Marion Smith: We Must Give Life to the Self-Evident Principles We Know to be True.
America’s system of ordered liberty represents the best civilization has to offer, the pinnacle of human achievement. Yet there is now the unmistakable stench of disease on our body politic. Action is required, but so too is thought. To save our future, intellectual triage in the form of education and informed engagement is desperately needed. And this is what Common Sense Society provides.
We know what we are up against. A pervasive and arrogant orthodoxy across the free and unfree worlds claims the right to constrain our lives in ever more suffocating ways. This is most notably done in the name of “equity,” or absolute equality of outcomes and not opportunity. The agents of this orthodoxy promote new forms of discrimination with claims of collective justice, which rely on the denial and destruction of individual rights. As freedom withers, the state expands. And with each inevitable failure to achieve absolute equality, the government grows larger, and the role of citizens smaller.
The crisis is enough to make good people despondent, but we must not despair. As Americans, we have a great inheritance of freedom. We, along with free citizens everywhere, have a responsibility to save our civilization from those who would destroy it—whether from within or without. We must defend our cause from the forces of barbarism and tyranny as a matter of principle and self-preservation. We must give life to the self-evident principles we know to be true.
If not us, who? A growing percentage of Millennials and Gen Z generations are falling for socialist ideas or becoming apathetic about politics and civic life. We can learn from the tragedies of the 20th century—that ideologically charged violence and totalitarian censorship lead to the collapse of nations, markets, families, and individual lives. We will show the better path: The path of individual flourishing, economic thriving, national wellbeing, and cultural vitality.
Our positive Common Sense message promotes individual liberty, voluntary exchange, free enterprise, creative innovation, enduring art, and conservation of the natural world. These ideas change lives and the course of history itself. By promoting and applying them once more, we will overcome the collectivist ideas surging in our time.
In 2022, we are launching new National Branches of Common Sense Society as well as supporting new local initiatives in the United States. Our American Civics Project will address a serious need in American education and we will support local citizens and communities through civic engagement initiatives. Our fellowship offerings and alumni activities are expanding to new locations and into new issue areas. And the CSS membership program in the U.S. and Europe will provide engaging events and curated trips for members to explore and advance the principles of liberty, prosperity, and beauty.
Today, we need less ideology and more thoughtful, free exchange of ideas. Common Sense Society is a forum for discussion and a hub to connect the best ideas with citizens who are prepared to live them out. We encourage and equip the young scholars, professionals, parents, and local citizens who will defend our civilization, one home, one company, and one local community at a time. And in this effort to preserve our system of ordered liberty—the greatest the world has ever known—we are grateful for your support.
Originally published in Common Sense Society’s 2022 Prospectus presented at the Conference and Gala in Palm Beach.