It isn’t hard to see that our government, our society, and our culture are being judged by the pandemic and the panic it has created. (And it seems likely that the verdict will be condemning.) Actually, all of these things should be identified in the plural: governments, societies, and cultures. Here in the Fifty States we have many of each. Not just on a State-by-State basis either.
We do not, as a nation, as individual states, or as communities, exhibit the character traits, the values, that we need to deal with this crisis. As a result, we are destroying our economy, and that often leads to worse. Destruction of our societies and still more changes in our governments: changes which increase the totalitarian nature AND tyranny of our defacto government. No matter how we pretend to be free, democratic governments, cultures, and societies.
But we COULD.
We do not have the character, we do not demonstrate that we share these very important virtues. But character traits can be, and are learned – by practicing them and being encouraged to do so. And we become better persons – and we have a better society.
What values am I speaking of? Here are a few:
- Personal responsibility – recognizing that our life’s outcome is a product of our decisions; that what we say and do (or don’t say and do) has results
- Self-reliance – the ability to make decisions and do things by ourselves: not needing someone else to do everything for us: accepting that we have this ability to depend on ourselves and meet our own needs
- Human ingenuity – that we can be AND ARE inventive and resourceful, able to think up new ways to solve our problems and those of others
- Freedom to innovate – that we value and respect creative thinking and encourage that in ourselves and others
- An attitude of live and let live – that we are free (or should be) to live as we choose AND allow other people to do the same
- Kindness – that we behave in a manner that shows our concern and consideration for others and the impact of our actions on them
- Thriftiness – that we are not wasteful of our time and other resources: property, money, labor, and thought – not our resources nor anyone else’s
- Generosity – that we are willing to share our time and wealth (our resources) with others
- Perseverance – that we do not give up easily; that we are not just patient but continue to work to accomplish things even in the face of difficulties (challenges) and opposition
- Faith in one another – while recognizing the faults and weaknesses of other people, we still generally accept they are attempting to do good and preserve themselves, their families, and their communities and when encouraged, will often do the right thing
- Fortitude – strength of mind to endure adversity; patient courage, the ability to resist attack, whether physical or verbal, legal or direct
- Self-discipline – self-government: the ability to carry our our intentions and meet our responsibilities without someone else forcing us to do so
- Courage – physical and moral: the ability to make a stand for what we believe in and the willingness (guts) to do our duty despite personal risks
It is hard to say that any one of these are more important than the others. But even more difficult to say that some are LESS critical than the others.
Please note that these baker’s dozen I’ve selected here are NOT “religious” in nature – they can be understood, honored, and lived by people who have any or no religious beliefs.
I believe that they are all essential for living in liberty. AND for dealing with crises. Not just the “big” crises like the Beer Flu or Bloody Tuesday (9-11), but small daily crises (the “down” part of life’s ups and downs). Like flat tires or low fuel levels. Like a fresh 6-8 inches of snow overnight. Like that six-inch downpour just after you planted the garden. Or the thousand other things we deal with, often with little pre-planning or preparation of any sort.
Cultural and social differences are vast here in the Fifty States, and indeed in most of the various Fifty. That is a subject for another commentary. But I think that all these baker’s dozen traits are valued in virtually ANY society. Or perhaps I should say any but the snowflake, social-justice-warrior, regressive herd that has plagued us and our land and planet for far too long.