Most conservatives and libertarians agree on most issues, right? You would be surprised at how quickly two members of the same party diverge in the details of what they believe. In this recurring series on Liberty Nation, we ask the tough questions and probe the complicated issues of our respective ideologies. So, dust off that Disqus account and join us in the comments below, we want to hear what you think!
This week we are talking about the tragedy of human loss. Imagine a breaking news story that catches your eye as you go about your day. A building in downtown San Francisco is on fire, arson is suspected. As you watch the details of the story unfold, you find that the police are on the lookout for two armed white supremacists. Through the raging inferno on the television, you spy a minaret. This building that is burning down is a mosque. The reporter goes on to chronicle that the arson occurred during afternoon prayers, and at least a dozen people may have perished in the mosque inferno.
Pause for a second and consider how you would feel.
Now imagine a different scenario, but with a similar setup: the news shows a building on fire, and arson is suspected. Except that this time, it is happening in Greenville, South Carolina. Now through the blaze, you see a steeple. It is a non-denominational Bible church which is burning to the ground. Again, over a dozen worshipers in the church are suspected fatalities, but this time police are on the lookout for two members associated with the New Black Panther Party.
Now pause again and consider your emotions towards this second story.
So, what happened? Be honest with yourself. Were your reactions to both scenarios the same? And if they were different, do you feel guilty? Should you feel guilty? We instinctively know and accept that when incidents of terrorism occur overseas, most citizens in the U.S. do not feel the loss as intensely as when tragedy strikes at home. Should this difference in emotional response stop at the border? Should the common denominator for equal empathy and sorrow be American citizenship? Or is it OK that we feel greater regret at the loss of people who are most like ourselves, even if those people happen to live hundreds of miles away?
These are tough questions with many personal and ethical issues at play. Let us know what you think as we dialogue together in our comments section below.