Thursday, July 5, 2018

MassMutual’s Vile Trivialization of Americanism

Page A7 of the July 4, 2018 edition of the New Jersey Star-Ledger features a paid advertisement from a major American insurance company. Under a reprint of The Declaration of Independence, MassMutual posted:

1,458 words and not one of them is “me,” “I,” or “my.”

Just like our company, America was founded by people who believed in being there for each other. Happy Independence Day.

The Founding Fathers empowered each and every one of us to stand up and declare, “I’m no one’s slave.” “I’m no one’s subject.” “I’m subordinate to no master, or King, or chief, or priest, or dictator, or neighbor.” “I have the unalienable right to my own life and the liberty to pursue my own happiness according to what I believe is best for me.” No one can take that freedom away from me by declaring his entitlement to have me “there for him.” That is America’s shining message to the oppressed of the world. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” beckons Lady Liberty in New York Harbor. The “I” is the only protection we have against any aspiring tyrant.

That is America. That is Americanism. It’s all about the “I”—Individualism—not the We—collectivism. That is what binds us together as Americans. That is what makes anyone who honors those ideals Americans, even those who have never set foot in America—as Neil Diamond sang: “Everywhere around the world, they’re coming to America. Every time that flag’s unfurled, they’re coming to America.”

If not, then on what grounds does one fight against anyone who seeks to march one off to some gulag, gas chamber, or sacrificial altar to God or country? “I have my rights?” But that is the province of the “me,” the “I,” the “my.” It says it right there, in the very words of the document that lead off the advertisement:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Yet, here is one of America’s great companies, the very product of individual freedom, telling us that the plain words of the Declaration of Independence don’t mean what they plainly mean. MassMutual undermines this foundation of America in one cheesie commercial slogan.


The best way of “being there for each other”—and of celebrating Independence Day—is to respect each other’s basic dignity and individual rights to live by her own judgement for the sake of his own values, goals, and happiness; that is, to respect that each of us is first and foremost a “me,” an “I,” and a “my.”

Related Reading:

The Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776: Words that Will Never Be Erased

The Declaration of Independence Is the Moral and Legal Foundation of America by Timothy Sandefur for The Objective Standard

What to Celebrate on Independence Day by Craig Biddle for The Objective Standard

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