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Happy Fourth of July to all ZP readers

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — from all of us at Zenpundit ]

From President Woodrow Wilson‘s Independence Day speech, July 4th, 1914:

Mr. Chairman and Fellow-Citizens:

We are assembled to celebrate the one hundred and thirty-eighth anniversary of the birth of the United States. I suppose that we can more vividly realize the circumstances of that birth standing on this historic spot than it would be possible to realize them anywhere else. The Declaration of Independence was written in Philadelphia; it was adopted in this historic building by which we stand. I have just had the privilege of sitting in the chair of the great man who presided over the deliberations of those who gave the declaration to the world. My hand rests at this moment upon the table upon which the declaration was signed. We can feel that we are almost in the visible and tangible presence of a great historic transaction.

Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence or attended with close comprehension to the real character of it when you have heard it read? If you have, you will know that it is not a Fourth of July oration. The Declaration of Independence was a document preliminary to war. It was a vital piece of practical business, not a piece of rhetoric; and if you will pass beyond those preliminary passages which we are accustomed to quote about the rights of men and read into the heart of the document you will see that it is very express and detailed, that it consists of a series of definite specifications concerning actual public business of the day. Not the business of our day, for the matter with which it deals is past, but the business of that first revolution by which the Nation was set up, the business of 1776. Its general statements, its general declarations cannot mean anything to us unless we append to it a similar specific body of particulars as to what we consider the essential business of our own day.


If you’re a strategist or historian, these sentences may be of particular interest:

Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence or attended with close comprehension to the real character of it when you have heard it read? If you have, you will know that it is not a Fourth of July oration. The Declaration of Independence was a document preliminary to war.

Ahem, and if you’ll permit me my own reading, the key sentence here for my purposes is:

We can feel that we are almost in the visible and tangible presence of a great historic transaction.

WHile for factual purposes, 1776 and 1914 are separated by the intervening history, for the purposes of myth, dream, and psychological impact, that “almost” evaporates and the two moments merge, synchronous in a diachronic world.


Take whichever meaning you will, and accept it with our best wishes here at Zenpundit for a fireworked and festive Fourth!

h/t War on the Rocks.

Happy Fourth!

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — after Eric Berne’s Games People Play, remember? ]

Youthful exuberance:

Age and wisdom speak:

Being British in America today

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — still a Brit, though I love this place and may soon go for dual citizenship ]

My embassy speaks for me —

Wishing you all a happy and blessed Fourth!

On the inforced uniformity of religion

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

[ by Charles Cameron — when religion strongly influences politics — greetings on the Fourth of July ]

God and Politics UK


At least in the words of the Library of Congress exhibit, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, the US we know today was conceived as a “Religious Refuge”:

The religious persecution that drove settlers from Europe to the British North American colonies sprang from the conviction, held by Protestants and Catholics alike, that uniformity of religion must exist in any given society. This conviction rested on the belief that there was one true religion and that it was the duty of the civil authorities to impose it, forcibly if necessary, in the interest of saving the souls of all citizens. Nonconformists could expect no mercy and might be executed as heretics. The dominance of the concept, denounced by Roger Williams as “inforced uniformity of religion,” meant majority religious groups who controlled political power punished dissenters in their midst.

Haven’t we had enough wars of religion? There’s much to be said for that idea.

Happy glorious Fourth to all my American friends!


The image above of the Palace of Westminster in London looks quite lovely and tranquil, and some of what people hear when they quiet themselves and listen to the “still, small voice” is of inestimable value, beauty and insight. But it is not always so.

As Roger Williams shrewdly observed:

enforced uniformity, sooner or later, is the greatest occasion of civil war, ravishing consciences, persecution of Christ Jesus in His servants, and of the hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls


United Kingdom Come

You will perhaps understand, therefore, why I am less than enthralled by the idea of a particular opinion within Christianity “declaring the plans of heaven” over my country of origin — as suggested in the graphic immediately above this — or any other country, the United States included, and why I hope that, in Williams’ words:

a permission of the most Paganish, Jewish, Turkish or anti-Christian consciences and worship be granted to all men, in all nations and countries; and they are only to be fought against with that sword which is only, in Soul matters able to conquer, to wit; the sword of the Spirit–the Word of God

I wouldn’t mind seeing that idea take hold in Iran or Saudi, either. Yeah!


Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things. — Qur’an, 2: 256

If it had been your Lord’s will, all of the people on Earth would have believed. Would you then compel the people so to have them believe? — Qur’an, 10: 99


Besides which, having prayed often enough “Thy kingdom come” myself, I have to say I’m less than enthused to find the publicists of this particular outpouring of faith modifying the phrase to read “United Kingdom Come”.

What is this, the Cup Final?

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain Inalienable 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 powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Have a happy and safe holiday!

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