Happy Birthday to the greatest country in the world, and the greatest political and economic system humans have ever known. It isn't perfect, but it sure is the best we've got. Not only do people in the U.S. live better and more productively than people elsewhere, but we actively help everyone everywhere to live better. The U.S. econopolitical system is truly a rising tide raising all boats.
And I just want to wish a special Happy Fourth to all the men and women serving in our armed forces, (especially including my daughter Nicole :), for all you do to keep us and our ideals safe.
Victor Davis Hanson wrote a great article recently called Winning After All, about the amazing progress we've made:
"If on the evening of September 11th, an outside observer had predicted that the following would transpire in two years, he would have been considered unhinged: Saddam Hussein gone with the wind; democratic birth pangs in Iraq; the Taliban finished and Mr. Karzai attempting to create constitutional government; Yasser Arafat ostracized by the American government and lord of a dilapidated compound; bin Laden either dead or leading a troglodyte existence; all troops slated to leave Saudi Arabia - and by our own volition, not theirs; Iran and Syria apprehensive rather than boastful about their own promotion of terror; and the Middle East worried that the United States is both unpredictable in its righteous anger and masterful in its use of arms, rather than customarily irresolute and reactive."
Just think about that. It is easy to lose sight of the great accomplishments we've made in the everyday details. Not that everything has gone perfectly. But we won again, and again, and again; the superiority of our econopolitical system is proven by events time after time.
[ Later: Boing Boing excerpted the Declaration of Independence. Like most of you, I've read it many times, but not lately, and not for content. Please click through and read it, I found it quite moving. ]
I celebrated the Fourth today by doing what I always do - sailing. The Westlake Yacht Club traditionally sponsors a 'round the island race, followed by a boat parade. Racing around Westlake Island requires passing under a low bridge - you have to capsize to pass underneath - and it is a great way to cool off and have fun.
It sure is wonderful to live in a country where your biggest worry is sailing under a low bridge, and the most dangerous weapons you'll encounter are water-balloon launchers :)