When the Fourth of July rolls around, we Americans like to celebrate our “independence.” It is one of the virtues this great country was based upon, right?
We believe Susan B. Anthony’s assertion that “Independence is happiness.” We believe Ayn Rand’s definition of freedom when she noted, “Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.”
That has gotta be wrong. In 1776 we declared our independence from Great Britain’s governance, sure. But that was only possible because we Americans were so reliably dependent on each other.
This country wasn’t made of self-sufficient individuals who never needed a damn thing from anyone else. This is a country that was made of families who worked farms together. And little towns of people each contributing their share to the local economy. And churches that worshiped and helped those in need.
We forget that part, don’t we? But we live that bit in military life. In honor of this Independence Day, I’ve found some quotes about independence that put a new light on the subject.
“Independence? That’s middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.” George Bernard Shaw.
“Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency.” Mahatma Gandhi.
“The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.” Pope John Paul II
“In the progress of personality, first comes a declaration of independence, then a recognition of interdependence.” Henry Van Dyke.
“I’m not so much big on independence as I am on interdependence. I’m not talking about co-dependency. I’m talking about giving people the opportunity of practicing love with its sleeves rolled up.” Joni Eareckson Tada
“It you think Independence Day is America’s defining holiday, think again. Thanksgiving deserves that title, hands-down.” Tony Snow.
So what do you think: Is independence the virtue it is cracked up to be?