These are the principles which I personally think should govern the interaction between people and the world. They specify how I want to be treated, and consequently how I wish to treat people.

(1) People should be treated as individuals. I am not a representative of any group of people that you think you can distinguish on the basis of some features that I have (especially not a feature that I was born with). I am not representative of “all men,” or “all white men,” or “all Dutch people,” or what have you. I abhor statements along the lines of “all X are Y,” where X relates to a feature that I have. I am an individual, and want to be treated as such. Just like I want to treat you as an individual. If I hear a claim along the lines of “as X, I experience Y,” I think: I believe that you experience Y, but you cannot claim that all X experience Y, nor that all who are not X do not experience Y. Let’s see if we can help you with Y, without bringing in the fact that you are X.

(2) People should be treated as equals. As much as possible, everyone should have the same rights, the same support, and the same opportunities. In concert with the first principle, this entails that one should not gain or lose rights or opportunities just because one is a member of a particular group based on some arbitrary features.

(3) People should have freedom of choice. Outside influences that compel people to make certain choices which are contrary to their wishes should be minimized. I realize that in particular this ideal may bump harshly into a wall built of reality bricks. Social and cultural structures which people grow up in or are part of may heavily influence what one feels one can and cannot choose, and can and cannot escape from. Presently, the only way that I see to deal with that is to recognize the issue and, in concert with the first principle, see if it can be dealt with on an individual basis.

It seems to me that if these principles are ingrained in a society, the people in that society will experience a high level of freedom, a high level of safety, and a high level of support to make their own, personal aspirations a reality.

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