Thoughts on Independence

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Today we spent the morning at the Utah Scottish Festival, celebrating my Scottish heritage by listening to bagpipes, watching people by various weapons, wearing a kilt, and eating haggis.  It was a great day, one which I really enjoyed.  At noon they had the Gathering of the Clans, when the Clan representatives march in a parade, proudly hefting their banners and showing their unity in Scottish culture.  It's a grand sight, makes one's Celtic blood heat up in pride.  But it got me thinking:  Scotland was rarely that unified in it's focus.  In fact, they were often fragmented against each other regarding alliances to England, cattle lands, etc.  They fought more against each other than against England.  So where did this idea of "Scotland" come from?First, it came from the idea of Independence.  Not independence from England, though that was a major concern for centuries, but rather independent in their lifestyle.  They loved being responsible for themselves, and would always rebel against any perceived slight to that independence.  So what is independence?  It's being able to be completely self-determinate.  You don't depend on another entity to run your life, or augment your life.  Sadly, this concept is often overlooked when we go about our daily lives.  Are you really independent?  Are you able to take care of your needs, or do you need to rely on external support?For instance, financial independence is one that we all strive for.  Living without credit cards, bank loans, etc. is perhaps the greatest "American Dream", though I'm sure all people everywhere would like this same independence.  The quest for financial independence is often troubled by the need for conveniences.  Traveling quickly and freely, being connected through communication in various forms, and bringing in external amusement and entertainment often make us dependent on one service or another.  Consumptive dependence has become rampant since the creation of the Super Market.  We rely on specialized growers that produce one product, package it, process it, and ship it to us from all over the world.  We don't see the origins of the product, we don't know the grower.  We just know that the product is ready for consumption.  But if something goes wrong, what recourse do we have?  For instance, the nation is currently experiencing a tomato shortage because of a salmonella outbreak.  It's been weeks, and the FDA only knows that it should be from the crops on the East coast, not the West.  That's how dependent and disconnected we are from our food production. Of course, there is also National Independence, or rather a lack of dependence of the Nation on other nations.  The original Independence Day, July 4th, marks our political independence from England.  We could then decide what was best for our nation without another nation showing influence.  Since then we have become dependent on a global economy, particularly in energy, and as such that dependence highly influences our internal politics.  All I hear now regarding the 3rd District Congressional race here in Utah is focus on "Foreign Oil Dependency", high gas prices, and illegal immigration.  Now, I'm not arguing any specific political position.  Lots of people have strong feelings on both sides of any of these issues.  But rather I was focusing on the concept of independence.  At what level can you call yourself independent, whether at a personal, familial, communal, or national level?  What does it mean to be independent, to you?  It's a weekend thought, but one by which I have been troubled.  You tell me:  What do you consider independence?  How would you define an Independent nation?  Perhaps it's something we should think about as we approach the Independence Day holiday on July 4th.