We wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July!

We are all anxious about safety this Fourth,but we celebrate a great and good nation.

Many of of us have heavy hearts and are worried about the future of our country and are gravely aware that these are serious times for those who cherish liberty.

Still, it does good to reflect upon why this is a great country.

American exceptionalism is the theme of Noel Williams' article headlined "America: Shinning City Upon a Hill" in the American Thinker. Williams says that other countries would prefer that we get past that American exceptionalism thinggy:

But we almost can’t help it.  We gained our independence from the British along with a large dose of exceptionalism.  Indeed, in his inspirational “City upon a Hill” sermon in 1630, Puritan minister John Winthrop exhorted future Massachusetts Bay colonists that their new community would be “as a city upon a hill,” watched by the world.  A theme echoed down the centuries including most famously by Ronald Reagan in his farewell address.

American exceptionalism is as embedded in our national ethos as the American Dream.  As we prepare to celebrate another high-spirited Independence Day, let’s remind ourselves how our exceptionalism took root, as it will once again be the bulwark for our “shining city upon a hill.”

During our first hundred years, we expanded across the continent, producing such explorer heroes as Daniel Boone, David Crockett and Lewis and Clark. The United States has been a beacon of liberty to the world and welcomed people from every corner of the world who have come here to  work hard and build new lives.

Unlike almost all nations before us, we were born of an idea–liberty–rather than ethnicity. We should especially remember this today when there is an attempt to tear us apart into different identities. This Fourth of July let us remember that we are all Americans.

Speaking of ideas, Bruce Walker, also in the American Thinker, has a great piece on values-driven conservatism and the Fourth of July.

The Fourth of July is the perfect time for conservatives to recall that we hold to our positions – or at least that we should hold to them – not because conservative principles will help the economy or make us safer or cause government to operate more effectively. 

Markets do produce prosperity in ways that statism does not – but Adam Smith, who pioneered this notion, did not publish his Wealth of Nations until after our Declaration of Independence.  It is a happy byproduct of our love of liberty that liberty helps create wealth, but the men who signed the Declaration of Independence often condemned themselves and their families to poverty because of their value-driven conservatism. 

The way to get rich quick today is to slavishly champion the most awful leftist lies and then rake in money from government awards, contracts, tax-exemption, and the like, or to become a lazy professor writing expensive textbooks that trapped students have to buy…and so on.  (We all know leftists’ obsession with easy money.)

Those men who signed the Declaration of Independence, and even more the men and muskets of unpaid, ordinary Americans who fought the world’s first superpower, the British Empire, certainly were not fighting to be safer.  Those not killed or crammed into ghoulish prison boats or maimed knew that a noose awaited them if their cause lost, as most people thought it would.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and violinist Jenny Oaks Baker have teamed up to produce a video rendition of "Amazing Grace." Ms. Rice is on the piano. Here is a snatch of it for your Fourth.  

And here is a reenactment of the British surrender at Yorktown, when the British played "The World Turned Upside Down" because that is what it was when the puny colony defeated the powerful British empire to win feedom.