Independence Day, July 4th, 2020
Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is the United States of America. I was born on July 4, 1776, conceived in freedom and liberty. That freedom has brought millions to my shores to cast their lot with me. It has also given human incentive its widest scope.
Now, just 244 years later, I am a diverse, multilingual country that is bound together by a single language, English. The dominant language of the business world, of the Internet world, and the second language for most of the world. Who would have believed that 60% of the world’s radio broadcasts would be in English? That 70% of the world’s mail is addressed in English? That 85% of all international telephone conversations and 80% of all the data in the several hundred million computers in the world is in English? English is one of my most strategic assets.
I am a country where everyone belongs, and everyone deserves a chance. America is just another name for opportunity. There are no unimportant people because everyone is created in the image of God. Every person has significance. My incomparable land is blessed by nature with protective oceans and superabundant resources. But resources do not make a nation, people do. When creative and hard-working people are dedicated to the proposition of liberty, anything can happen – and often does. From the Atlantic Ocean in the East to the Pacific Ocean in the West, I look comfortably in every direction to the three key markets of the world—Europe, Asia, and all of the Americas. My local economy consists of a dozen different regional economies, all bound together by a single currency, the dollar. For much of my history I have been the world’s largest free trade area, where both goods and entrepreneurs could travel freely without worrying about the tariffs and regulations that governments regularly impose to plague trade and enterprise.
My diverse innovative and efficient capital markets are the envy of the world. I do not tolerate secrecy. My markets are fully transparent, and my listed companies file timely earnings reports. It all works because the rule of the game is the rule of law, and our generally accepted accounting procedures allow everyone to keep track and keep score. My property rights protection system is the envy of the world.
I have a deeply rooted entrepreneurial culture and a tax system that allows risk-takers to keep much of what they make. A mere fifty-thousand dollar loan to a budding entrepreneur with a great idea might result in the next Microsoft®. Even my tiny state of Massachusetts has a bigger venture capital industry than all of Europe put together. To encourage entrepreneurial risk-taking, I have a system of bankruptcy laws that actually encourages people who fail to get up and start over again. One of America’s glories is not in failing, but in giving people another chance when they do. Success in America is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. Failures are, after all, the evidence of action. Of people doing something, willing to experiment and take risks. The idea is to learn from the mistakes of others because you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
Theodore Roosevelt, my 26th president said this: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
From day one, I’ve accepted new immigrants from any country in the world and treated them as constitutional equals. I have always believed in differentiation, not uniformity. My open doors have siphoned the best intellects in the world to American companies, universities and medical centers. Many of my engineers and scientists are foreign-born immigrants. To be Russian you have to be born Russian; to be German you have to be born German. But to be American, you only have to say I desire to be an American.
Yes, freedom is the mainspring of economic prosperity, and I have lived with freedom and limited government longer than anyone else. And yes, freedom does produce incomprehensible wealth. But my history is more than just that. It is also the story of power that went into the world to protect, but not possess. To defend, but not conquer. For when I see a defeated enemy, I bind its wounds, feed its children, and give it billions of dollars to restore itself to an honorable place among the nations of the world. A nation’s character, after all, is the sum of its splendid deeds. I have abolished slavery, lifted countless people out of poverty, instituted more humanitarian campaigns against hunger and human suffering than any other, and focused enormous attention on human rights, personal dignity and freedom. If you compare that record with the actual histories of both ancient and contemporary societies, America might not be the best conceivable society, but it might very well be the best society that has ever existed.
Is there any room for complacency? Not at all. One hundred years ago, Great Britain stood at the pinnacle of world power. The sun never set on the British Empire. A few generations later, her power and economic leadership were eclipsed. That could easily happen to me. With humility, Americans must realize that complacency toward the defense of freedom and limited government could take us from boom-to-bust as surely as the dusk follows the dawn.
After the Declaration of Independence was signed, Virginia statesman John Page wrote to Thomas Jefferson, “We know the race is not to the swift-nor the battle to the strong. But do you think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm?”
The world continues to watch that storm – sometimes admiringly, sometimes grudgingly, and often with both love and envy in their hearts. But whatever they see, they see a work not finished, because my history is His story, filling time and eternity with His purpose.
As we soar through the twenty-first century, my desire is to be the best hope for the human race. Once merely a thrilling idea without a speck of a chance, freedom is now a seed sewn upon the wind and sprouting everywhere. And yes, my friend, an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs each storm.
From all of us at True Wealth & Company, we wish you and yours a safe and Happy Independence Day!