The New Patriotism

By WILLIAM SAFIRE
(Excerpted from The New York Times, July 2, 2001)


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This week we will be celebrating a holiday that has come to be known as "the Fourth of July." Why do we celebrate only the day and not the idea behind its real name? "Independence Day" commemorates the treasonous gamble our forefathers took in issuing the inflammatory indictment justifying their separation.
As the Fourth became mainly barbecues and fireworks, the idea of national sovereignty -independence-has become controversial, no longer such an unalloyed virtue.
We are taught that pride in independence is arrogant except in the case of the weak. Its opposite, interdependence, is now the passion of the elites: As "travelers on the Earth together, we are members of one world, one planetary family, transfixed by the notion that national aspirations and powers should defer to a loose, global government driven by the power of world opinion. (Emphasis added).
The gutsy nationalists of 1776 were well aware of that power, even citing "a decent respect for the opinions of mankind" in their declaration. But our framers enlisted it on the side of independence, of one people's expression of freedom from oppression. The creation of the United States was modern history's greatest act of disunion. (Emphasis added).

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Here we are, then, on Independence Day, all too often feeling the need to salve our conscience for any assertion of our sovereignty and to justify our glorious independence.

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Time for a new patriotism with less bombast but profound pride. America's independence and our power give us the right to decide what is best for our national security; many of us believe that is also best for international security.

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Our independence and our historic moral concern give us the freedom to support human rights anywhere.

(Editor's Note: The "inalienable rights" Jefferson referred to in the Declaration of Independence were immediately utilized to found a new government: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Thus a key "inalienable right" is that of political choice, i.e., democracy. It was subsequently made part of the US Constitution via the Ninth Amendment.*
Placing "a new patriotism," "members of one world," "human rights," and "global government," together, therefore, this world-class columnist belatedly approves and confirms what we humans and self-proclaimed World Citizens have been operating since September 4, 1953, the day World Government was founded from the City Hall of Ellsworth, Maine. Bravo William!)

*"The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."