The Corner

Callous Derb

Kathryn: All right. At some abstract level, as a human being and a Christian, I do care about them. However

—I don’t care about a shipful of Egyptians anything like as much as I care about a shipful of Americans.

—I don’t care about them enough to find time in a busy day to read to the end of the news story. One could, after all, fill a day several times over with nothing but reading news stories about horrible things happening to one’s fellow human beings in remote places. We are selective; and those old tribal instinct drive some of our selections. Tell me anyone else is any different. Tell me you are any different.

—If I take out my concern about those drowned Egyptians and take a good look at it, it really is a pretty feeble, abstract sort of caring. It is, in my opinion, a very good thing, and a great step up for humanity, that religious and ethical teachers have trained us to give a passing thought to the sufferings of strangers in distant places. A passing thought is all we give, though, 99 percent of the time, and I seriously doubt that in this respect I am any more callous than the human average.

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