The Meaning of 'Independence'

Jay Walljasper reflects on the historical meaning of American independence, and how today's meaning is leading people away from working towards the common good.
August 19, 2008, 10am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"One of the things that most baffles me about America (and I have lived in the middle of it my whole life) is how the word 'independence' is so narrowly defined.

People's economic well-being can be held hostage by oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, HMOs, and other powerful multinational corporations, yet in political debates independence generally mean just one thing: the absence of government regulation, or any kind of joint citizen effort.

I was reminded of this by a headline in the New York Times citing the 'independent streak' of Houston residents for the city's miserably low recycling rate: 2.6 percent, worst in the country, four times less than some others at the bottom of the list like Dallas and Detroit."

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Published on Friday, August 8, 2008 in On The Commons
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