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My son Cody, a high school English teacher and, like me, a follower of Christ and lover of good (italics mine) literature, usually meet for breakfast on Sundays. When nothing more urgent such as baseball intervenes, we discuss some of the world's problems and often speculate about how to fix them.
Today we started talking about immigration -- since we live only about twenty miles from Mexico -- and what might become of the projected increase in hopeful newcomers.
Soon we were offering each other opinions about why so many folks would leave their homelands.
A couple obvious answers were poverty and crime.
Aside from government corruption, perhaps the crime most responsible, at least in the Americas, for people fleeing their countries, is the rise of drug (etc.) cartels.
Both Cody and I have recently read and much admired Don Winslow's Cartel trilogy, which convincingly demonstrates that our "war on drugs" has been a tragic failure, and that a potential way to minimize the damage of drugs is to minimize the demand for them.
Since plenty, perhaps most, of the world’s demand for feel-good drugs is from our fellow citizens, we asked why that demand should be so prevalent.
Why, we wondered, do so many of our neighbors insist upon getting high. That question can surely bring us back to poverty being one common reason, but then we are left with the question why so much poverty?
I suspect that poverty is in many ways the result of greed. And I wonder whose greed is more insidious, that of capitalists or consumers?
We wrapped up our discussion with a conjecture that the only real answer to issues of immigration, poverty, drugs, greed, and pretty much everything else that threatens peace and contentment begins with people's values.
We could help create a world in which more of us were at peace and content if we could all think and act according to the principles expressed by Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative: act in the way we prefer that everyone would act (sort of like the Golden Rule).
Or, if we should like some help in living by that rather abstract guideline, we could follow Jesus.
Perhaps but not necessarily the Jesus we encounter in church.
We left Patti's Cafe before the staff could boot us out for loitering. Cody went to his pickup and I to my car where -- honest -- the very instant I turned on music I heard . . .
Well, here's Andrae Crouch.
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