I hold the following to be true; that they are not self-evident is obvious by the political debate in our times and by historical attitudes:
(1) All people are not created equal, but are entitled to equal rights and responsibilities.
Some people, it is clear, are born into great inherited wealth, others are born into poverty; some are born into Islam, others into Christianity. Some are born women, and some are born men. Some are granted good genes, and others are born with disabilities. People are thus clearly not born equal. However, I believe that all people, regardless of race, gender, religion (or none), nationality, sexual orientation, are entitled to compete and cooperate with each other in an equal manner.
To be explicit; I believe that those born into poverty should be given equal access to nutrition, education and environment to those born to the wealthy. Let those who put the effort in thrive, not those who inherit their place in life. Women and men should be paid the same for the same work, and women should be expected to do the job in the same way as their male counterparts. I believe that people should be enabled to travel around the globe as they see fit, seeking opportunities to live, work and love as they desire. Animals have the freedom to move where they please, are humans worth so much less? The disabled should be accommodated as much as possible; not all jobs require a fully able body. If a person is able to do the work, let him be given the opportunity regardless of his or her appearance. There is no excuse for treating people differently because they belong to a different group than you.
(2) The dignity of man
In an age where machines can do menial work, there is no excuse to treat humans as machines. Work does not ennoble mankind, it debases us. When we exist only to sew shirts or wash floors, we fail to live up to our potential as conscious, self-aware, creative people. Work, and money, should be viewed as tools, not as the primary goals of mankind. Too many lives are wasted in senseless labor to accumulate gold in some billionaire’s vault. The goals of mankind should be to love each other, to explore the universe, and to create.
(3) The dignity of life
To ensure that there are enough resources for everyone to live comfortably, the Earth’s population should be maintained at levels that can be comfortably accommodated by the Earth’s other living systems. There are of course many ways of doing this; by being less greedy and more efficient (lying on a beach takes few resources compared to heating a private swimming pool); by allowing the population to decline by not reproducing so quickly; by using technology such as renewable energy and improved public transport. The goal is to improve the living standards of all humans while also improving access of other forms of life to their preferred habitats. Our current goals of maximizing the planet’s human population by cramming them into slums to work in sweatshops for the rich and to extract as many natural resources as possible, including strip-mining forests and other habitat is unsustainable and will lead to a poorer future for all life on Earth, including human life.
Humans like to join groups, which them act as larger organisms to suppress other organisms. Nations fight nations, Religions fight religions. This barbaric practice is only possible because humans give up their human sense when they become part of such larger groupings. A woman can only kill a child when she is depersonalized as part of an army. While the right to association cannot be denied, no such organizations should be placed at a higher level than individuals. Corporations are not people too, my friend.
(5) The proper goal of all humans should be to improve the lives enjoyed by all humans, just as you would strive to improve the lives of your family and friends. We are all one family. We have the technology. We have the intelligence. We have the love, to achieve these goals. All that is required is to eliminate greed and intolerance. Humans can live very rich lives with surprisingly few resources: Oysters and mussels are easy to grow and clean the water as they feed. All we need to do is to pour less mercury into the water and to build a few reefs for them to grow on. Sewage plants can easily be replaced by wetlands that can be enjoyed by huge flocks of wildlife, a proportion of which can be harvested for food. In many cases, deserts can be restored to forests by reversing the process by which we turn forests into deserts. Oil infrastructure can be eliminated by switching to renewables. People can travel in more efficient transport systems – including personal transport systems – than are used at present. Clothing is not needed by everyone; removing religious restrictions on clothing use would reduce the need for resources such as cotton (water, land and fertilizer).