Jewish World ReviewJuly 2, 1999 /18 Tamuz, 5759
The Fourth of July
THE FOURTH OF JULY is more than the commemoration of America's independence. It commemorates the beginning not
only of a new country, but of a new kind of society, in which the common man achieved a degree of freedom and opportunity
undreamed of in any other country before.
That is why the emergence of America attracted international attention and the war which led to American
independence was begun with what was aptly called "the shot heard round the world."
The echoes of that shot continue to be heard around the world to this day. The worldwide significance of the American
revolution led to France's donating the Statue of Liberty on the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of this country that
had led the fight for the rights and freedom of ordinary people. Its international symbolism is also why a replica of that statue
was used by those fighting for such rights in China's Tiananmen Square a decade ago.
The only people who seem not to understand the worldwide significance of American society are our own intelligentsia.
To them the Fourth of July is at best an embarrassment, if not something to sneer at. The flag-waving, the proud speeches
and the Horatio Alger stories are just part of a nationalist "myth," as far as the intellectuals are concerned.
They could not be more wrong. The prosperity that we -- and they -- enjoy today is in large part a product of many,
many real-life Horatio Alger stories about ordinary people who rose from humble circumstances to achieve success for
themselves by creating a more abundant life for millions of other Americans.
Why are the masses of ordinary people in this country able to drive automobiles? Because Henry Ford, who began
work at lowly jobs to support himself as a teenager, eventually rose to create efficient mass-production techniques that
brought a luxury of the rich within the means of the masses.
Why do airplanes exist? Because two bicycle mechanics from Ohio, who never went to college, got the first plane off
the ground on a beach in North Carolina, while others around the world were still trying to iron out the bugs.
was not the invention or production of a new product that was crucial. Figuring out efficient methods of distribution is what
brought the prices of many goods and services down to a level where millions of people could afford them.
beginning of the 1930s, most American homes did not have refrigerators but, by the end of that decade, most did. One of the
things that made this possible was that the Sears department store chain was able to sell refrigerators at less than half of what
they had cost before. A more efficient distribution system made this possible, not only for refrigerators, but for many other
products and services, ranging from stoves to automobile insurance.
The man who founded Sears did not come from an elite background. Neither did the founders of such rival stores as
Montgomery Ward and J.C. Penney. Nor did Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, John Jacob Astor or
David Sarnoff. None of them went to college and all of them began working as teenagers in lowly occupations, the kind our
clever and smug intellectuals like to call "dead-end jobs."
There are no dead-end jobs. There are only dead-end people-- and most Americans do not fall into that category.
Economics is not everything, nor even the main thing. America symbolizes, above all, freedom and opportunity for
ordinary people. That is what makes it a beacon to those in other lands who are seeking freedom and opportunity.
this individual independence that attracts others is also what turns off the intelligentsia. Those convinced of their own
superiority and itching to run other people's lives -- "making a differences," as it is called -- can never feel comfortable in a
country where other people can live their own lives in their own way, without bending the knee to the environmentalists, the
radical feminists and all the other self-anointed saviors and avengers.
These smug elites are not overtly plotting the repeal of the American revolution. They are just dismantling it piece by
piece, in pursuit of their own particular goals.
No wonder the Fourth of July makes the intelligentsia uncomfortable. It celebrates the revolution that gave ordinary
people freedom from the rampaging presumptions of their
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©1999, Creators Syndicate