Today is America’s birthday. It was 242 years ago that the world witnessed the official creation of a country based on Enlightenment values. I say that, because America is the byproduct of the supreme value of the Enlightenment — reason.
The principles embraced in her brilliant Constitution were written there by men of the Enlightenment. Those men realized that reason and its political corollaries of individual rights and freedom from government coercion were all necessary components of the optimal state, in which citizens had the best chance to thrive.
Well, nearly two and a half centuries later, America remains the epitome of what Dr. Steven Pinker calls “Enlightenment Now,” i.e. a country based on reason and respect for the individual.
So, on this Fourth of July, I’ve decided to reprint a story originally published on March 21, which provides further detail on the Enlightenment values presented in Dr. Pinker’s book and how these values are at the core of what has always made America great.