We’ll hear the clichéd phase, “let freedom ring”, and perhaps forget that our nation’s “independence” meant freedom from Britain. But this is not a history lesson. It is a reminder that independence does not mean freedom, and freedom does not mean independence; one is not necessarily a consequence of the other.
Martin Luther King revived the phrase. In his famous speech he said, “The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”
That truth is self-evident, yet it has been tested constantly, and we still witness the social injustices as if he’d never said those words–an echo ignored.
It is also a message that can be a guide for protecting all sentient life on the planet. To paraphrase King, the marvelous new militancy that has engulfed us in the environmental community must not lead us to distrust all established forms of governance.
Surprisingly, corporations have realized that their destiny is tied up with the destiny of our planet’s protectors. Their freedom to operate sustainably in the future is inextricably bound to the freedom of all people striving to live sustainably on our planet.
This is becoming more evident: ESG refers to the environmental, social, and governance practices of a company. It is used to enhance traditional financial analysis, thereby taking a wholistic approach to being responsible…what a concept! And it is for the benefit of everyone, including the companies that adopt it.
A new corporate conscience:
Larry Fink, Founder, and Chairman of BlackRock is perhaps the most emblematic corporate leader making a clear commitment to fixing the corporate/capitalist mindset. In his 2021 annual letter to CEOs, and in his letter to shareholders, he urges corporate leaders to ensure that their companies mitigate climate risk and consider “the opportunities presented by the net zero transition”.
Mark Benioff, the chairman and co-C.E.O. of Salesforce, stands out as someone who proves that corporations can be a positive factor for social and environmental change. Read the New York Times article, Marc Benioff: We Need a New Capitalism in which he says, “It’s time for a new capitalism — a more fair, equal and sustainable capitalism that actually works for everyone and where businesses, including tech companies, don’t just take from society but truly give back and have a positive impact.”
Just as in ESG, the books of The Trilogy for Freedom also strive for a wholistic worldview of freedom, one that is hard-fought by people who desire freedom as much as they do love.
So, as freedom echos the clanging victories of the past, let us make sure that our freedom echo is clear and not muffled by suspicion and distrust. We cannot walk alone. And though we celebrate it, we cannot survive independently.
“This tale of a middle-aged man in modern Portugal caught up in links to his youthful adventures, while both a thriller and a romance, yet without polemics raises ethical questions about exploitation and man’s inhumanity to man. “