the subject that won't die.
Michael Erickson makes an excellent point about the dilemma of changing
the world for the better without using our our own moral values as the
touchstone for determining what is right. Respect other cultures without
necessarily condoning all of their practices. Referring to infanticide
and similar practices in other cultures, he points out that we have our
unsavory practices as well.
George Mitchell, the former Senate Majority Leader, when asked if the US
should penalize countries that allowed and condoned child labor, made the
following analogy. My rendition is not nearly as effectively presented as
He said suppose we take the tack that we should suspend trade with all
countries that condone child labor. And we should suspend trade with all
countries that have political prisoners. And so on. Then, suppose other
countries assessed the US's moral codes and found them wanting in some
areas and determined to suspend trade with us. For example -- and this
was his point -- the US is one of only a handful of countries that
executes people for crimes. If every country that did not execute
criminals chose to stop trading with us, we would literally have 5 or 6
And yet, our government and many people see nothing wrong with executing
criminals. What is apparently abhorrent to most of the world is perfectly
fine for us.
Without intending to condone any other country's practices, this example
helps me understand that we need to begin to understand what our values
are at home, not somewhere else.
Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc. email@example.com
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>