The Declaration of Independence perfectly captures the aspirations of the United States in this phrase:
“… 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.”
The famous phrase lists particular rights we want America to offer to all—security from physical harm and freedom to select actions that will pursue happiness as we see it.
- Life requires freedom from fear of deadly crimes and lack of medical care.
- Each year over a million people were victims of violent crimes while more than 500,000 bankruptcies are filed due to medical expenses that cannot be paid.
- Liberty requires equal treatment under the law for all citizens.
- The different reaction to rioters at the Capitol compared to Black Lives Matter protestors reveals again that law enforcement agencies have a bias against people of color.
- The Pursuit of Happiness requires fair opportunity for all to use their skills and talents to earn a good life. White-collar crimes and corporate misdeeds rob many of hard-earned gains.
- Many essential workers, as revealed in this pandemic, do not make livable wages. That is unfair and shows that the free market system needs to be further adjusted.
To achieve a more perfect union, we need change the society in a few ways.
- Healthcare is driven by societal goals. Unfortunately, supply and demand does not properly price health care, because we value our lives as infinite. Nonetheless, the free market retains its usefulness once societal goals are set and reins put on corporate greed.
- The covid-19 pandemic has shown that the entire society is affected by failures in health care management. Healthcare is a national priority, not to be a patchwork quilt of employer-based plans fitfully supplemented by government programs and charitable efforts.
- Education must provide the basics for fair opportunity for all, according to their birth talents and the efforts they make to apply them.
- This means K-12 education. Free college is a separate issue. Student preparation for jobs in trades and those requiring licenses should be coordinated with those businesses which benefit from employees with those skills.
- Crime will be lessened as more opportunity is available for those who otherwise would have chosen thievery and its follow-on crimes. Of course, all crime won’t vanish, but a major contributor would be eliminated.
- Social Contract. Class warfare greets proposals to fix problems, but have-nots want fair opportunity, not equal incomes, while haves want to retain the status quo. Secession of the Rich occurs, but it is an ostrich solution.
- Election of government, which enforces societal values, needs to be more responsive to the people’s will.
Particular posts supporting various parts of this post.
Outrageous Cost of Healthcare More than one million bankruptcies each year due to healthcare bills.
Education K-12 Minimum Requirements. Personal capability, responsibility, and work skills.
Crime and Order. Successful society needs order to allow its members to flourish, not strait-jacket order, but order that aligns principles with actions. Crime must be discouraged by making work’s rewards more enticing.
Picture of Life (smiling park ranger). Mary O’Neill, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Photograph of Statute of Liberty. Misterweiss at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Photograph of Happy Family. Helgi Halldórsson from Reykjavík, Iceland, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons