Observing Independence Day

Paul Revere rode through the streets of Medford and Lexington shouting, “The Redcoats are coming! Hurry to Boston to let them search your possessions and put on a fireworks show!” Well … At least that’s what our assorted governmental units want you to think the American Revolution was about. Here’s how Boston “celebrated freedom” last night (the event was moved up a day due to the weather):


There are two secured areas for the event — the Oval and the Island. You will be required to pass through a bag/screening entrance to these areas and will receive a wristband specifically for that area. …

Prohibited Items:

No backpacks, shopping bags, or similar type containers

No coolers on wheels (coolers must be carried by a shoulder strap)

No firearms, weapons, sharp objects, or fireworks

No glass containers

No cans

No alcohol or pre-mixed beverages

All liquids will be carried in sealed clear plastic containers and cannot exceed 2 liters in size

No grilling, propane tanks, or open flames

No unattended bags

No bicycles will be allowed through the checkpoints

Allowed Items:

All personal items must be carried in clear bags (Wondering about purses and diaper bags? Here is what Mass. State Police Media Relations Director David Procopio told us in an email: “Small purses are fine to carrying into the Esplanade, and diaper bags also should be fine, within reason. We will use our discretion, but if we are satisfied at the checkpoint that it is a standard diaper bag, that will be okay.”

If you wanted to celebrate the surveillance state, you could have had a great time last night on the Charles. If you still have the weird notion that July 4 is about celebrating freedom, you probably stayed away, but there are lots of ways to celebrate Independence Day today. Here are just a few thoughts:

  • Got a “Don’t tread on me” or “Live free or die” cap or T-shirt? This would be a good day to wear it.
  • The movie 1776 is always worth watching, and there are lots of other liberty-themed movies. If it’s not to your taste, there are lots of other liberty-themed movies to choose from. Here’s a list from the Mises Institute and some suggestions from David Boaz at Cato. I’m not much of a movie-watcher, so I can’t vouch for these recommendations; just treat them as a starting point for research.
  • Do something that’s illegal but doesn’t violate anyone’s rights.
  • Get together with friends, sing songs of freedom, and discuss the American Revolution.
  • Leave a comment here with other suggestions.

Happy Independence Day!

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4 Responses to “Observing Independence Day”

  1. Eyal Mozes Says:

    Happy Independence Day!

    I very much agree with your assessment of “celebration” in Boston.

    I have to frankly say, though, that I am very surprised by your positive comment about the movie 1776. This movie (and the Broadway musical it was based on) are devoted to denigrating and ridiculing the character and personalities of the founding fathers. It’s reasonable to expect a movie or play based on historical events to have some historical inaccuracies; but in 1776, the inaccuracies all seem aimed at one purpose: gratuitously introducing “humanizing” flaws to make the founding fathers look either contemptible or ridiculous. (This is similar to a criticism you’ve made about the Lord Of The Rings movies; I thought your criticism was unfair to these movies, but whatever your view on that, surely this is true much more blatantly for 1776.)

    For just one example, consider the scene in which James Wilson, unable to make up his mind whether he supports independence or not, chooses to go along with the vote for independence in order to avoid the responsibility of standing alone. This is worse than an historical inaccuracy; it is a grave injustice to an important founding father. And what purpose does it serve? The only purpose is to introduce a “humanizing” flaw in making Wilson look contemptible, and (since Independence required unanimity, making Wilson’s vote the deciding one) to pretend that American independence was the product of the decisions of contemptible people. This is maybe the single worst example, and it is the one that stuck in my mind most strongly; but there are many other similar ones throughout the movie.

    I don’t see much value in watching the movie at all (I don’t think it’s much good musically either), but for those who wish to watch it, I’d say Independence Day is the least suitable day for it.

    • Gary McGath Says:

      It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie, so I won’t try to say whether my recollection is overly rose-tinted. I enjoyed it a lot at the time.

    • Gary McGath Says:

      I ended up watching “Shenandoah,” which David Boaz said “is often regarded as the best libertarian film Hollywood ever made.” It has some very good scenes, though it’s rather rambling and not a “libertarian film” by any reasonable definition.

      Also, I just fixed the link to Boaz’s list, after noticing I had the Mises link twice.

  2. Eyal Mozes Says:

    By the way, I’m a little more than half-way through Glenn Greenwald’s No Place To Hide. One thing I decided to do to commemorate Independence Day is to make sure to finish this book today.

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