Like most of us, I suppose, I have a set of values and principles to which I try to adhere. Perhaps the most important of these is the belief that we should all treat each other with the same respect and dignity with which we hope to be treated.
But there are others I profess, too; among them—
- love is better than hate;
- honesty is better than mendacity;
- tolerance is better than small-mindedness;
- civility is better than rudeness;
- rational thought is better than baseless opinion;
- equity in race, gender, and economic security is better than inequity;
- freedom is better than enslavement;
- peaceful coexistence is better than open warfare;
- rule of law in our collective society is better than anarchy; and
- majority rule in our collective society, however flawed, is better than the tyranny of a minority.
Like many of us, I imagine, I try to inject the values I espouse into my daily doings. At my age, alas, the range of those doings is growing increasingly smaller, my influence is shrinking among my social circle, and the spectre of irrelevance is looming ever larger. Where once my thinking was valued and reflected upon by those around me, it is less entreated as the years slide by.
My greatest impact is felt now through the writing I do—or so I choose to convince myself. In the almost three-hundred essays I have posted to this blog since its inception in January 2016, I have touched on a multitude of subjects influenced by my value-set, some of them repeatedly. A partial list includes—
- parenthood; children and grandchildren; family and friends; education of the young;
- racial and gender inequality; socio-economic issues and child poverty; wealth inequity; discrimination and prejudice; women’s reproductive rights; aging; civility and respect; pandemic unpreparedness; the future of work; artificial intelligence; right-wing Christian nationalism; peaceful coexistence;
- famine and food scarcity; freshwater scarcity; forced migration; climate change; biodiversity loss; water and air pollution; global warming; ecological collapse; overpopulation; species extinction;
- government overreach; politics and authoritarianism; corruption; warfare and nuclear threats;
- freedom of speech; media and a free press; big tech; alternative facts and disinformation; and
- humour and whimsy; reminiscences; childhood; life eternal.
I also believe that certainty is the enemy of an open mind, and that we should not believe everything we think. Therefore, I remain quite prepared to hear about and learn from contrary viewpoints.
Unlike a few people who persist in doing so, I have never tried to impose my values on anyone through my writing. I believe in persuasion, not mandate or fiat. Everyone is free to read my blog-posts if they so choose; they are also, and importantly, free to agree or disagree with what I’ve written; and they are free to offer comment. There is no pressure on anyone, explicit or implied, to come over to my way of thinking.
I accept other people’s right to believe as they do, to say what they wish, and to act as they will, but with one critical proviso—they are not free to harm anyone else in so doing, or to foist their beliefs on unwilling others.
I know this view is not popular with the social, political, and religious zealots, partisans, and proselytizers who brook no dissent. Nevertheless, I believe it is in keeping with my aforementioned values and principles, and I continue to espouse them.
To ensure our continued coexistence, my only plea is that we live and let live.
Lest we all die.