My values are discovered in the community working together for the common good. Those who seeks the common good are my brothers or sisters, and those who do not seek the common good are also my brothers or sisters. Community is an inclusive phenomenon.
I define the common good as full consideration and inclusion for “the least of us.” Full inclusion means food and clothing security, good housing, access to information, a safe neighbourhood, easy access to local transportation, a school as fully funded as any public school, and health care, including prescriptions and outpatient care, to the same level as any person in our state. In addition, I believe in a high minimum wage (with exceptions for high school students in part-time jobs who are being mentored at local businesses–not chain, service sector stores.)
“The least of us” extends to full consideration to the environment, including the plants and animals that provide for our nurture. I take to heart these words, “As you do to the least of us, you do to me” and “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.”
Personhood is a singular, unique phenomenon that exist, and is even distinguished by, participation in community.
Part I: My internal values
Don't lie. Don't leave anyone behind. Forgive everything. Be consistent in how you behave with everyone. (This is the toughest value to follow.)
Part II: My community values
Work for the common good. Build community democracy. Discuss, participate, give yourself in service. Forget labels, forget either/or thinking. Think and/both.
Where do I end and the state begins?
We have options to define the boundaries of personhood. The first question is to find a line that marks the division of where I end and where the state begins? Would such a line be straight? Or, is your personhood in a bubble, the wall of which is to be respected as you move through jurisdictional boundaries? Do you at some point become the property of the state, or of the local community? Or, finally, does the meaning of personhood change or merge in a given or absolute context.
Such an answer may depend on the context of the situation. Watch the first fifteen minutes of this lively and often funny Harvard lecture video to a freshman class by Prof. Michael Sandel on the difference between circumstantial and absolute decision making. Does the responsibility of the individual vary depending on the situation?
As for myself, I fully understand that the state has dominance in matters beyond the individual in many areas of life. To name just a few, coordination of commercial and private airspace; regulation of prescription medication; safety standards for vehicles. These are systems used by each member of the community. In these large systems my voice is mostly not relevant. And I do not disagree with this boundary. However, my voice does matter in my home and in my local community, and my local community may include local communities made of friendships and not restricted to a geographical community.
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