Letter from AEU President, Richard Koral
Competing visions of politics and policy come into greatest focus in an election season like the present one. Once again, there is a stark competition between two fundamentally different visions of how society should be constructed. We are asked to choose which animating principles should dominate in organizing our national community. In the words of former President Bill Clinton, we are being asked to choose between the ethic of "shared responsibility" and a principle of "go it alone." The former is portrayed as security through collective effort while the latter is a bleak dog-eat-dog, Hobbesian jungle. Others say we are being asked to choose between "individual responsibility" and a "culture of dependence." In this characterization, one encourages flourishing through self-improvement and growth while the other imposes a smothering, stultifying pall on initiative and imagination.
In Ethical Culture we have a vision of how society is to find its animating vigor. Ethical Culture sees the strength and necessity in both individual autonomy and in community responsibility. Felix Adler, the founding visionary, saw no contradiction there. He understood that a society cannot succeed without respecting each individual's unique qualities and freedom. But he also saw that society would be perverted if the individual did not recognize his or her duty to the whole. The Ethical Culture Movement offers a philosophical foundation for balancing values to which many others seem to be opposed. In Ethical Culture we have a guiding principle that is as modern as today's urgent needs and perhaps more relevant than ever before.
Whether we are building a nation or a local Society, the dynamics are essentially the same: the skills, talents and accomplishments of individuals must be valued. And, we must encourage each other to contribute our time, energy and investment in the common project to advance the Movement. The world needs us.
The American Ethical Union (AEU) also offers opportunities for people to share their ideas and their talents to advance the Movement as a whole. You can help our Societies grow and spread word of Ethical Humanism, and you can save the world, too, by joining an AEU committee or task force. We need people with experience in their Societies to help with the work of the following committees:
• Assembly 2013
• Membership / Society Development
• Religious Education
• Fund Raising
• Public Relations
Reach out to me at rlkoral.aeu[at]gmail.com and tell where you can best help.