Humane as line in the sand: First try at a principles statement for a Humane Campaign

Right now there seems to be no common line of demarcation between good and bad, no universal and non-negotiable principle by which people can make judgements regarding policy, their own and those they endorse by participating in the decision making processes of their society.

While it may not be possible to apply always, any violation of a principle based in humanity is an act against humanity or, at least, a particular human being.  Using humanity as a line in the sand makes for a very good starting point for any discussion of what should be allowed, what should be done, what can be allowed and what can be.

War, throughout my life, has been justified by reference to some necessity or other and, as happens all too often after lives have been taken, human beings have suffered, and places destroyed, there is discussion over whether the war was worth the cost.  The default answer should be no because lives have been lost and people have suffered and the earth has been violated making that piece of earth a place lost for human beings and all of the creatures who, too, deserve humane treatment and who are essentials to the ecosystems that sustain all life on the planet.

War is always inhumane.  War should be eradicated.  When war is being discussed, the automatic response by a humane society should be no and an extremely high burden of proof demanded of advocates for going to war.  As discussions occur, they must include honest and empathetic consideration of who will suffer, what that suffering will and might be like, and whether or not those participating in the discussion would be willing to sacrifice themselves or their loved ones to such a cause.

Economics policy needs to be considered in a similar way.  So often those who suffer pain as a result of economic decisions are gladly sacrificed by others, those others too often deriving personal benefits from such decisions.  Again, those involved in the decision making have to be made to at least face those who will be sacrificed and explain to them why it is that it is good that such decision be made.  While it probably will not happen ever that those who decide to harm others first feel the kind of pain those sacrificed will endure, they should be forced to consider the decision from the perspective of those to whom they will do harm.

International relations have for a very long time been about strong nations taking advantage of the weaker and, in many cases the result has been inhumane treatment of the peoples of those weaker countries.  The humane doctrine would force decision makers to turn the treatment upon themselves and their loved ones, if not in the real world, at least through some kind of simulation.  Yes, this is about that “do onto others” idea, a very good one that has ever so much to do with the cause of humanity.

One cannot do onto others what they would not allow to have done to themselves and be considered humane.  If not humane, than inhumane and there are penalties for being such that need to be made considerably stronger.



By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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