The better worlds once imagined have never been realized, whether it be those of 18th. century France, 19th century Russia, or 20th century United States. But still the consensus today is that things are getting better. If nothing else in proof of this there is Bill Gates’ favorite book, Enlightenment Now, or The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker.
But there is also the fact, not in favor of this conclusion, that we have an ignorant, lying buffoon as president of the United States. Things are getting better? Well maybe after November 3rd of this year when the president is ejected by the people.
However, we, that is humanity, has clearly progressed, Pinker is right. But not just because there are more of us, more Homo Sapiens, on the earth than ever before. Rather because we understand better our own role on this earth which is two fold, to protect the earth, and to protect yes ourselves, but more important those most in need of our help. One might even say that man’s principal role on the earth. is not just to feed himself, but to feed the hungry (wasn’t this what Jesus Christ tried to tell us, his message being now mostly lost in the machinations and prevarications of the millions of Evangelicals and their ilk). And if we have made progress it’s because, in spite of the Evangelicals, more and more of us realize that’s why we’re here.
We are called the exceptional nation. What does that mean? Maybe something like this? To what other nation on earth have those most in need, those who still want a better life, run in such numbers? The so-called successes of other nations have always been counted in terms of great men and women. While that too our successes have always been counted by the numbers of people who have come here looking for a better life. That’s why it”s us, first among the world’s nations, who have been labeled the nation of immigrants.
Now wouldn’t you think that this being our greatness we would seek to preserve it? But no, today, and on any number of past occasions, our government authorities would by a wall yes, “Build that Wall!” but much more often and more insidious by administrative actions, by rule after rule, until finally the refugee has had enough of our land and turns about and goes back. “Home”? that which was no more when he left, weeks, months and years before. And the rational for the actions of our immigration officers in every case if always the same, that immigrants, the refugees, of whom we are told that there are 70 million of them today, will by coming here take our wealth, our jobs, and destroy us a nation. Whereas the immigrants themselves have shown us over and over again they bring with them new wealth, new jobs and most of all a new ability to build where there was nothing before.
If you want to understand what I mean by a wall of rules read Rachel Morris’ article (really the modern history of immigration to our country) in the Huffington Post of July 18th. It’s a long article, and will take some time to read, but more than worth it. Here below from the article are her final words:
Back in 1924, Johnson-Reed’s (who would bring to an end the Jewish flight to our country from Hitler’s Germany) supporters never anticipated the Holocaust, and yet they expanded its horrors. We don’t know where our own future is headed, but we live in a time of metastasizing instability. Last year, the United Nations’ official tally of refugees passed 70 million, the highest since World War II. Mass migrations, whether because of violence or inequality or environmental calamity or some murky blend of factors that don’t conveniently fit existing laws, are the reality and challenge of our era. There aren’t any easy solutions. But already, what started as a series of small, obscure administrative changes is resulting in unthinkable cruelty. If left to continue, it will, in every sense, redefine what it means to be American.
I conclude with this too (From the Prologue to Pinker’s Enlightenment Now, or The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress).
The common sense of the eighteenth century, its grasp of the obvious facts of human suffering, and of the obvious demands of human nature, acted on the world like a bath of moral cleansing. —Alfred North Whitehead