I read the topic for this blog posting last week, and have been thinking about it a lot. Just being able to put into words my ideas of what freedom, justice, and equality are consumed a lot of my spare time because they are abstract ideas, yet everyone has some concept of what those things either look like or should look like. We have personal views and ideas of what these things are, regardless if you consciously know it or not. In some ways, it’s easier to point out what’s not just or what’s unfair. So before I apply how these three things impact my views on research, I should first have a better definition of what they are.
Freedom is being able to do what you please, when you want, and however you want to do that. But in reality, we are constrained by certain factors- the laws that we vote for, our environment, those around us. There are also varying levels of freedom: freedom to buy as much as you want at the grocery store, freedom to apply to whatever schools you want to, freedom to pursue your dream career. But there is also a difference between freedom and protection. In the U.S., laws are in place to protect our basic freedoms, but laws also take away from people being able to do whatever they want, and this is in order to better protect society at large. So to me, freedom is more of the idea of being able to pursue your goals in a reasonable way, with the security that you have a right to life, liberty, and to pursue happiness.
Justice comes from the Latin word Justus, meaning lawful, fair, and right.
Equality is derived from the Latin word, aequalis, meaning comparable, similar, of the same rank or merit. It’s the idea that everyone has the opportunity to make the most of their lives without the constraint of money, race, or gender.
All three work together to create something invaluable. Without one, there is a weakness that could be detrimental. When you’re free and equal but don’t have justice, then there is chaos. When you have equality and justice but no freedom, then you’re imprisoned and live a life filled with fear. And when you have freedom and justice without equality, then there is prejudice and discrimination.
Dr. Nels Paulson asked us what we want our lives to mean. I want to leave this earth better than when I came here. I want to make a positive impact on those that I encounter. I want to be able to look back at my life, at any point in time, and know that I made a difference, even if it’s just in one person’s life. I want to learn from my mistakes. I want to love others and let them know they matter.
As far as this is concerned with research, economics is how people work together. I’m fortunate enough to have the freedom to research, and hope that gets extended to others who are not. I hope that my research contributes to freedom in that economic freedom is the gateway to the idea of genuine liberty- the idea that someone is able to work and prosper from that work to consume and invest how he or she wants to. I hope the research here at LAKES contributes to equality by providing meaningful results that give people better standard of livings, better water quality, increased housing values, etc. The things that people on a clean lake enjoy. I hope by working in the years to come to set an example to all girls that they can be a successful woman in a male-dominated field if they’re pursuing a career that interests them. Lastly, I hope my research contributes to the idea of justice in that I uphold a high standard of ethics, both now as well as in the future.
Knowledge is one key to making change, so I hope that the information I obtain contributes to these patriotic ideas.