EDITORIAL: Thanks for the memory

It’s the ‘special relationship’ that still matters most

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Today’s the day Americans groove on a diet of hot dogs and belly wash, marvel at the fireworks lighting the night sky and reflect, if only a little, on all America has achieved. The occasion naturally stirs patriotic sentiment for everything that makes Lincoln’s “exceptional nation” exceptional: the rule of law, the vote that confers individual sovereignty, and universal respect for civil liberties. It’s more important than ever to appreciate where some of those things came from. Independence Day or not, some of the ideas that made America great came from the old country.

It’s fitting to note that when he was writing the Declaration of Independence, his tour de force, Thomas Jefferson was influenced most by “Two Treatises of Government,” by John Locke, the English philosopher who focused his attention on natural rights before he died seven decades before 1776. Jefferson’s most memorable line was straight from Locke: “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.” This is also directly from Locke: “The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker.” (Punctuation Locke‘s.)

The key point in both works, especially relevant today, is that government derives its power from the consent of the governed, and when that no longer obtains, it will be time to try something else. Despite occasional frustrations on both sides of the Atlantic, the United States and Great Britain have together stood as one to protect the individual and each other, first against the Nazi evil and then against the viral evil of global communism.

The military muscle of these cousins helped keep (or restore) peace for two centuries, and finally the baton was handed from London to Washington. “When Britain could no longer maintain the Pax Britannica,” writes H.W. Crocker III in “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire,” “it became the Pax Americana.”

President Obama called France America’s best friend and strongest ally, and though it’s true that France bakes the best croissant and makes some of the best wines, such deliberate misreading of history exposes the president’s scorn for the “special relationship” that has nurtured and protected the free world for more than a hundred years. It’s a kinship and a friendship based on shared culture, faith and ideals more than military power, and it’s good to remember that on Independence Day.

The Washington Times

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts