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Liberty and Justice for All

July 1, 2011

Many timeless and righteous principles emerged from the formation of the United States of America. Two of the greatest, yet under-recognized principles are the premises of liberty and justice for all. Three words that are packed with so much meaning, and yet fewer and fewer individuals seem to recognize their importance.

Liberty identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions. Liberty is the polar opposite of a totalitarian dictatorship, where the individual has no opportunity to provide input in to laws which govern him/her; where there is no right to freedoms of expression in speech, art, music, religion, or politics; where the individual is locked in to a predefined lifestyle for which there is no opportunity to escape; and where the individual is required to perform certain tasks as mandated by another individual. The absence of liberty is prison.

Self-governance is not anarchy. It is the right to choose political representation to enact laws befitting one’s sense of justice, but most importantly, to protect those laws already in place that provide an avenue for further representation. Where a population is no longer able to affect political representation, then they no longer have liberty nor the premise of self-governance.

The premise of freewill stems from the premise of freedom of belief. We are each individuals, with individual thoughts, beliefs, and sets of experiences. Freewill is what allows us to decide to take a drive to a sunny beach, to enjoy certain foods, to subscribe to a specific religion, (or to no religion), to change our minds regarding any specific subject, to seek and learn, to gain wisdom and adjust our livelihood accordingly. Yes, freewill can result in the imposition on others, but that is where the premise of the responsibility of freedom comes in.

To exercise the freedom of self-governance, one has the duty to take responsibility for understanding the impact of their votes and desires for change. When exercising freewill, one is obligated to consider the affect it may have on others, and when wronging another, to right the wrong. With great freedom comes great responsibility. But is it not better to have the freedom to act and to live with liberty, than to have no liberty and already have an existence much like a caged animal?

Justice is generally understood to mean what is right, fair, appropriate, deserved, and the ethical punishment of those who infringe on the liberty of others. It is the check and balance system that assures that when an individual exercises their freewill, that they do not act with intolerable disregard toward another person’s rights toward realizing the benefits of the exercise of their own freewill. Ethical justice does not extend punishment beyond weight of the infraction, yet applies adequate pressure to help prevent further infringement. Ethical justice protects the liberty of all involved, but assigns blame to the criminal.

All is everyone. It is you, no matter what your gender, what your race, or what your beliefs. Liberty is inalienable from all, for liberty, at its essence, extends freewill to the individual. All are entitled, all are responsible, all are affected by tyranny, and all have the right to self-actualization.

That is a lot of humanity in three words. How will you responsibly exercise your liberty and justice that is extended to all?

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From → American Society

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