A Vision of Society

By Watershed School Ethics Seminar | Apr 01, 2021

Since the founding of our nation’s democracy, each new generation has taken for granted that a growing capitalist economy and evolving technology would ensure the well-being of all our citizens and the prosperity of the wider society. But we, the newest generation, do not share this premise. As the youngest members of society, born into privileged households, educated in an era of groundbreakingly subversive technology, and soon to become active leaders in politics and government, we look to the future with guarded optimism in the face of the most threatening existential crisis in human history: climate change, a threat to our planet that is the culmination of centuries of human influence.

We hold that the flourishing of our society depends upon the betterment of life for all citizens. We base this on our conviction that all human lives are equal in value and significance, regardless of conferred status or inherent identity. This calls for greater protection of oppressed minority groups and the support of an active transition toward an inclusive, anti-discriminatory society with enhanced immigration. To ensure the quality of life for all who live in this country, and for all life on this planet, we must first attend to the crisis of climate change which calls us to:

• Consider how we understand and treat the finite resources available to us, above all in terms of their distribution among all persons and creatures dependent on them;

• Commit resources to develop sources of renewable energy, considering the importance of natural resources for the thriving of all life on this earth;

• Address how to regulate individuals as well as corporations, and devote ourselves to public education around issues related to this crisis, including our promotion and support of measures to ensure a national transition to green energy.

We also support efforts to strengthen the function of democracy in our country, requiring that we commit ourselves to:

• Supporting measures to ensure the full representation in government of all persons and groups making up our pluralistic society;

• Working for reform of the means by which we fund political campaigns for elections and oversee financial support of officeholders through PACs and other means;

• Supporting constitutional efforts to terminate the Electoral College;

• Encouraging governmental support of recall efforts through the use of national petitions;

• Working to eliminate the Senate filibuster;

• Increasing voter participation through various measures, including universal mail-in voting, weekend voting, and making Election Day a national holiday;

• Supporting every effort toward implementing more direct forms of democratic governance, including democracy and the support of codetermination at every level as well as the encouragement of coops and other institutions and agencies that support participatory democracy.

We further commit ourselves to work for the overcoming of economic inequalities within our society, including:

• Working for structural business change, including efforts to increase the federal minimum wage to $15/hour and requiring worker presence on boards of directors;

• Enhancing citizens’ access to codetermination of their lives as well as supporting a more open economy with safeguards against monopolies and unregulated free trade;

• The decommodification of basic necessities such as healthcare; under a single-payer healthcare system;

• The promotion of more efficient and redistributive taxes, with programs to help those underserved by capitalism (such as universal child allowances, anti-poverty programs, and Universal Basic Income).

We hold that the integrity of our society depends on significant forms of prison reform, including the freeing of non-violent drug offenders and the abolition of the death penalty, at the federal and state levels.

We place great value on enhancing the support of and access to education at all levels, including the public support of education through taxation and the enhancement of public education through a more equitable distribution of resources and financing increases for teachers’ salaries.

We all are entitled to the right of health care. Therefore, we support universal health care that provides affordable care to all, recognizing that this right increases the general well-being of all, as well as enhancing economic productivity. We hold that health care is a good that is unable to be fulfilled by the free market in any tolerable form. Under the principle that healthy people are happy people willing to dare to improve society, we propose a public health care service directly funded by the national government.

We support efforts to encourage openness and transparency in international relations, including:

• The support of efforts toward greater degrees of cooperative global action as compared to competitive national action, including by enhancing the functioning of the United Nations;

• Increasing American foreign aid expenditure.

We recognize the enormity and complexity of the problems facing us, beginning with the catastrophic threat of climate change. The crisis at hand demands our attention. As young citizens, we have two options: we can choose to accept a divided world blighted by a deteriorating climate and a wounded democracy, with billions impoverished, imprisoned, ill, or uneducated, or we can create a world in which humanity unifies to solve the problems we face.

We ground our “guarded optimism” in committing ourselves to bringing about effective solutions to such challenges, recognizing that many of the problems we face are interconnected and our efforts in bringing about productive change in any one area will necessarily impact others.

Respectfully submitted by Watershed School students Lily Cassidy, Caleb Edwards, Thor Gabielsen, Alden Lewis, Jamie McAllister, Morgan McDougal, Sarah Morgan, Garrett Neal, Nate Strout, Maggie Vinci, Vivienne Willett; with teacher Dr. Mark S. Burrows

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