soul, the poisonous darkness of greed, complacency and hubris. Individualism, it seems, means not the making of one’s own way but the demanding of sacrifices by others to maintain one’s own lifestyle: the sacrifices laid on the next generations to pay our lavish medical and retirement benefits, and the sacrificing of the planet to supply us with cheap energy, particle-board furniture and all the other gimcracks which are piled up in countless garages and storage facilities across the overstuffed suburbs of America.

There is another American soul, a largely forgotten one; that of Emerson, Thoreau and Muir. Emerson’s essay Self-Reliancespeaks to a radical individualism: “Insist on yourself; never imitate.”

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