It is Moral Failure to Quit in a World Organized by Dominance

By Katherine Power (July 16, 2018)

I’ve been thinking about the difference between the situation of the children stranded in the Thai cave on the one hand, and on the other hand, the US border patrol’s separating children from their parents and putting them in cages.

In Thailand, everyone was working together, government was mobilized, volunteer specialists came from halfway around the world, nothing was held back because of a shortage of resources, there will be medical and psychological help for survivors, and no one even mentions that several of the trapped young people are stateless refugees. As in so many situations in human life, the ending could quite possibly have been tragic, but would try with all our might.

At the border, we have a brutal, uncaring government doing everything it can to escape accountability; the resources are being used to enrich corporate cronies; the parents and the children are despised as dangerous and unworthy foreigners. It seems like the disaster could go on forever.

The difference in outcome between the cave and the border could look like a moral failure, a difference in the value put on the lives of the people in the two groups. It seems to me, though, to be to be a perfect illustration of the difference between a world organized by cooperation and mutuality, and a world organized by dominance.

Notice the power, the immense energy and ingenuity brought to bear by people working together to rescue the children in the Thai cave. True, it was an acute problem of one moment, but the capacity to address it arose from a wealth of healthy civic, governmental, and social relationships and activities.

We are working together to rescue the children in the cages. We may not win in one jubilant moment. The moral failure would be to quit in despair.


This originally appeared on Katherine Power’s blog, Practical Peace.  You can see it here.

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