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iWe: The Value of Enduring Principles

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

There are principles that underpin any great civilization, ideas and ideals that represent timeless value. Some might call them Eternal Truths, even, though they are more aspirational than grounded in hard data. “All men are created equal” is found in the foundation of American Exceptionalism – though it also is clearly fanciful. By any measurement we can make, no two people are precisely equal, let alone all people. “We hold these truths to be self-evident” is fancy talk for “we cannot defend it: we hold it as a matter of faith.”

Yet the principle that each person is created equal is at the heart of America, just as it is at the heart of the founding document of Western Civilization, the Torah: G-d made man in His image, and endowed him with G-d’s own spirit – that is what made man “equal,” even though we cannot prove it happened.

Other famous examples of such foundational principles include, for example, the “rights to life, liberty, and property.” (That is the George Mason version before Thomas Jefferson, in a squishy “woke” spirit, rewrote “property” as, “the pursuit of happiness) All these are foundational concepts, found in Judaism and Christianity alike – Life and Property would be agreed to by Jews and Christians thousands of years ago. On the other hand, the concept of Liberty – the idea that each person should be free to make their own choices free from coercion from others – was not truly found in any ancient society even if is found in the texts. Liberty as we know it was born in the Scottish Enlightenment.

I’d like to suggest that core principles, perhaps contained within symbolism, can span the entirety of conscious human existence with no adjustments for language, culture, or modernity. But the implementation of those principles may vary quite considerably. The problem is when we whittle away at the implementation

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