What is dignity? A quick Google search will tell you it means, “the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect”. Every human being has dignity; therefore, every human being deserves to be treated with honor and respect. I believe there is a direct societal and economic link to how we define what it means to be human. Despite our recent struggles, the United States has been a bright, shining light of freedom and prosperity for almost 250 years. We are far from perfect, but there is a perfectly good reason why millions of people have risked their lives to emigrate here; it is the reason why, for years, our society was the most free and most prosperous nation on earth.

Was that prosperity an accident? A stroke of good fortune? Don’t you believe it! There are other countries that have been just as abundantly blessed with natural resources as the United States but have failed to achieve even a fraction of our success. Why? I am convinced the foundation for sustainable success as a nation is the very same foundation for interpersonal excellence: that nation’s definition of what it means to be human.

Our founders richly and clearly expressed that definition in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . .” Our founders had an exalted view of humanity, and that proved to be the springboard to levels of prosperity here in America that were the envy of the world.

The practice of everything—in a home, a workplace, a community, and in a nation—is the practice of some philosophy. Whether one is cognizant of that philosophy or not, it does not alter the inevitable, inexorable consequences of that philosophy. If the philosophy is evil, it will bear evil fruit; a good philosophy will bear good fruit, just as it did here in the United States for two centuries. I believe that the reason America is struggling today, both socially and economically, is because we have, as a nation, forgotten what it means to be human. What I am contending for is the practice of the philosophy that accords with the truth about what it means to be human so that we can once again reap the good and profitable fruit of that philosophy.

The consequences of a dehumanizing philosophy are always devastating to a society. History attests to the irrefutable fact that the dehumanizing of a select group within a society always starts with defining them in a manner other than who they are—that they are not “created equal.” It follows, then, that genocides—that is, the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group—cannot exist without stripping people of their humanity! In other words, when a group is defined as less than human, i.e., not human, they are treated as not human, and they are rounded up and sent to the concentration camps and the gulags.

A secondary definition under the Google definition of dignity is, “A sense of pride in oneself; self-respect”. If a human is treated with respect and honor, they will feel pride in themselves and emanate that onto others. Their morale will be boosted and they will be bursting with pride with what they do at work every day. Treat your Purpose Partners as your equal and you will reap the benefits joyfully.