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July 3, 2007

Recapturing the Spirit of Independence


by Rep. Ron Paul

This week Americans will gather around the grill, attend parades and watch fireworks displays, all in the celebration of the signing of our Declaration of Independence. At the same time, we will have thousands of bureaucrats, troops and agents stationed in countries across the globe being paid by American tax dollars.

On the anniversary of our declaring our own independence from the British, it is certainly appropriate that we reflect on the nature and spirit of independent nationhood. While our founding fathers were individual men in a historically unique situation, they posited that the principles upon which they rested our national independence were timeless.

If we truly honor the men who brought about Independence Day, we would do well to spend at least as much time reflecting on the Declaration of Independence, and the principles upon which it is based, as we spend time at the cookouts, parades, and fireworks displays. With the trend toward globalism that has been with us for the past century, we should be specifically thoughtful about how our celebration of independence can be made consistent with the policies that have been advocated by the American government – as well as many of the nation's elite – or what we used to call the Eastern Establishment.

I believe there is no way to square our nation's traditions and reverence for independence with the globalist policies these elites are currently pursuing. The American concept of independent nationhood inscribed in our Declaration cannot be maintained if we are going to pursue a policy that undermines the independence of other nations. National independence is an idea, and the erosion of the independence of other nations only serves to erode that idea.

At the same time, if we allow the erosion of that idea, by ignoring it in certain instances, we will be contributing to its erosion in all times and nations, even our own. In this way our nation's independence is linked with the independence of all nations. The sooner we realize this truth, and enact a foreign policy that is consistent with it, the sooner we will be able to recapture the spirit of independence.

In addition, as our founding fathers understood, the idea of national independence is inseparable from that of constitutional republicanism. Only the safeguards and limitations that are enshrined in a constitutionally-limited republic can prohibit a nation from lurching toward empire. Recognizing these same protections is also the very best way to eliminate the need for civil wars and the violence of civil strife.

Moreover, this constitutional republicanism is essential to protecting the individual rights and self-determination that is at the heart of our Declaration. As we celebrate the 231ist anniversary of our nation's birth, I hope every person who reads or hears this will take the time to go back and read the Declaration of Independence. Only by recapturing the spirit of independence can we ensure our government never resembles the one from which the American States declared their separation.


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    Ron Paul is a Republican Congressman from Texas. He was the 1988 Libertarian Party candidate for President.

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