I am now going to add more goods to our matrix of goods. We have the good of life and the good of freedom. We have looked at how they interact and how we are aiming for a society that promotes those goods simultaneously. Logically, it seems that having two goods is better than one good.
Now, we’re going to talk about the good of the family. This is a logical extension of the first two goods that we have. Clearly, the family is how new life is created. Children are born into families, so the family is an entity that indeed promotes life, and it is also an entity that promote freedom. That might sound a little bit odd to say, but consider a husband and wife. It is a free association willingly made for life. This man and woman come together to share their lives because they made the decision to do so. They are exercising their freedom to associate with another person to ultimately create additional lives in an environment that they have created. Therefore, governmental policies ought to help promote behavior that encourages the development of stable families.
Also, another good to consider is the good of private property. Certainly, an amount of private property is necessary for life to continue, and if somebody takes away my food supply, I am going to die. It is consistent to a pro-life ethic to allow people to own their own possessions and use them to thrive within their own lives. This is also consistent with our principle of freedom. I buy things that I want to buy with the resources I have because I am free to do so. I don’t have to spend my money the way that my neighbor would spend my money, and as a result, I get the property I want while other people get the property they want. Again, we can see how private property is a good consistent with life as well as freedom.
Yet another good that we can think about is the good of religious liberty. Freedom is obvious in this one. People are free to follow the religious convictions they have, but it is not okay to have a cult where freedom or life are ultimately encroached upon. However, religious liberty is also a life issue. Religious convictions influence people to act in certain ways, and if people are not free to be able to find the religion that is most consistent with our agreed-upon standards of promoting life and freedom, we’re going to settle for less. Again, remember that we are aiming for the highest good here, and allowing for religious liberty allows people to freely pursue what they are looking for with an understanding that they are trying to help life thrive as best we can by embracing the right ideology.
We could go on and on with this list, but we have a few more goods that are consistent with our first two principles that I hope you agreed with. If we are promoting life and freedom, then many things are going to fall as the logical conclusions of applying those principles in everyday life.
This last point is one that we’re going to come back to next week. Religious liberty is really where it is at. Remember that our original question was about how we decide what a society ought to believe to promote a freedom to do that which is good. Religion plays a huge part in that for obvious reasons. Depending on how you view the world, you are going to act in different ways. While most of what we have talked about so far will probably land us on common ground no matter where our religious convictions lie, we have to consider the implications of exercising this religious liberty. Which path are we going to take?