Posts tagged ‘Every Independence Day’

Missing the Point on July 4: The Right to Vote Was Not The Main Achievement in 1776

From my column in Forbes this week, an update of a regular feature here in the past:

Every Independence Day, I am struck by how poor an understanding Americans have as to what the Revolution of 1776 was really all about.  For example, I would bet that a depressing number of people in this country, when asked what their most important freedom was, or what made America great, would answer “the right to vote.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, the right to vote in a representative democracy is useful and has proven a moderately effective (but far from perfect) check on creeping statism.  A democracy, however, can still be tyrannical.  After all, Hitler was voted into power in Germany, and without checks, majorities in a democracy would be free to vote away anything it wanted from the minority – their property, their liberty, even their life.    In the US today, majorities routinely vote to take money from or impose their will upon various minorities.

In my mind, there are at least three founding principles of the United States that are far more important than the right to vote:

What three?  You will have to click through to find out.  Have a great July 4 weekend.  Happy 235, United States!