Here is an observation by Gary J. Bass in his review Everybody Everywhere:
"When one's loyalties extend to all of humanity, one has reached the climax, and perhaps the limits, of moral sympathy. Humanity, after all, is as much an abstraction as a reality. How concrete must ethical obligations be? Is a species too vast to be a meaningful moral object? Or is it the other way around: are our commitments in the particular premised on the possibility of universalism? These are also political questions, of course. The greatest dividing lines in today's world are certainly the ones on the map: I mean state borders. Orwell, trying to understand why Germans were bombing him in World War II, argued, "One cannot see the modern world as it is unless one recognizes the overwhelming strength of patriotism, national loyalty." Patriotism -- loyalty to the state -- is the doctrine that on this side of the line, you should care intensely, and on that side, you should not at all.
This review of Lynn Avery Hunt's Inventing Human Rights: A History originally appeared in The New Republic and is currently available from Powells.com.
Is this our way of drawing the line that marks out who is human and who is not? Is this ugly, wild-life destroying thing really what we want to see when we look south? Are we this frightened of our neighbors?
Reagan, bad as he was, tore down walls. In the Bush years, we're building more and more, walling "the good guys" into enclaves in Israel, in Baghdad, and now in the United States.
Emma Lazarus must be spinning in her grave.
Please visit Sherry Chandler's website.