A Message to a Generation
“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
This phrase within the Declaration of Independence is one of the philosophies that founded America. But what does it mean for my generation? Gen-Z encompasses the people born between 1997-2012, I was also born into this generation. The interpretation of what this phrase means has certainly changed in the minds in most of my peers..
The philosophy behind this statement comes from John Locke and his thoughts on natural rights. In his book “Second Treatise of Government,” chapter 2, section 4, Locke states,
“To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all man are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of there possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.”
My generation brainwashed into giving up these rights is common. Giving up our freedom, to let others dictate our actions is a everyday lie. To even give up our rightful control over how our possessions are delegated.
We live in a world where the culture celebrates victimhood and touts the flawed idea that your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are outside your control. It pushes us to identify ourselves by the group we are a part of instead of the individual we are.
While our founders believed groups play a part in our lives, they also understood the importance of individual identities. However, the culture today is pushing my generation towards tribalism.
This issue because it causes us to lose focus on individual purpose, and we no longer take responsibility for ourselves. We believe that the government and those better off than us should be responsible for our well-being.
While the collective is important, it causes us to lose focus on our individual pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
So, how do we take back control of our lives? First, quit buying into the narrative that you have no control over your life, that you owed them. There is nothing you owe, you only have control over what you possess and not what someone else owns. Taking control of your life is difficult and it takes discipline. You have to build the habits that will take you to where you want to go.
You have to decide on a direction. Once you do that, then you have to make the appropriate goals to reach your end goal. It takes work and time, but it brings true fulfillment in the end.
Second, you have to understand what liberty is all about. The liberty to be whoever God has called you to be and not stifled by the stereotypes of the group to which you subscribe. You have the liberty to pursue happiness in any way you want to and not by what dictated you by the government or political pundits. You must realize you are in control of your actions. Locke defines it this way.
“Let’s be guided by our own will, not by the will of others.”
In other words, take control of your life. Don’t let the collective control it for you.
My generation is desperate for a purpose. Buying into certain ideas could help us find what we are looking for is a normal occurrence for those without purpose.
There has never been a generation with more passion than mine, but we have been putting our passions into movements that do not have our best interest in mind. If my generation put as much effort into developing themselves, instead of whatever movement is trending at the moment, we could truly change the world. If we would start viewing each other as individuals instead of by what tribe they are in, then we could grow in unity once again.
Another thing my generation must remember is that we are all created equal. Today my generation puts a higher or lower rank on those that fit into certain groups because of the accomplishments or sins of their ancestors. Instead of the person they are today.
In our search for equality, we have become more divided. This all stems back to our right to life, liberty, and our pursuit of happiness.
Because we are canceling the individual of their rights, eventually, the rights of that group cancel along with it.
We forget that government is there for the individual and not the individual is there for the government.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.
The key phrase there is “The consent of the governed.” It is the individuals that give the government the power, not the different tribes who want to take all the control.
While individualism is being attacked, they will put tribalism put on a pedestal with high praises. It’s about what’s most important for the tribe, even if it’s hurting the individuals in the tribe.
We see a great example of this type of tribalism in the black community. Thinking differently than the expectations within the tribe, they will ostracize you.
We see this when prominent black figures such as Candace Owens, Thomas Sowell, Tim Scott –and others–, are called “Uncle Toms,” and other slurs due to their views not following what is expected of the group.
We see this when President Joe Biden, while running in the 2020 election, said. “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,”
The implication is, “stick to the tribe.”
We see this in the LGBT community when people attacked Caitlyn Jenner after saying that transgender women shouldn’t compete in women’s sports even though she is a transgender woman.
Because it doesn’t matter who or what you are, if you step out of line with what the tribe believes, you no longer belong to the tribe.
Because it’s not about the individual in the tribe, it’s only about the “tribe” itself.
My generation must realize the power they have in their uniqueness. While we live in a country with many different tribes, we must learn to look past the tribe and look only at the individual standing in front of us and judge them not by what category society tries to put them in but by the person God has called them to be.