You have a button in front of you, placed there by a helpful genie. But instead of giving you the standard three wishes (and why doesn't anybody ever wish for ten wishes?), the genie has limited your options.HT: Chris Gensheer
If you push the button, the real income of all the "have-nots" in the world will double overnight. Their health care will be twice as good as it is now, their disposable income will be twice as large, their houses will be twice as nice, and so on. But another consequence of pushing this button will also be the fact that the "haves" will see their prosperity increase ten-fold. They will all be ten times richer, thus enabling them to swank around all day.
To spell it out, this means that the divide between the rich and poor will widen, but will do so in a way that leaves the poor undeniably better off.
This is your ethical "dilemma," and part of your test is whether or not you even think of it as a dilemma. Would you refuse to push that button out of hard principle? Would you push it, but with a guilty conscience? Or would you, like me, push it while whistling a cheerful air, with your hat on the side of your head?
If you would not push it, or if you would push it reluctantly, then that urgent yearning for social justice that you feel all the time in your gut is not compassion at all, but cancerous envy. It is evil. It is a deadly sin that must be mortified. You don't love the poor at all -- you hate the rich, and you want to use the poor as a club. And why would this malevolent genie want to take your precious club away?
Friday, December 16, 2011
Examining Our Thirst for Social Justice