Res Publica is latin for ‘the public thing’. We are a community for people who care about the world, and share a certain vision of what's wrong with it and what to do about it. There are 5 core components to our vision:
1. Common Things – We believe that the most precious things we have are our “res publica” - the things we have in common – our values, our principles, our community, our freedom, our earth. We are concerned that a rising philosophy that celebrates individual selfishness in the world is undermining our stewardship of these things. We are working for culture change, to revitalize ‘the public thing’, the thing we share, in our communities, our nations, and our world.
2. Global Community – Gandhi said “I am a human being first, and a citizen of India second”. His beliefs would never allow him to ignore the demands of his humanity for any national political affiliation. He was still a proud Indian and passionate about his country, but he felt his nation could only be great if it honored the principles and values shared by all humanity. Like Gandhi, we would never ignore the needs of our fellow human beings for security or justice because it was not in our country’s national interest to help them.
3. Good Government – We see bad government as the greatest single cause of the world’s problems, and good government as the most powerful solution. We believe that government can be good, if citizens become good leaders and get involved to make it so. Democratic government is the only institution that all citizens share, and it is our most powerful tool to achieve our common dreams, and protect the things we hold in common. Many activists and civil society groups do not see government as a meeting place to pursue their ideals, and oppose it or ignore it. We feel that this approach is short-sighted and self defeating, and plays into the hands of illegitimate powerful interests who want citizens to stay out of the political process.
4. Deliberative Democracy – we don’t want democracy that is just about winning, selfish interests, or the competition of interest groups that don’t really listen to each other. We seek a politics that is about learning, and doing the right thing. Some call this “deliberative democracy”, or “Open Democracy”. Open Democracy says that democracy should be less like a boxing match and more like a table for conversation, where all sides sincerely listen to each other and make decisions based on conscience, not interests or uninformed perspectives. A deliberation is an open, honest, conversation, where people sincerely struggle to find the truth and the right thing to do in any situation. That’s what we think politics should be like.
5. Personal Commitment – we think that making a difference in the world begins with each one of us, in our own decisions about how to relate to others, to our communities and to ourselves. Do we pursue our self interests all the time, or do we strive for compassion, courage, truth, and dedication? Do pursuits of status, money, or success distract us from what really matters to us? Striving to be genuinely public spirited takes a lot of determination and self discipline. But it is what we need to follow Gandhi’s maxim to “be the change you wish to see in world”.