The Plebian Motto
Liberty, Justice, and Humanity
There’s nothing magical about a motto. It is a short statement or phrase, sometimes even a single word, meant to convey the essence of what an organization is about. Because mottos are so terse, they often require explanation. We would hope that is not the case for the Plebian motto. However, the brief explanation which follows should make the motto clear.
Liberty (freedom) embodies the unalienable rights of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Liberty embodies the small, individual freedoms and rights inherent to every human being, including the right to privacy, the right of ownership, the right to exist, the freedoms granted in the Bill of Rights, and the liberty to do as one wills so long as that action does no harm to any other person.
Justice has nothing to do with retribution, punishment, or revenge. Those erroneously applied connotations have entered the language over the past hundred years or so and that is unfortunate. Justice is about fairness, equality, what the French called egalité during and after their Revolution, and being morally correct.
By the strictest definition, “humanity” could convey not only those attributes of people that we deem altruistic, but also those of a baser nature like selfishness, greed, and hatred. But the word has somehow eluded these negative connotations and what is meant in the Plebian motto is humanity that encompasses caring, compassion, sympathy, and brotherly love.
When taken as a whole, “humanity” places a larger meaning on the motto:
FREEDOM AND EQUALITY IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF LOVE AND COMPASSION.