The Fourth of July is also called Independence Day.

“Independence”—as in “The Declaration of Independence”—meant that we had severed our ties with England and were autonomous, although it took many long years of struggle before we established our own government and its Constitution.

But “independence” also has a more general meaning that is, well, somewhat independent of that, with synonyms such as “self–sufficiency, self-dependence, self-reliance, self-subsistence, self-support” and antonyms such as “dependence.”

Of course, in some sense we are all dependent on each other; no man (or woman) is an island.

But there is a growing feeling in this country that we have a right to ask, or even to demand, of other people that they take care of us, not of their own free will as voluntary charity, but as a matter of law and compulsion. And not only when we are in dire straights—struck by serious hardships outside of our control—but also if we don’t happen to have as much money as they do, or as much as we would want, or if we just don’t feel like working.

Sometimes it seems as though some are celebrating Independence Day while others are celebrating Dependence Day.

And I’m by no means talking about one ethnic group or another. I’m talking about a mindset that knows no boundaries of that sort, and which has grown in recent decades to encompass vast portions of the populace. It’s a mindset that could very well destroy us if we run out of other people’s money.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]