Oct 5, 2011

We’re All In This Together

By James R. Herman

Freedom and the golden rule demands inclusion rather than exclusion. Some people are worried about securing our borders and want to build a fence at the Mexican border. Here’s a lesson we can draw from WWII. This horrible action was repeated many times with the same result. People were gassed to death inside concentration camps. After the gassing was finished and everyone was dead they went in to remove the bodies for cremation. Here’s what they found every time. All the bodies were in a heap. The weak were at the bottom and the strongest were at the top. People fought for that last breath of fresh air. A pregnant woman might expel her fetus in the struggle. The evidence showed that people had bitten, scratched, clawed, punched, kicked and generally fought each other in the most heinous ways to compete for that last breath of air. These were normal, civilized caring people who would never have behaved this way under normal circumstances.

The lesson here is that when people are treated badly, then they behave badly. Or when resources are scarce and people feel threatened, then behavior goes from bad to worse. The expressions of this exclusion on a large scale are war and genocide.

The only way to achieve peace is to make sure everyone has enough. So this certainly means keeping the population at a sustainable level so there are enough resources for everyone to have a quality of life. Certainly we humans are smarter than animals so we do not have to live by the law of the jungle. History shows us that we can always find something to fight about. So having a single race, a single religion or a single country etc will not lead to peace. Each person needs to be judged by his/her own behavior rather than as being part of a group. So rather than exclude the group just exclude the individual who exhibits bad behavior. So we will always need police and jails. Again it comes down to freedom and the golden rule. What follow is tolerance, happiness and having a quality of life which maximizes the probability of having peace, harmony and inclusion.

The really disheartening thing is, that this is not comprehended. If it were then why would we choose misery over happiness? The framers of our constitution said that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They acknowledged that everyone just wants to live a happy life. Exclusionary zoning violates one’s freedom to live in a home of one’s own choosing. Exclusionary zoning denies one the freedom to pursue happiness. It just doesn’t get any more basic than this.