The free marketplace of ideas. I have some pretty crazy
opinions - that like the US should provide a Basic Income Guarantee
of a certain fixed amount of money to all its adult citizens,
regardless of whether or not they're employed. I know it's not
popular and that I've got an uphill battle convincing other people
it's a good idea, but I'm glad that people express their
disagreement with me through arguments and occasional loud sighs,
rather than through trying to get me fired or getting people to
boycott my employer.
Religious tolerance. I'm an atheist myself, but one of my
friends is a Quaker. Her religion says she's not allowed to support
any wars. Quakers had a history of being persecuted because of
this, thought of as second-class citizens. Well, I think Quakerism
is silly, and there are probably some wars we need to be in. But
the compromise we came up with - we go to war when the majority
wants it, Quakers don't have to like it, Quakers get the chance to
do some kind of community service instead of being drafted into the
army - seems like the fairest solution. In other words, don't let
religious people dictate our policy, but don't punish them for
sticking to their faith in hard places either.
Friends from everywhere on the political spectrum. When I
was growing up, my best friend's father was a Republican. My rabbi
in college was a conservative Jew who had very strong feelings
about Israel; now some of my friends are Muslims who have very
strong feelings about Palestine. An old professor was a Communist,
and I went to school with the daughter of Leonard Peikoff, who
heads the Ayn Rand Institute. All of these people were good people,
I learned a lot from all of them, and it's pretty neat to be able
to live in a society where they're not all at one another's throats
trying to get each other fired or put in jail.
Forgiveness. I did some crazy things back when I was
younger, some of them as recently as 2008. I wouldn't want my
entire fitness as a human being judged by one of them dredged up by
Doubt. Voltaire said that "doubt is not a pleasant
condition, but certainty is absurd." There are a lot of principles
I hold pretty strongly, but not so many I'm so certain of that I
think people who disagree with them deserve to be hurt.
someone really clever who thought it up.