I’ll be the first to admit that I thought HSBC Bank being brought to justice was an absolute. Unfortunately, we all know the reality of what happened in that money laundering scandal: The bad guys got away. There was no justice … no dove flew across the courtroom. This result begs the question – if the essence of America, in the form of freedom and justice, are not absolutes, then why should we believe in them?

Modern day mathematics and physics are defined by the concept of infinity. Even something that is defined by “absolute” boundaries is infinite. For example, calculus is based on the notion that an object can be divided up an infinite amount of times because you can always divide something in half, no matter how small it is. Even though an object like a pencil, which appears to have a defined space, is still infinite (which means an “Absolute is not really an Absolute”).

I started thinking about the concept of infinity in relation to the disillusionment that American society faces. I have come to the conclusion that freedom and justice lie in facts, not absolutes. Not everyone is free, and as in my previous example regarding HSBC, justice does not always prevail. If the concept of infinity proves no absolutes, then should we still believe in them? The answer I came to is YES. We should still believe in “absolutes” like freedom and justice because we must always try to achieve freedom and justice, even though they will never be absolute.

Our founding fathers created the essence of American freedom and justice because they believed they were worth fighting for. No matter how many HSBC terrorist financing bankers get away … no matter how many times our freedom is infringed upon or the justice system fails us … we must continue fighting for the “American absolutes” that will by their nature never be absolute. It is the caring, the struggle, and the fight that makes us American.

Everett A. Stern