Although we’ve repeatedly criticized Provo’s recent and current public officers, we’re always glad when they do something right. Public officers are not only responsible to help defend our God-given rights from others’ aggression, but they also enjoy a “bully puplit” (as Theodore Roosevelt once called the U. S. Presidency) from which they may advocate good principles.
And it’s good to advocate good principles for many reasons, including because virtue is innately intertwined with freedom—only a free people may live virtuously as fully as they should, and increased virtue innately accompanies increased resistance to being brought into bondage. The reasons for the latter are myriad—virtuous people tend to be industrious and generous, resist seeking vengeance, feel less tempted to lust for Earthly wealth and power and glory, enjoy less desire to be either slavemasters or slaves, and generally find fewer excuses to inappropriately coerce their neighbors. But, regardless of the details, virtue and freedom require each other—and, moreover, they mutually support each other, as they innately facilitate peace, prosperity, abundance, progress, civilization, and happiness among those who enjoy them, whether as individuals or as communities or as entire nations, all of which helps to render our world a bit more like heaven-on-Earth. And this is why we should desire both.
Another useful way to view this relationship is that being free is only a first step, while learning how to exercise our freedom well is the quest of a lifetime. And this lifelong quest is something that we both can and should freely choose to help each other to do well, although as a moral duty alone, and not a legally-enforceable obligation (because, otherwise, we wouldn’t remain free). So, it’s good for us to encourage our neighbors to choose well—and even for our politicians to encourage their constituents to freely go accomplish worthwhile tasks that aren’t part of the proper role of government (which would include virtually any worthwhile task beyond rights-defense).
So, having now expounded these general principles somewhat, we’d like to specifically thank Provo’s mayor Michelle Kaufusi for encouraging Provoans to engage in charitable service this May as part of the city’s annual Provo Serves Initiative. Kudos. If you’re not already aware of this initiative, then please watch this Provo City video for details. And, in any case, we urge you to identify some pressing need within your neighborhood or nearby that would be good to help fulfill—perhaps something that our politicians might try to accomplish coercively even though they shouldn’t do so—and then freely choose to help it get fulfilled in the right way. It not only feels better to foster what’s right than to thwart what’s wrong, but it also provides fewer excuses to statists to try to accomplish those same worthy goals in an incorrect manner. So, please choose to serve—ideally not only this month but regularly if you’re not already doing so.
Sadly, although our city officers have definitely gotten some things right, they’ve fared rather poorly in other respects, as they’ve arguably sought a strong city government that does more to reign over us as oligarchs than to serve us by keeping us free. So, please make the most of this beautiful springtime weather to go kindly confront your neighbors in person, proselytize them to the cause of freedom, and help them organize themselves to vote better in future elections. And, if you find our website helpful for this purpose, then please make the most of it.