I believe in choice, and I believe in choosing wisely.
I believe that I have an independent will and that I can use it — but I also believe that there are good ways and bad to use that will. Liberty is therefore a great good, but only because it allows people to make the right choices — it is a means to an end, not an end itself. Unbridled freedom, choosing solely for choice’s sake — living in the Land of Do-As-You-Please — can be both good and bad, and choosing well requires more than simple freedom.
I believe that everyone can be helped to choose wisely. My own choices, or at least the wise ones, are helped by my friends, my family, and (greatly important to me) the stories I have heard and I myself tell. This is why I went into teaching, to tell stories that could help people choose well.
I believe that the Golden Rule is a pretty reasonable guide for our choices, as long as we remember to apply it to those living in the past and the future as well as to those living in the present. But I also believe that everything should be put to the test, for there are always exceptions. I also believe that sometimes wisdom needs to give way to nobility and heroism — and, occasionally, to pure silliness.
I believe, moreover, that people can only learn what is wise by being foolish for a while. As much as we can manage, therefore, we should let them make their mistakes, and then help them learn afterward. Continue reading