Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Signage at Moore Liquor
Photo credit: Danny Wallace

Today is July 2nd, the anniversary of the date in 1776 on which the Second Continental Congress voted to formally cut legal ties with Great Britain by adopting the Lee Resolution. This momentous event prompted John Adams to write the following to his wife on July 3rd:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more...
Turns out he was only off by a couple of days, because Americans were so taken with the wording of the subsequent declaration of independence to the British that they pretty much disregarded the fact that the colonies had formally voted for independence two days earlier. A cynic might say that the triumph of style over substance in American self-governance took all of 48 hours, but the full story is just a bit more complicated, but we'll not go into it just now.

According to Professor James R. Heintze, one of the first celebrations of the 4th of July took place two years later, in 1778, as "General George Washington direct[ed] his army to put 'green boughs' in their hats, issue[d] them a double allowance of rum, and order[ed] a Fourth of July artillery salute" from his headquarters in New Jersey.

Which brings me to the problem of rum. I'm a fan of rum, especially Puerto Rican rum, and it seems that we Okies cannot buy any rum on July 4th (because it is Independence Day) or on July 3rd (because it is the Lord's Day). So, if I want to celebrate July 4th in grand Washingtonian style, with a double helping of my favorite rum, I've got to get my ass out to the liquor store today. On that note, I'm off to Moore Liquor, because it seems that they alone are willing to publicly condemn the foolishness and irony of celebrating our national independence by curtailing our individual liberties.

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