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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

To Share Or Not To Be, That Is Our Question

It has been said by notable peace activists like Martin Luther King Jr. that we have a choice between violence and nonexistence. But considering that the presence of violence is almost always preceded by conflict and conflict almost always revolves around an unwillingness to share, it seems that we should clear as to the choice we have to make.

Our choice is between sharing and nonexistence. The more we share with each other, the less reason there is to undertake risky ventures that could cause us to destroy ourselves and each other. However, the less willing we are to share, the more risky behaviors we will exhibit and the more likely we are to make ourselves nearly extinct. 

What we seem most reluctant to share are power and prosperity. An example of when power is not being shared can be seen when one group tries to dominate another. In America, we see some Conservative Christians being unwilling to share power equally with those from the LGBT community. This is most evident in the resistance my fellow religiously Conservative Christians exercise to same-sex marriage. In trying to prohibit same-sex marriage in society, Conservative Christians are not just trying to cement a privileged place for themselves in determining society's laws, they are trying to push those from the LGBT community to the margins. In other words, my fellow religiously Conservative Christians want more power for themselves and less power for those from the LGBT community.

An example of those who are not willing to share prosperity with others can be seen by those who favor restrictive entitlement limits for those who live on public assistance. Knowing that they will have to foot the bill for these entitlements, those working to cut public assistance provisions for those in need demonstrate a reluctance to share prosperity. The same can be said about employers who underpay their employees. We have a serious problems with corporations underpaying the lower-skilled employees to the point that such employees must apply for government assistance. And when these employers also work to avoid paying taxes, they are showing a reluctance to share prosperity.

And of course, the choice is not limited to an exclusive either-or choice between sharing power or prosperity.  We can see plenty of businesses that benefit from political favors show that they refuse to share both power and prosperity.

So far, we have been speaking rather abstractly about the reluctance to share within a society or nation. Such a reluctance can threaten the longterm existence of such a society or nation. For example, when the French aristocracy had the government move the tax burden from themselves to the peasant class, it helped spark a vicious and bloody revolution.  But such a problem can exist between two nations. The longterm fight between Israel and the Palestinians provides such an example. Israel's insistence on obtaining exclusive ownership of more and more land has given birth to a brutal cycle of obtaining of land via oppression by Israel's government  with a response consisting of an insatiably immoral series of terrorist attacks by some Palestinians. 

Currently, terrorist groups have made inroads into African nations because of how energy resource corporations look to abstract natural resources from certain African nations by making sure that the wealth from these natural resources are only shared with a few people in power.

And we might ask: What determines our support for the Saudi Arabian government and our resistance to the Venezuelan government? Is it not because the Saudi government is more supportive of our aims for how their resources will be controlled while the Venezuelan government is not. Here we have precedents to go by. When the Mossadegh tried to implement a policy where Iran would be in control of its own natural resources, both Britain and the United States orchestrated a coup and replaced him with a friendly them tyrant to his people. A very similar story could be told about Guatemala in 1954 and Chile in 1973. There are other nations in which this has occurred as well.

We should note that the title of this blogpost stated that the alternative to not sharing is nonexistence. That is because of the violence that can follow the refusal to share can be so great that few if not all can survive. And the only conflict in which that kind of violence can occur today is the battle over the Ukraine where a nuclear-armed NATO is opposing and trying to steal the Ukraine from nuclear-armed Russia. And because both powers have a substantial number of nuclear weapons, it is easy in that conflict to see that our options are limited to sharing and making peaceful agreements or nonexistence.

However, other conflicts are on the horizon. With the advancement of technology, it is quite conceivable to expect "terrorist" groups to some day obtain WMDs and use them. Or if we don't destroy ourselves through wars using WMDs, we could very well destroy ourselves by refusing to face the implications that pointed to by changes in our environment especially with changes in the atmosphere and the oceans. The sharing problem implicated here is one that says if we are to cut back on our carbon footprint, then we will have to share more and keep less for ourselves if we are to help those in need from third world nations if they are to progress.

What most threatens our existence, either in the short run or the long one, is this refusal to share. If we can't reverse that trend, then the end of meaningful human life on this earth becomes inevitable. And the question for us has become whether we are willing to share to head that crisis off at the pass.




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