What ought we do in a crisis?

25 Mar 2020 | 10:36

    There has been considerable local buzz in the local business community about the mandatory closings of Milford (and nationwide) businesses. Landlords who want to extract their contractual pound of flesh from tenants who no longer have income. Closed business owners who want a level playing field, fairness of treatment and possible compensation for loss of business. The reality is that we are all in this situation together, and most everyone is facing enormous losses. One might just as easily say that the landlord should forgo all rent for not providing a habitable (i.e., safe from covid-19) building space. Or the government should foot the entire bill since they forced these businesses to close. All of these concerns do need to be addressed, of course, in a fair and equitable (i.e., across all society) kind of way.

    However, I feel that there is a larger issue, which is humanity. What happens when there is a crisis? We can either turn inward and grab what we can while others suffer as a result. Or we can look outward to others and share what we have, meeting them in the middle. Is this "unpatriotic"? To me it is quite the opposite. It is enlightened patriotism.

    We somehow see capitalism as a religion and "Survival of the Fit" (more a term of Social Darwinist Herbert Spencer than Darwin himself) as its justifying "doctrine." The reality is that anthropology, paleontology, evolutionary biology and lots of other "ologies" are now more focused on cooperation, symbiosis, and "community" than on competition. Stepping on someone else's face in order to get ahead is not only against common sense, it is counter to the evolution of our species.

    So shall we revert back to the muck or stand together as homo sapiens men and women? If the latter, then we must choose to cooperate, realizing that the survival instinct for our species is cooperation and, yes, love.

    David Richard