For all the talk of supposed ‘rights’ to this-that-and-the-other, there is one ‘right’ that we do not, can not and must not have: the right to not care.
There is no right to not-care.
And yet so many aspects of our society and culture and everything else are built upon exactly that ‘right’. Everyone who drops a piece of litter is exercising their ‘right’ to not-care – and dumping the burden of caring on everyone else. Many so-called business-models depend entirely upon the ‘right’ to not-care about long-term consequences. Most of the arguments between political-right and political-left are merely about who has the greater ‘right’ to not-care, and export the costs of care onto the other.
This matters, because in the longer term we survive only because of care. We survive because we care. Those of us who know this, who live this, know that yes, we will at times end up carrying the burden of those who haven’t yet learnt this bald fact. Most children do take time to learn how to care. But it gets hard – and harder – to keep going in a society where those who do care are actively punished for doing so, and those who don’t receive all of the rewards.
In our present-day world, people lose because they take responsibility, because they care; whilst others ‘win’ because they don’t.
Not merely madness: suicidal madness. A cultural behaviour that embodies and enacts a slow, painful collective-suicide, for everyone. Not a good idea…
I’m perhaps extreme: I believe that the entire concept of ‘rights’ is a literally deadly delusion, and that only responsibilities are real. Yet it seems clear to me that if our society is based around that ‘right’ to not-care – and it certainly seems to be so – that kind of implies that there are some very big changes ahead if we are to survive. An almost literal change of heart, for a start.
And the core of that change is the recognition, by everyone, by every aspect and institution of every society, that the one right that no-one can ever have is a ‘right’ to not-care.
Something to think about as you go to work on your busy weekday morning, perhaps?