It seems that people need enemies in order to define themselves. Without someone evil to be against, how can you say that you’re a good person? How can you know that what you’re doing is right without someone doing the wrong thing?
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.
So begins the Declaration of Independence. On the fourth of July 1776 as America declared independence from Britain, King George III wrote a simple four word entry in his diary, supposedly a response to the declaration – “Nothing Important Happened Today”. This is an established fact, taught in many American history classes (if only as an anecdote to show how the declaration was received by the British tyrants of that time), featuring in a two part X Files storyline and having dozens of websites pass the story on into infinity. There’s something very important that we can learn from that story. Even kings can miss something monumental if they aren’t paying attention. You can be the greatest mind in the world, but if you’re looking the other way then how can you tell that the world has changed?
I could dispute all this simply by pointing out that the internet obviously didn’t exist back then and it would have taken weeks for George to have learned about the Americas declaring independence, meaning that from his point of view nothing important had happened. I could point out that the guy suffered from severe bouts of mental illness (not the last insane George that America would have to deal with) during his reign. Or I could simply point out that out of all the many papers left behind by George the third, a diary isn’t one of them nor known to exist. Yeah, I think I’ll take that route. Whether started as propaganda against the British or created to illustrate a point, the story is false. Why does it enjoy being told so much? I talk a little about that in the boxout to the right.
The odd thing is that a better lesson can be learned from finding out that the story isn’t true, albeit a very similar one. One tiny fact can change reality. The simple fact that George didn’t leave a diary behind immediately marks this story as false, but reinforces the message behind the story. Anybody can miss anything if they’re not looking in the right place at the right time. So many who’ve heard this story will continue to believe in it’s truth, mainly because they’ve never researched it and have just accepted it as fact. They’ve never looked in to the claims they’ve heard, never actively sought the truth, just accepted what they were told by others without question.
We hold these truths to be self-evident…
Today Americans will be celebrating their independence and the freedoms they’ve gained since that time, 233 years ago. One of those freedoms is the freedom to ask questions about anything you’ve previously just accepted on blind faith. I encourage all of my readers, American or not, to do just that, and not just today but every day of your lives. After all, what good is independence if you shackle your mind?