Saturday, January 3, 2009
Beyond Clan Ethics
We see what clan ethics is producing in the mid-East, Africa, the Balkans, and the America's. Action our of cultural difference often based in territory and sanctified by religion leads to mistrust, suspicion, blame, and violence--even that of war and genocide.
The different is totally Other, a violator of the gods' laws, a threat to existence, and therefore alien. Language, color, race, ritual, lifestyle, sex--all become signs of the alien, godless and without spirit, that must be confined, defeated, or even eradicated--for the sake of the homeland and usually in god's name.
These ethics will no longer do. The old time religions are deficient. The economics of winners and losers and the politics of domination are killing us all by destroying the very conditions of our being human.
We have entered an era of instant communication, of global marketplaces, of shared planetary effect, of weapons of world-wide destruction. An ethic of the tribe, an ethics based on religion, nationality, or an indiviualist economic ideology will be out of sync with our new reality.
So we must together, across tribal, national, religious, and political boundaries search for a new public ethic with the folowing characteristics: universality, inclusiveness, accessibility, stability. And as soon as we assert that our religion or nation or economy has the true and correct way of being and acting, we relapse into tribalism. Beware of those with staunch beliefs, invariable principles, and ultimate truths whether achieved by revelation or reason. They are the obstacles to our common achievement of a Public Ethic.