Humans are symbol-minded creatures. We have to be -- it's the only way that sentience can function. Writing, language, art -- all are by nature systems of symbol manipulation. The ability to reference real things by means of symbolic labels was the most important evolutionary 'trick' ever learned by humanity -- it is that trick which enabled us to break free of adaption by gene and instead adapt to new environments by inventing new behaviors, and passing those behaviors on to our young via teaching and words. A useful new behavior could spread to an entire community in a single generation, not thousands, and could be abandoned just as quickly when it outlived its usefulness.
But nature is indeed a mother, and few gifts come without price. The price of our ability to symbolize is, very often, the loss of the ability to distinguish the symbol from the thing it represents.
Just as a holiday originally designed to help convert happy-go-lucky Pagans into dour Christians has become a celebration of unrestrained greed and avarice (an improvement, if you ask me), so too has a holiday which celebrates the birth of liberty instead become just another three day weekend and a chance to deepen the gene pool by encouraing idiots to blow themselves up (that much, at least, is also a good thing).
Forget all your Marxist crap and Maoist bullshit. The most revolutionary words in human history are still those scrawled on that famous yellow parchment which many people claim to admire, but which few have read and even fewer still have understood. I really shouldn't have to quote them at all, but a lot of you went to public schools and thus probably missed them, instead being taught about how badly we treated the Indians (which is something that should be taught, no doubt about that, but let's keep it in context.) I've edited out the unimportant bits...let's get to the heart of the matter.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it. (Emphasis Lizards)
If you got any of that back in the one hour of Civics you were taught in Grade School, it probably stopped right after 'happiness'. The rest of it is where it gets nasty.
Look at that excerpt for a second, and place yourself back in time to 1776. The 'Divine Right Of Kings' was considered more of a proven fact than the heliocentric solar system. People claimed to own other people. To claim that women had all the rights of cattle would be to demean cattle. And yet, somehow, coming out of that background, raised to believe in all that nonsense, Jefferson still managed to grasp at truths that many today still have difficulty accepting -- no, he didn't live up to his ideals, but that's of secondary importance to the fact he at least had ideals to live up to -- it's better to aim high and fall short than to simply accept the standards of your time.
What's so revolutionary, you ask? Well, that's what you get for going to public school. Since your teachers knew better than to teach you, I'll take it on myself to do so.
The past 221 years have shown us that all forms of government are 'destructive to these ends'...and thus, it is the right of the people -- that means you...to 'alter or abolish [them]'.
Small wonder people fawn over the D of I more than they read it. That's strong stuff. And thus, small wonder that people prefer the symbolism of fireworks over the reality of firearms.
Freedom isn't pretty. Despite all the flag waving and fireworks, most people don't really believe in freedom -- at least not if it means they might have to actually think, reason, and judge ideas as opposed to having them spoon-fed to them. Many surveys have shown that a significant majority of Americans think the crippled, constrined, and battered remnants of the once-proud First Amendment still goes "too far" in protecting freedom of speech -- by which they mean, it goes too far in protecting the freedom of speech of people with whom they disagree. No one ever think their own speech should be unprotected, of course.
The propaganda arm of the government, aka the mass media, is doing a fine job of keeping people scared, helpless, and feareful of freedom (liberphobia?), while at the same time provoking a mass of flag-waving without regard to the ideals that flag stands for. The mere concept of amending the Constitution to ban flag-burning is a direct, frontal assault on the ideals of the Constitution -- those who proposed it, and those who voted for it, are, not to put too fine a point on it, traitors. As in 'Benedict Arnold'. As in, in a more civilized time, they would have been 'hung from the neck, but not until dead...cut down, drawn, and quartered, with their intestines burnt in from of them'. Thats' what Jefferson, Paine, Hancock, Franklin, and the others were facing when they signed the Declaration of Independance...and now, the deformed, degenerate spawn of the government they risked '[their] lives, [their] fortunes, and [their] sacred honor' to create are desecrating their memory, burning the actual heart and soul of America to protect that which is merely a symbol of it.
That survey I mentioned earlier reported that 65% or so of the population felt that 'anti government organizations' should not be allowed to make their views known to the public. Well, I'm about as anti-government as you can get...I want them all gone. And the web is a darn public place, ennit? So, who knows? Given the poll-driven mindlessness of what passes for Congress these days, it might well be that this very web page will one day be found criminal in nature. And, if the day comes when I am told to be silent or be imprisoned, I can only hope that I will find the courage to respond, as one of the founders of this nation did, "I know not what others may think, but, as for me, I say, Give me liberty, or eat hot lead!"
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