Everyone has a set of values or core beliefs. These are the principles which guide an individuals decision making and more importantly their thinking. Some individuals may not even be aware of their core values, some may be aware of a portion of them, and some may not even be aware of them at all.
Below, I'm being transparent about the core values I've discovered I have and hold dear.
Free Speech is Absolute.
On one fateful morning in San Francisco, I found myself in a brightly colored taxi blasting rap music. It was captained by a gentleman who was clearly on a psychotic break, he was not mentally well and had some serious issues. However, even in the darkest and wildest of places someone can find truth and inspiration. During the ride this man said something to the affect of.
Nothing matters man. Not money, fame, nothing matters. You see that house on that hill over there? It doesn't exist, it doesn't matter, it's not real. None of this that you see is real. All that matters is people and our consciousness. Do you know how people share their consciousness? Through speech, our speech is the verbal and physical manifestation of our consciousness. Everything else isn't real.
When you restrict speech, you restrict an individuals consciousness.
It can be easy to fall down the slippery slope of restricting speech for those with whom you do not agree, or more importantly those who proselytize violence. However, censorship comes with a price (see below) that may not be readily apparent. It comes in the form of people restricting their speech, and thereby their thoughts, consciousness, and personhood. Free Speech allows those who have bad intentions to reveal those intentions; but more importantly, it allows those with good intentions to push back and feel comfortable doing so.
Those with bad intentions have no quams about causing destruction and devastation; but those with good intentions are burdened with the outcome of their actions. Make them question whether their actions are good, and you will effectively silence them.
Furthermore, by restricting a person's speech, you cause them to censor themselves. Which means censoring their entire personhood; creativity, thought, wonder, and desire all fell victim. Self-censorship causes a person's development and growth to become stunted.
This does not mean that actions do not have consequences. Yelling fire in a crouded theater should not warrant a punishment, and should be protected. The action and intent of causing a panic or direct harm to others should be punished.
The Means of Self-Defense is Absolute.
Depriving a person of the means of Self-Defense is to deprive them of body autonomy. A person who is physically smaller, weaker, or disadvantaged does not have the means to resist an entity that is the opposite of them. Which means ultimately in a struggle or conflict, they do not have the means to resist and have autonomy over their own choices. Instead, to prevent harm to themself, they must do what the entity demands.
Not only is this egregious from a physical perspective, but a mental perspective. An individual without the sense of physical security and comfort will make much different decisions mentally than one that does. The individual without the physical sense of security will fall into a pattern of compliance and resignment of their situation. In this way, an individual without the means of Self-Defense is never truly free mentally or physically.
From a moral and ethical perspective, I hold that every individual, unconditionally should always have the means of self-defense. This does not mean an individual is required to have a means of self-defense; Simply that the choice & option exists. This also does not mean an individual who has & chooses a means of self-defense is absolved of responsibility. This choice itself comes with a burden, and that burden is to do no harm. Which is a good segway into the third value.
Everything has a cost.
Whether an individual understands it or not; every action, including inaction has a cost. This cost is rarely if ever monetary. The true cost of an action is also almost never apparent or known. This however, does not mean you shouldn't consider the cost when taking an (in)action, rather it means you should examine the anxillary effects of your actions.
A good example of this seen in my personal life is with my parents. Both of my parents refused to have a car payment; They focused on the monetary cost of having a vehicle with a monthly payment assigned to it.
Being wrong is better than being right/correct.
If an individual is observant, and listens, then they can learn just about anything. Difficulty, disability and thought patterns not withstanding.
When an individual is right or correct, they provide value to others. Which is beneficial to others and this should not be understated. But when an individual is wrong, a teaching moment presents itself to all persons involved.
Those who are observant and paying attention can recognize this wrong/incorrect moment for what it is and correct the shortcoming that occured. The learning does not stop there however, because now one can learn ancillary things, like how that incorrect/wrong outcome occured. What behaviors led to the incorrect outcome? Where environmental factors involved? Does established knowledge need to be changed?
It can be difficult to be humble and accept failure. It can be embarassing and uncomfortable. But the value brought to an individual and organization can and will prevent other, potentially catastrophic, failures down the road.
.. To Be Determined