I was going to tweet this, or put a brief comment on Facebook, since I use those for my random thoughts, but somehow I know that I’ll just invite argument when all I want to do is, well, lay down an idea. And, well, I seem to be in a crowd of one in my way of thinking.
The opening of the floodgates along the Mississippi in order to save New Orleans from more damage brings up ethical questions about who to save and who to let swim. It’s been brought up as a rich versus poor controversy, but everything lately is being laid at the feet of the rich versus poor as a point to blame. For me, it’s the individual versus the masses, or in this case, the lesser will be sacrificed for the majority of the populace.
And it all comes back to this: The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (Ursula LeGuin).
Why don’t they just face the fact of life that New Orleans is in a bad place. Particularly if you believe in global warming, what’s the sense of rebuilding it over and over again–in the same place? Move it inland a bit, why don’t you? Yes, expensive, but it’d be a lot more secure and it wouldn’t be at the sacrifice of all those little towns along the river that wouldn’t be in peril if they just left the damn river alone. They’ve spent a lot of money building a flood gate system to protect New Orleans and I’ll betcha all of Louisiana, including those folks who are unfortunately at risk to lose their homes though they might’ve been wise enough to build far enough inland paid for that system with their tax dollars.
And for me, it all comes back to Omelas. When I read that story a few years back, I never knew how much it would explain my views on life. I’d’ve saved the child.