Then, Now, Us and Them (Part 2)
I think I remember where I was going with this:
Up until very recently there was not even a concept of a global ethic. Most of human history occurred in the pre-state era when people routinely made war upon their neighbors or at the very least regarded them with little or no compassion. Communities competed for resources and power and as such every group was a rival to another. Consider for a moment how wasteful in terms of lives and money it would be (albeit, hilarious) if the communities of Lansing, East Lansing, Okemos, and Meridian were in constant states of war. The expansion of the in-group to entire states and nations in the modern era has made life incalculably more tolerable and efficient with one glaring exception. It is often the case that ethnic minorities within nations are not considered by the majority population to belong to the in-group and vice-versa.
Take for example the Michael Dunn case where he, a white man, shot into a car full of black teenagers in a dispute that originated over loud music. The legal merits of his case aside, the callous manner in which he acted afterward (driving off without calling authorities, checking into a hotel, and ordering pizza), does not bespeak the actions of someone who has just taken human life. Either Michael Dunn is a classic sociopath or, more likely, he simply did not perceive the teenagers he fired at to be as fully human and deserving of rights and protections as he was. And lest you think I’m taking sides in a black/white blamefest here I will point out that in most cases of black victims suffer at the hands perpetrators of their own race I will argue that for black denizens of the ‘hood the in-group is almost nonexistent. There is something wrong with America and guns are not the issue, they are merely the mechanism in which it is manifested. The problem lies in our deeply rooted inability to perceive other groups, within our own border as well as without, as fully human and deserving of respect and expectations of basic human rights.
The most current example of this effect is America’s response to ISIS. I am not surprised that most Americans agree with areal bombardment and drone attacks against ISIS. I am surprised at the callous disregard by many Americans when it comes to the outrages committed against Yazidis, Christians, Shia, and moderate Sunnis of Iraq. That many people can see the images of modern day crucifixions and beheadings and see entire populations displaced and argue against putting boots on the ground because that is their problem to take care of says to me that humanity has not yet reached where we need to be from an ethical perspective. Under normal circumstances people are not ethically bound to help one another but there is such a thing the ethics of emergencies. Please note when you have someone as callous and indifferent as teh Mexigogue questioning your level of compassion SOMETHING IS FUCKING WRONG WITH YOU!!!! And with that, I think I’ve wrapped up today’s contribution.