Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ignoring one baby is immoral, ignoring millions is policy

Sculpture by Damien Hirst

     Let's talk about morality.
     No, not other people's morality; your morality. Parsing the morality of others is too easy. It comes to some as naturally as breathing and almost as often.
     Examining what you think is right for you? A little harder.
     Here's the scenario.
     It's morning. You stroll to the sidewalk to collect your Sun-Times — you subscribe, thank you very much, a good sign, though not the ethics test I have in mind.
     You bend to pick up the plastic-clad cylinder and hear a cry. You stand up. There, on the tree lawn, is a baby. About 6 months old. Chubby arms and legs waving. Gurgling baby noises.
     What do you do?
     Well, first you look around. Hoping to see a parent quick-stepping over to claim their darling. That's natural. Someone take this cup from me.
     There is nobody on the street. You blink a few times. You look down at the baby.
     Still there.

     To continue reading, click here.


  1. Brilliant article.

    The GOP is giving a trillion dollars to rich people and paying for it by making health care for children, the poor, the elderly impossibly difficult to obtain.

    If a fiction writer created such a scenario people would reject the premise as so unspeakably sinister as to be beyond belief.

    The GOP is an agent of change that would make history's greatest scoundrels blush. Billions of dollars for the rich at the mortal risk of the least among us. If this doesn't get the Trump voter's attention nothing will. I fear that nothing will.

  2. I know a couple people, otherwise decent, kind, caring individuals, who do everything they can to avoid paying taxes to support schools, because they don't have any kids going to school. I can't really say anything to them, because if I did, I would have to accuse them of heartlessness and foolishness -- do they want a society in which poor children receive so poor an education that they are unemployable?


    1. Once my mother, rest her soul, was talking with a bunch of friends her (advanced) age when the subject of an upcoming school tax referendum came up. They all said they were voting against it, because, as John said, they didn't have any kids going to school.

      My mother didn't accuse them of being heartless or foolish. Instead, she went right for the pocketbook: "Don't you understand that a big part of the value of your home is the quality of the local schools? How do you think you'll ever sell your house, if you have to, if we all let the schools go to hell?"

      Sadly, it sometimes takes framing the issue in terms of personal interest to make people believe in the collective good.

    2. Like the cops that get fit only when you throw them a few extra bucks.


  3. I had to look up "tree lawn." We call it a parkway here.


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