Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Who Do You Think You Are?

I need to throw a question out there. It's precipitated by a discussion in the comment thread here.

The title of this post is the question but let me amplify.

The premise is that as an American my interests and concern as well as my actions and those of my country should be focused on USA first and if by chance some others benefit that's a lagniappe.

For discussion's sake let me try and express my answer to the question.

While I am proud of my country and grateful to have been, by chance, born American my concern and primary interests are far larger. In the great cosmic dance, my existence and that of all others currently extant up the planet is merely a flash, a fraction of a second in the thread of life on this fragile planet of spaceship earth. The genes I am currently borrowing can be traced (through mitochondrial DNA) to the savannas of Africa and millions of years in the past. I am first a creature of the universe and more locally the planet Earth and a creature of the USA second at best. My first responsibility or allegiance, if you will, is to the universe. My fellow humans and the rest of the creatures that share my heritage, tracking back to the beginning of life on Earth, are my first responsibility. My loyalty and support of the political entity of the United States, while very important, are in reality at best secondary and more probably even tertiary after my family.
In light of the above then it becomes clear that the welfare of my fellow humans, whether it is freedom from fear and oppression or freedom from hunger and disease is rightly superior to my concern for my American fellows as a subset of the above. This is not an easy concept since one will invariably be challenged with the challenges of "will you let your neighbors starve while sending food to Africa?" and the like. Life is full of choices but they are rarely black and white as many would have us believe.

So who do you think you are? Are you and your fellow countrymen and your welfare paramount? Is it meaningful to think about the bigger picture? Do you owe any allegiance to the universe and planet that produced you? And finally Spock's great question...Does the good of the many outweigh the good of the few? Pitch in and tell us what you think.

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