The highest tribute I can pay to our fallen is to say that they were cut from the mold of the Founding Fathers; that they did not set out to die for their country but rather that they set out to fight for that radical set of ideals that is the United States of America.
So, I’d like to use this Veterans Day post to acknowledge the unsung hero of America’s veterans, the productive American citizen. No military as strong and as competent as America’s can exist in a vacuum. It requires something else - something indispensable – a great economy. Rome fell, it’s statism and corruption rendering its economy unable any longer to support its military defenders. Ditto the socialism-embracing British Empire.
America's economy, historically the most productive society the world has ever seen, is the foundation that supports our military personnel. American taxpayers pay trillions of dollars, American defense contractors invest in and produce the most advanced weaponry in the world, weaponry that American soldiers rely upon to do their jobs and stay alive. American technology produces the high tech means for our intelligence community to gather the information our soldiers need to keep track of the enemy.
What is the foundation of that foundation? What enabled the creation of the economic powerhouse that enabled the creation of our military powerhouse?
In 1776, the Founders of this nation signed the Declaration of Independence, which sanctioned the individual to egoistically pursue his happiness in support of his life, by guaranteeing him a government that protected his unalienable individual rights – his liberty – to act upon his own reasoning mind. That short document unleashed the power of the human mind, possessed individually by every person. The result was an unprecedented explosion of productiveness leading to exploding general prosperity and a standard of living unimaginable by the wealthiest noblemen of centuries past. The cause of that progress is simple: the unleashing of every individual to self-interestedly strive to make his own life the best it can be, by his own effort, and free from the coercive interference of his fellow man. America was built not by sacrifice, as it is fashionable to assume, but by personal achievement.
So, let’s celebrate, along with our vets, the productive American of all income levels. Let’s celebrate the individual pursuit of happiness that is the fuel for that American. Let’s celebrate his willingness to pay for and support the military whose job it is to protect his pursuit of the good life.
Today, the foundation of America’s economic and military might is under intense attack by those who would “fundamentally change America”—a change that, in actuality, has been going on for more than a century. Let’s stand up and reject that “change” from liberty to tyranny, and instead renew our allegiance to the Founding Fathers, who engineered a change from tyranny to liberty. The best tribute one can give to our military veterans is to vow to fight for the rediscovery and reinstatement of the ideals that this country stands for: the supreme value of the individual human being, his freedom, and a government whose sole duty is to protect his right to live and prosper for his own sake.
Because that is what American veterans fought for.
Happy Veterans Day!!
Atlas Shrugged: America's Second Declaration of Independence