A Statement of Principle

A Statement of Principle December 9, 2012

I realized that this never made it on to the blog, although I posted it on Facebook a month or so ago. It seems relevant, given my last post, so I’m putting it here. 

“I think I’ve posted this before, but I’m realizing more and more that it is the basic ethical principle underlying my basic approach to life: In any conflict between the rights or needs of two persons, the strong should give way to the weak (given proportionality), in order to maintain the possibility of the greatest possible preservation of goods. 

If the stronger individual gives way, they have

 the resources to potentially recover from any injury. If the weaker individual is made to give way, they are less likely to recover, and the sum total of human wellbeing and good is reduced. Given that all human beings are likely to find themselves at times weaker and at times stronger, we all benefit from a society that treats the weak with consideration and compassion.”

I believe that if someone can grasp this principle, they have a foundation with which to approach and understand any of my other opinions and positions, regardless of religious adherence or upbringing. I would privilege the poor over the rich, children over adults, the powerless over the powerful, and the weak over the strong.

You are angry at your child for disregarding your advice and screwing up their life, and you think you are justified in your resentment and anger? Suck it up – the broken need your mercy more than you need the vindication of being affirmed in your righteousness. You refuse to give coins to the beggar by the grocery store because he smells of alcohol? You will survive the loss of a carton of milk and container of deli meat, and your kindness may save his soul, if not his body. The child in your womb is an unwanted visitor, changing your body and challenging your relationships in ways you find terrifying? You are strong. You will survive this – and so will she, if you let her. She relies completely on your mercy, just as you may someday rely on the mercy of others to feed you or care for your body as it fails.

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