Four score and lots more years ago, a document was brought forth claiming structural/corporate independence. A colony experiencing distance and discrimination declared a right to self-govern. Essentially immediately, that colony distanced and discriminated against Slaves, Indigenous Peoples, and Women.
The basic economic injustice that was occurring – continued with classes just as distinct in a nascent democracy as in an established monarchy. Names and titles changed. The circle of who is independent of whom grew beyond a colonized setting. It took a while, but we finally came to a Haloed 1% and an extension of personhood to corporations, rather than to disadvantaged peoples.
It wasn’t long before another claim of independence came, and there was a civil war over people as property. Though that war came to an end, it has not ended. A cold civil war continues.
Over time, the light of declared independence was kept alive in name and claim but began to be a bully by claiming an entitlement to control the economy of other nations. Which is to say, it kidded itself and its citizens into accepting marauding as an act of independence engaged in with neutral-to-beneficent intentions to bring others more prosperity.
Inherent in the initial setup — what is portrayed as a way to deepen local interdependence keeps playing out as a way to increase one group at the expense of another. Independence became known as a zero-sum game. The means of benefiting one’s self came with an “Oh so sorry for you” result of extended poverty.
Independence has always had a dark side. Its inherent defect is that my independence (be it personal or tribal or national) requires a limit on your liberty. Were it otherwise, there would be no power component to independence.
In these days, hyper-individualism on the personal level most clearly shows up in leaders reveling in non-responsibility, and their encouragement to “you and them fight” (meaning setting the states against one another in 50 civil wars). It also is revealed through those instigated to bring AR-15s to a virus fight. The weaponry is simply ineffective against a common threat. Neither Dan’l Boone nor Annie Oakley could bring down a virus. Imagine microscopes, CRISPRs, and scientific inquiry bearing the same headline weight as something as old-fashioned as might-makes-right.
A parallel declaration of dependence is needed to bring more health to our lives and that of earth. Without recognizing the value and virtue of some form of shared resources (taxation, among others) and interconnection of lives, independence keeps claiming that my well-being requires your resources. May we enhance our independence by knowing its limit — No humility, no glory.