He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
Thomas Paine US patriot & political philosopher (1737 - 1809)
This quote is an ideal that America first strived to define Herself with. We were (supposed to be) a Nation within which personal rights and liberties took precendence over "the greater good". It was assumed that if every person's individual rights were protected it would lend to that "greater good".
It is my firm belief that so long as a person's decisions, rights and liberties do not directly infringe on the rights of another, those liberties and decisions should be protected, tolerated and respected - regardless of whether you agree or disagree. Thomas Paine was so undeniable CORRECT in this sentiment. You get what you give in life - and if you neglect in protecting the rights of your neighbor, you can expect the same in return. Eventually you WILL make a decision that seems right for you and your family, hold a belief strongly or take advantage of an individual right that seems of the utmost importance to YOU... but that others will disagree with. Unless you live your life as a programmed robot, changing tide to suit others, you will need the support of others to continue on with the things that YOU consider important in life.
Personal beliefs, ideals, values and morals are completely subjective. Remember that the next time you want to deny gays the right to marry, your neighbor from buying cigarettes or your best friend from having an abortion.