The week I have been thinking a lot about unifying principles, especially about the unifying principles that hold Liberians together. What are the unifying principles that glue us together as a nation? We hold ethnic distinctions – assigned to us by the Creator – and we have no need to be ashamed of those distinctions. We entertain a diversity of political philosophies, and that is a good thing. We even interpret our common history from varying perspectives, again not so bad, because these differences enrich our national discourse.
In spite of our diverse ethnic and philosophical idiosyncrasies, I believe there’s a need for some unifying principles, foundational truths that glue together the fabric of Mama Liberia. The word principle can be defined as “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.” To unify is to make or become one; to unite. Consequently, unifying principles are those fundamental truths around which a people coalesce, regardless of ethnicity or political dispositions.
For example, the French people identify liberty, equality, and fraternity as their unifying principles. In the United States, the American people, regardless of racial, regional, ethnic, or sectarian difference, rally around life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Of course, other unifying principles can be enumerated as well.
Unifying principles give a people a sense of common purpose and common destiny. Unifying principles underscores a sense of “we are in the same boat”.
So, what are Liberia’s unifying principles? Maybe it is “The love of liberty brought us here.” Yet, liberty has been in short supply throughout our 168 years of national existence.
Today, I wish to suggest five unifying principles for Liberia: democratic governance, rule of law, free market economics, individual freedom, and opportunity society.
In subsequent posts I will further develop each of these principles. In the meantime, send me your suggestions for Liberia’s unifying principles.