Friday, July 15, 2016

To take care of "others", you have to learn to "take care of your own", first (David Brooks, Johathan Haidt essays)

David Brooks gives us a critical essay today in the New York Times, “We Take Care of Our Own”   Much of what he says is related to a credited long essay by NYU sociology professor Jonathan Haidt in the American Interest, "Whey and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism", link here  There is a substantial paywall, and given the booklet-length of the article (four chapters) the user may want to pick up (“purchase”) a hardcopy of the periodical at a local Barnes and Noble or similar bookstore.

I’ve pretty much nurtured the same line of thought.  I have become a self-expressive “globalist” myself and sometimes been heavily “criticized” for my lack of psychological loyalty to “groups” that have “nurtured” me, ranging from original family to activist or communal groups later in my life.

I think there is another point here, about socialization.  It’s important that people (“me”) learn to take care of others, with some intimacy when necessary.  This goes way beyond narrow ideas of personal responsibility, as modern libertarians see the idea, as people can become responsible for others besides their own voluntarily conceived kids.  The process is integral to making the lives of everyone, of varying quantitative abilities, in a family chain valued, so it’s important to democracy (and for “democratic capitalism” as we know it, a bit ironically).  This capacity usually has to be learned at home, in the family, before it can be exported to caring for the situations in other parts of the world.
That said, some churches I attend send youth groups to Belize, Nicaragua, and even El Savador and Kenya.  One has a ministry in South Sudan.  But it has to start at home.

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