Monday, October 26, 2009

The Highest Human Value

I posted this on my 9.12 Project blog. I thought you might like it too.
I was talking to a friend this weekend...about the philosophical underpinnings of Conservatism, and how important it is to "know what you believe, and why". And the simpler you make that statement of belief...the less equivocal it is, the easier to remember, and the easier to communicate to others.

And here's what I came up with: "What is the highest Human Value?"

That question, and its answer are the bedrock upon which all values, virtues and principles stand.

Is it Love? Sacrifice? Equality? Compassion? Hope? Peace? Truth? Honor? Courage? Loyalty?


None of these are possible without the Highest Value. Indeed, WE are not possible without it.

The Highest—because it is required for all the others—Human Value is: FREEDOM

Without it no other virtues are possible. Without the freedom to choose them, there are no virtues, just behaviors. Forced tolerance is not love. Obeying speech codes is not respect or compassion. Fear of punishment for dissent isn't loyalty. Without Freedom, the Highest other Values can exist.

Therefore Freedom must always be the standard by which all things are measured: ideas, laws, policies, philosophies, personalities, promises...

No matter how good or compassionate or moral or honorable or loving the arguments or the promised results of a policy or philosophy seem, if it decreases human freedom it is evil.

And the one thing that ALWAYS decreases individual human freedom is the growth of the power of the State. It is a zero-sum game: The more power the government has, the less liberty individuals have. The more liberty individuals have, the less power government has. You cannot have both a big, powerful government, and flourishing individual liberties. They are incompatible.

Every encroachment upon liberty (beyond that minimum to preserve an order which guarantees freedom for all) is a crime against humanity. Because every decrease in individual freedom makes us less human. It reduces our ability to reach our individual potential, it limits our development, our curiosity, our imaginations. It cripples our souls.

In Liberty, Humanity. In Liberty, Possibility. In Liberty, Glory. In Liberty, Salvation.
The Gunslinger
Enemy of the Imperial State