I tell my children all the time: "You are only as free as you are independent."
But what is independence? I'll start by telling you what it isn't: it's not a life lived alone.
All of us rely upon one another. I rely on my client to pay me. My client relies on me to do the work required of me. I rely on my grocer to stock the shelves. My grocer relies on me to purchase groceries.
I choose these relationships of my own free will.
I am not dependent upon my client; I am dependent upon my willingness to search out work and excel at it. If at some point I don't like my client or vice versa, either one of us can terminate the relationship and search out an alternative.
Ditto for buying groceries.
Independence requires alternatives as much as it requires choice. If there is only one grocer in town, then everyone in town is dependent on the grocer, whether the grocer is horrible or not. But once a second grocer opens for business, dependency stops and choice enters the picture.
This is why such notions as "single payer" for health care are anti-American. They allow no alternative, therefore there is no independence, and therefore no freedom.
This is also why a thriving competitive marketplace is the very essence of a free society, and why capitalism is the only moral basis for an economy. At the heart of it all is choice and freedom and independence.
Anytime that society allows the prevention of competition, it stifles the freedom for someone to create a business. This is why regulation can be immoral, and why it is used by some companies as means to limit the playing field.
Too many people have bought into the meme that competition-stifling, non-transparent corporations represent capitalism. They don't. Generally, these companies are in bed with the government itself, using regulation and zoning and other government constructs to create hurdles before would-be competition.
Consider sport, which is only as healthy and exciting as the competition is robust. Americans should crave "single payer" and other non-competitive solutions as much as they should crave a single-team National Football League. Who would be a fan of the singular team? Who would attend? Who would care? While I am sure there are those would relish the idea that no injuries can occur when there is no opposition, football would wither and die - just as commerce withers and dies when government fosters non-competition.
Competition allows for choice, and individual choice is at the heart of independence. When people are free to choose for themselves, they are independent.
On this Independence Day, celebrate competition - and crave freedom.