Saturday, September 26, 2015

Really only one world

Recently the issue of animal ‘rights’ and welfare attracted my attention, and I wrote a mouthful, essentially disclaiming that I had anything to do with it (an obvious lie, since I eat meat, fish, and eggs), and saying that until we as a race evolve a bit more to where we’re all living on the ‘Garden of Eden diet’ (I could’ve said, the ‘Lenten diet’), animals will just have to put up with us.

Of course, on the serious side of this issue I wrote what any compassionate, thinking human being would say, that we should not keep the animals (or whose eggs) we are about to eat in conditions more fitted to machinery parts—tiny cages inside buildings, for example, that deny them any of the benefits of actually being alive in the brief time we allot to them.

But thinking a bit further on this topic of ‘cages’ reminded me of one of my other ‘passions’ about things existential and political, the imposition of national borders and the controls that they impose on the inmates (usually called the ‘citizens’) of a prison (usually called a ‘country’). Modern nation states have a modern notion of borders that was unknown for much of recorded history.

As recently as the mid-nineteenth century, people could freely move between countries in most parts of the world. For example, it wasn’t until 1864 that the U.S. Congress first centralized control over immigration under the Secretary of State with a Commissioner. The importation of contract laborers was legalized in this legislation. Border controls were about to arise.

With the current ‘refugee crisis’ (mostly) in Europe, one cannot avoid thinking about the controls that nation-states impose to keep people in (in the case of Communist states, and others), but mostly out (everyone else). The civil war in Syria, which should not be going on if the U.N. were more than a prodigal display of paper chasing and diplomatic hobnobbing, is the current cause.

Europe’s resources are already stretched enough with ‘little Mexicos’ of its own to be able to deal with the current flood pressing on its southern shores. Syrians make up at least half the horde of mostly Muslim refugees which, we complain, should be absorbed by other Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, for example, that have (we think) the resources (though not the will) to help.

True, but as for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, we already know that ‘money seeks its own,’ and that though they might dribble out a few million bucks like an old man trying very hard to pee, the only refugees they will welcome, regardless of religion or race, are the rich, who seem to be a religion and race all to themselves. As for countries like America, Canada, or Australia, the same.

I believe in a world without borders and, after many millions of deaths, the final victory of love.

One day we will look back with as much pity and disbelief as we now look back at the Dark Ages (probably much more), and wonder how anyone could think they could keep people inside artificial ‘borders’ where they could use and abuse them under the pretext of protecting them. Some ‘countries’ like (I have to set the word in quotes, thinking of) North Korea, don’t care that the world knows.

But the rest of us—our countries, I mean—are quite confident and proud of the fact that we have divvied up the whole earth into cantonments, some of which resemble luxury estates, while others look more like concentration camps, to keep the first from slipping to the status of the second, and vise versa, since the second category of containments (the real term) is usually owned by the first.

There are two issues here, actually. One is, the wars and internal strife that create refugees (people who wouldn’t want to move if they could safely stay where they are). The other is, the controls over people that do not let them move freely anywhere in the world when they want to for whatever reasons, be they economic, educational, familial, or social. Solving the second issue dissolves the first.

But not, perhaps, in the short term. There will always be a lag between progressive social legislation and its acceptance by the societies that institute it. Evolution, not always untainted by revolution, is at work here. This is where education could provide a buffer to ease us into a borderless world, even while local clashes continued. It would also help if a U.N. really existed that lived up to its name.

My last paragraph, to sum it all up. If we (some of us) are moved by pity over animals being treated inhumanely by being caged in conditions unworthy of living beings to push for the abolition of such conditions, can’t we find it in ourselves to be motivated by the same pity to abolish the conditions we find our own species trapped in? Open your doors, nations! Why open them?

Because we are only one world, we are really only one world.

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