We teach our children The Principle of Human Freedom. We teach our children that to be free to choose we must accept responsibility for our choices. To accept responsibility for our choices means we accept our current condition of life or we choose to change it. As we make our choices in pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness; we recognize we must work hard and earn our own way. As we compete to improve our lives we must treat our fellow Human Beings with Dignity, Respect and Fairness. In return we expect to be treated also with the same Dignity, Respect and Fairness.
Setting The Stage: Freedom - "Give me liberty or give me death."
First and foremost there is the belief that all people are to be free. Freedom or Liberty is the fundamental American Family Value. Freedom is the opposite of Slavery. The terms Freedom and Liberty can be used interchangeably in this context. Freedom is a condition of life where an individual is afforded the opportunity to choose one's next action. With Freedom comes the responsibility to care for one's self; for it is the freedom of choice that carries with it the responsibility to accept the consequences of the choices made.
If we are unwilling to accept the responsibility to make our choices and accept the consequences of our choices, then someone else must take the responsibility and make the choices for us. The result is a loss of Freedom. The end-state of loss of Freedom is Slavery: Slavery to another human beings wishes and choices. Without individual responsibility there can be no Individual Freedom! Read The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights. These Documents of Freedom describe a way of life for Free Individuals who take full responsibility for the consequences of their decisions.
Where There is More Than One Free Individual: A Free Society
Where more than one individual is involved, Freedom takes on a different character with additional responsibilities. When a choice made by one Free individual affects another Free individual, both must be considered in some fashion. There must be some way to limit the extent of the choices made by one Free individual if they live in the presence of another Free individual and their choices impact the other. We each expect to be treated with dignity and with respect. If we expect this treatment then we must treat others with the same dignity and respect.
The notion of Fairness is another Value that now enters into the picture. Fairness may be described as not favoring one individual more than another, just, honest, playing by the rules. See our Competition Page. All of these descriptions of fairness describe Freedom of choice being limited where there is an effect on other individuals. This is where the concept of the Common Good comes into play. The interpretation of where individual Freedom ends and the Common Good begins has been the subject of endless political debate in this country.
As Government becomes larger, the interpretation of what is "The Common Good" becomes larger and Individual Freedom diminishes. It is conceivable that at some point a Society that at one time was Free could evolve to where Individual Freedom of choice becomes so limited that the ability of an individual to thrive and innovate could be lost. At this point, the incentive to take risks would disappear and free enterprise would cease to exist. All Citizens would be Slaves of a Government that makes all of the choices for us, eliminating all incentives to work hard and excel to do better for ourselves, our Families and our Country. See our Cost of Living Page.
In the "end state" of very large government, a Nation of "Free" Individuals would wait for law makers to choose their destiny. It would be like never "growing up" because the Freedom of choice and the acceptance of responsibility for one's choice would be gone like children living under their "parents' roof". Slavery, the dawn of a new and impotent age. What does the future hold for our now great Nation? Will we give up our Individual Freedom in favor of a system with no incentives to do well or better ourselves. That kind of society would eventually die as incentives to do better disappear and all resources are just divided equally regardless of one's hard work and innovation. Hard work and innovation would disappear and life could no longer be sustained.
The Principle of Human Freedom
Human Beings are the most precious of all known creations. Each individual must be treated with dignity, respect and fairness. The uniqueness of human life requires that where more than one individual is involved that each is given equal opportunity to grow to potential within the resources of the group. The growth to potential is fostered in an environment which recognizes each individual's responsibility to work hard and do their best and each individuals right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while balancing this with the need to still provide for the common good of the group.
Some Analysis of The Principle of Human Freedom
The requirement to treat each other with dignity, respect and fairness, is generally accepted as intuitively correct, although fairness is not always defined in the same way under a given set of circumstances by each of us. This is why we have a court system: interpretation of what is fair under the law is the principle subject discussed in the Civil Court System in The United States.
Giving each other equal opportunity to grow to potential within the resources of the group is somewhat of a complex concept. The concept of equal opportunity has at its very core the requirement to be fair. This is easy to say but hard to define in real life. Once again, fairness is not always defined in the same way under a given set of circumstances by each of us. It does not say just divide up the resources and distribute them. It does not say everyone has the right to the same quality of life.
First it says that we have equal opportunity to grow to potential. This means that there is a fair process to compete for work, education, pay, knowledge, etc. In reality we do not have unlimited resources. In The United States at this time, our society has decided, through our government, to set aside the money to pay for an education up through High School. Beyond High School we must compete...there are not enough resources to give a college education to everyone. There must be a fair process to compete for entry into college. Of course, we must then have the money to pay. If we do not have the money, we can work for the money or we can compete for scholarships using a fair process to assign the limited resource of tuition money.
Necessary ingredients to successfully compete are Self-discipline and Proactivity. They are not the only ingredients but they are two of the most important ones worth mentioning. The people who are the most focused and who work the hardest are generally the most successful at achieving their goals. Take away the opportunity to win a hard fought goal and we take away the incentive to grow, innovate and make a difference in our lives. Take these things away from a Society or a Nation and you eventually kill its existence.
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