Today is Independence Day in America. Yet, as we eat, drink, be merry and shoot exploding projectiles into the sky, may we never allow our celebratory traditions to obscure the decidedly masculine foundations our present day freedoms have been built upon.
America is exceptional because it was founded by exceptional men. These men were exceptional in their own right for many reasons, not the least of which being their ability to overcome the natural lust for power every man contends with in his spirit, and to do so through the noble desire to live in a land in which all men would be afforded the liberty to pursue happiness on their own terms.
The ideal that drove the 56 exceptional men to sign the Declaration of Independence on this celebrated day back in 1776 was the ideal of sovereignty.
These men were taxed without representation, their private property was plundered without due process, and the English military policed nearly every aspect of their public and private life.
A man can only tolerate living under the oppressive thumb of tyranny for so long before the flames of war engulf him, and he must take back the sovereignty that he – and every man – innately craves.
So it was that our early American ancestors, fueled by an insatiable desire for independence, took up arms and delivered an unexpected, crushing defeat against what was a vastly superior militia.
These men were forced to comprehend the immeasurable value of human sovereignty by the undesirable crucible of tyranny. In fact, through their adversities our Founding Fathers came to understand the value of individual liberty to be so great that they were willing to sign their names on what would turn out to either become a decided declaration of their own sovereignty as men or become their own death warrant.
If you’re reading these words, you already know how that turned out.
Still, even after more than 240 years have passed, on this Independence Day we would do well to ask ourselves what it is to be a sovereign man in our modern times.
As you might have expected, the qualities of sovereign men haven’t changed much over the past two-and-a-half centuries.
A sovereign man doesn’t allow others to police what words he is and isn’t permitted to use in his private or public conversations with others. To speak and think freely, yet also responsibly, is a necessary prerequisite for upholding any and all liberties a man may enjoy in this life.
A sovereign man never chooses to give up his ability to defend himself against outside threats, regardless of what additional promises for security may be presented to him. He well understands that there is none more capable of preserving his life, or the lives of those he is charged with protecting, than himself. Any man that would be willing to sacrifice his own freedom for additional security can expect to receive neither.
The sovereign man doesn’t blame others for the undesirable circumstances in his life. He disciplines himself to do what is necessary to achieve the results he desires, leaving the rest up to his Creator to sort out. Personal responsibility guides his every motive and action. After all, to remove personal responsibility from any free society is to send that society spiraling into chaos.
Personal responsibility acts both inwardly (to yourself) and outwardly (to other people). At its highest level, it is doing the right thing, in the right way, every time. When our nation was founded, our people were personally responsible in this way. There are always some exceptions, but personal responsibility characterized our hard working pioneers. Our Founding Fathers did not usurp the freedom of our people to pursue their own paths to happiness. And it worked: freedom, guided by personal responsibility, produced the highest standard of living ever known and the best and most powerful nation on earth.
Therefore, today as we celebrate the sovereignty America still enjoys as one nation under God (and by His grace), may we also move forward from this day committed to living as sovereign men, pursuing free lives guided by personal responsibility – and expecting nothing less from our fellow man.
Finally, may we never forget, men, there is nothing we can receive in return that is worth the sacrifice of our liberties. For us to give up our sovereignty is to abdicate it in favor of receiving only chains in return.
Perhaps none have stated this truth with greater clarity and conviction than Patrick Henry:
“Gentlemen may cry, ‘Peace, Peace’ but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
Is peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?
The sovereign man answers without hesitation. Do you?
- Craig James (@masculinedesign)
Craig’s Blog: MasculinebyDesign.com
Craig’s Podcast: The Masculine by Design Mancast
Craig’s Book: Deathblow to the Dad Bod