Today is Independence Day, the day we celebrate the birth of our nation. I’d had another post planned for today, but bumped it because, well, I didn’t realize that Wednesday was July 4th. It’s an important day for any true-blooded American. It needs to be addressed.
Thinking about Independence Day, I couldn’t help but think about so many of those who fought to break free of the oppression they saw coming from the British Crown. Men who stood against aggression from not just hostile natives but a malevolent government.
There’s a lot to respect there.
Now, let me get started by saying that if you start with the whole “they stole land from those natives” crap and decide to bash those men, don’t expect your comments to see the light of day. While that’s a topic that gets debated regularly, I’m not interested in debating it here. Understood?
Now, with that out of the way, let’s look at what those men were like and what we can learn from them.
Let’s start off with the one that’ll make you scratch your head, but bear with me.
While people today tend to sit down a whole lot, watch television, work at desks or even just standing around, those who fought for our nation back in 1776 had a tendency to work at jobs that required far more physical exertion. Even if they had a sedentary job–believe it or not, those did exist–they often had to still do a bit of manual labor such as carrying wood or other household tasks.
As a result, few men of the era weren’t fit as a fiddle. Those who took up arms to fend off the British didn’t need physical training when they went to war. Their PT was called “life.”
Today, we don’t really get that. I mean, I make my living sitting on the couch. I could, theoretically, function by only getting up to go to the bathroom. That’s the glory of modern technology.
Unfortunately, it makes us soft. It makes it so we couldn’t fend off a threat to our nation from afar. Hell, some days I’m convinced we couldn’t fend off a wet paper bag. You know, as a nation.
That means we probably should at least get our collective butts in better physical condition.
Back in the day, dueling was a thing. People took ideas like honor seriously. They embraced it and held it dearly. As a result, those who insulted that honor had to be dealt with, even if that meant risking your life.
Today, people often lack honor. We acknowledge that anyone entering into a handshake agreement is a fool, but did you ever think about why that is?
The reason is the lack of honor in this day and age. Honorable people don’t need contracts to fulfill an agreement. They do as they should because it’s the right thing to do. If they insist on a contract, it’s only so everyone understands what’s expected. The contract isn’t what keeps them honest, they’re honest regardless.
The thing is, those days ended relatively recently. It wasn’t all that long ago that you could expect someone to hold to a handshake agreement…more or less.
Years ago, my grandfather entered such an agreement with someone–oddly enough, a relative of my now wife–who broke that agreement. There was nothing legally he could do, but it was still rare that such things happened.
Today, if you make a business deal, there had better be something in writing. Those old days are over.
And that’s a pity.
While many people lived in town and lived a life of relative comfort because of that, many others knew how to take care of themselves. They could grow their own food, tend their own animals, hunt, fish, build furniture, build their own homes, repair tools, and many other things that were required to function. They didn’t actually need town all that much.
Today, people freak out if their wifi goes down. They’re completely lost without cable television or the internet. Don’t even get me started on what happens if they can’t get a cell phone signal.
People have lost that self-reliance. Most people live close to a town and take advantage of that, even rural folks. Admittedly, thanks to modern transportation, the definition of “close to town” has changed a great deal, but the point stands.
Many hunters, myself included, use professional processors to handle the game they harvest. Few people grow their own food and most who do only supplement what they buy rather than providing it exclusively.
It’s rare to find someone who can build their own home from the ground up. Hell, it’s rare to find someone who can competently repair things in their own home.
Now part of that is homes are far more advanced than they used to be, but that’s far from all of it. Even building a primitive cabin is beyond most folks.
In other words, we completely rely on others for our survival. For the most part, that’s not an issue, but the idea troubles the hell out of me. After all, what if the unthinkable happens and the society we rely on falls apart?
No, it’s not likely to happen, but it may happen, and that’s enough for me.
Back in those days, people knew how to fight an enemy. They didn’t hesitate to put an attacker down permanently, be it hostile native or highwayman. They shot when warranted and didn’t deal with a whole lot of fallout in a clear-cut case of self-defense.
And heaven forbid the British threaten your country because then the idea of self-defense took on even greater importance.
Today, that’s still the case in some places. Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground states allow people to act in self-defense or the defense of others, but even that doesn’t necessarily prevent you from prosecution. In some places, even defending your life will earn you ridicule and have people criticize your decision to prioritize your life over that of a degenerate scumbag (not in the United States, so far as I’m aware of. Thankfully).
Self-defense was understood to be a natural human right and no one disputed that reality. It wasn’t even a topic of discussion because no one in their right mind would argue against it. Of course you could defend yourself.
Today, in parts of this country, there exists something called a “duty to retreat.” In other words, if faced with a threat, you’re required to try and get away first, using self-defense only as a last resort.
While they were at it, why not just neuter the entire human race?
Those men who stood at Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, Cowpens, and numerous other battles would have looked in askance at anyone who tried to explain that you should be obligated to try and run from a lethal threat if at all possible, rather than simply defending yourself.
Now, most of my comments revolve around the men of the era, mostly because they were the ones who fought the American Revolution. That said, let’s not think of the women as weak. Not by today’s standards, at least.
Women on the frontier had to shoot as well as any man and often had to fight Indian attacks just as valiantly as the men. After all, it’s like they were necessarily going to be spared. They were tough in ways many of today’s people–not just women, but men as well–just can’t measure up to.
These are the people who helped us gain our independence as a nation. As a result of that, we can arguably credit them with making it possible to stop the Nazis.
Alright, that’s probably debatable at best. That said, they did make it so this country could exist, and I’m damn proud to live in their shadow.
Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans. To any British readers, um…better luck next revolution?