Saturday, April 11, 2015

Despoiling the Commons

We live in an interconnected world where peoples of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and dispositions rub up against one another all of the time and, quite often, in uncomfortable ways.  Most develop an insulating layer about their own constellation of beliefs and understandings that enable them to live with, but not accept those who believe otherwise.  It's a large playing field and there is sufficient room for everyone.

But most of us realize at an early age that there is a social contract that allows for discord, a way of resolving issues without resorting to behaviors or actions that would destroy the precious bubble that allows us to co-exist.  There are laws to prevent the most harmful actions, a moral code that deals with things of lesser consequence, and common decency to keep everyone but sociopaths from needlessly bothering others.  The contract we all commit to when we become part of society both protects and supports us throughout our lives and helps preserve what we value most.

We jail or fine those who break laws, we confine and try to help those who are a danger to themselves or others, but we have only a few mechanisms to deal with those with little value for human decency; those who in a moment of pique would poison the well from which we all drink, pollute the food we consume, or tear down a shared fabric that provides delight and pleasure to everyone.

Destroying a work of art, a piece of literature, the commons, or a useful social construct are equally vile for doing so not only destroys the current culture's enjoyment, but also denies their appreciation from innumerable future generations.

Just saying.


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