Fourth of July protest Americans in Dallas protest the United States on the Fourth of July. (Rex C. Curry/Associated Press/The Dallas Morning News)

Sooo . . . about that revolution. Paul Pirie wrote on Thursday — America’s birthday, when we all sing and gather on hillsides to watch explosions and honor our heroes and eat a bunch of meat and generally feel good about America — that our Declaration of Independence was perhaps a little hubristic, and it’s possible that the English colonies that didn’t have big revolutionary wars are doing better in the whole liberty-and-pursuit-of-happiness thing.

According to happiness indices and incarceration rates, we’re not doing as well as, say, Canada. Thus, Pirie says, the Revolution was . . . a flop.

And, lo, there was controversy. PostScript was surprised to see commenters being even less rah-rah, go America than Pirie. Such as in this exchange:


Jefferson and Adams died on the same day of 4th of July, hours apart. Very strange.


Poetic justice for those traitorous dogs!!!

Donald Fields

Those two more than any I can think of are responsible for introducing the poisonous atmosphere of partisan politics. They were patriots only in the loosest definition of the word.

Controversy! PostScript warned you.

Centsorsense thinks Pirie’s findings are recent phenomena. America was doing much better in 1993, or maybe Canada was doing worse:

This was a more fun article than I was expecting. I am an American who loves irony, and even a bit of sarcasm.
I also appreciate the comparison of America to the nations of the British Commonwealth. Twenty years ago, we were in a better place than any of those nations, and now we clearly are behind. It would be a good time for self reflection. Instead I will eat hot dogs. But it would be a good time for it.

fiveman3 argues that liberty and pursuit of happiness notwithstanding, America has done a lot of cool stuff (seriously, what would rock ‘n’ roll be if it originated in Canada?):

Mr. Pirie, the next time you look up at the Moon, remember, there is one flag on the Moon: the American flag.

And jeffdc1 says choosing to focus on the liberty only of American people themselves, rather than, say, 20th-century Europe, tilts the evidence unacceptably:

Nice to assume (implicitly, of course) that, without the American Revolution, every good thing that has come out of the United States (winning WWI and WWII, the innumerable vaccines that U.S. doctors have developed, the innumerable inventions that U.S. citizens have created, moon and deep space exploration, etc.) would still have happened, yet all of the bad aspects of our society and our history would have never happened. All of the good and none of the bad simply as a result of pledging fidelity and allegiance to a so-called God appointed monarch.

And rbothwell1 politely chimes in, most Canadianly:

Oh dear, well, as a Canadian historian, I have to say that Canadians and Americans resemble each other more than any two nationalities on earth. And, frankly, that includes characteristics good and bad, some of which have been amply demonstrated in the comments on this little article. We wish our neighbours and cousins a happy 4th of July, and let that be an end to it.

There we go. No American Revolution, and we’d be writing things like “neighbours” and there’d be a worldwide shortage of the letter U. Consider the matter settled. U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!