by Dan Sanchez
Lawrence Reed, from his 2003 essay “The True Meaning of Patriotism”:
“I subscribe to a patriotism rooted in ideas that in turn gave birth to a country, but it’s the ideas that I think of when I’m feeling patriotic. I’m a patriotic American because I revere the ideas that motivated the Founders and compelled them, in many instances, to put their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line.
What ideas? Read the Declaration of Independence again. Or, if you’re like most Americans these days, read it for the very first time. It’s all there. All men are created equal. They are endowed not by government but by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Premier among those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government must be limited to protecting the peace and preserving our liberties, and doing so through the consent of the governed. It’s the right of a free people to rid themselves of a government that becomes destructive of those ends, as our Founders did in a supreme act of courage and defiance more than two hundred years ago.
Call it freedom. Call it liberty. Call it whatever you want, but it’s the bedrock on which this nation was founded and from which we stray at our peril. It’s what has defined us as Americans. It’s what almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet has yearned for. It makes life worth living, which means it’s worth fighting and dying for.”
Leonard Read, from his 1961 speech, “The Essence of Americanism”:
“I do not think of the real American revolution as the armed conflict we had with King George III. That was a reasonably minor fracas as such fracases go! The real American revolution was a novel concept or idea which broke with the whole political history of the world.
Up until 1776 men had been contesting with each other, killing each other by the millions, over the age-old question of which of the numerous forms of authoritarianism—that is, man-made authority—should preside as sovereign over man. And then, in 1776, in the fraction of one sentence written into the Declaration of Independence was stated the real American Revolution, the new idea, and it was this: “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.” That was it. This is the essence of Americanism. This is the rock upon which the whole “American miracle” was founded.”
Ayn Rand, from her 1946 essay “Textbook of Americanism”:
“The basic principle of the United States of America is Individualism.
America is built on the principle that Man possesses Inalienable Rights;
- that these rights belong to each man as an individual—not to “men” as a group or collective;
- that these rights are the unconditional, private, personal, individual possession of each man—not the public, social, collective possession of a group;
- that these rights are granted to man by the fact of his birth as a man—not by an act of society;
- that man holds these rights, not from the Collective nor for the Collective, but against the Collective—as a barrier which the Collective cannot cross;
- that these rights are man’s protection against all other men;
- that only on the basis of these rights can men have a society of freedom, justice, human dignity, and decency.”