A brilliant Swiss professor who lives on the floor below me in Weimar, on the faculty of Bauhaus Uni, when I asked him to comment on an “International New York Times” essay on surprisingly slavish lives in his mainly free home country, he disappointed me with a “sad, but what can you do?” Plenty, I’m thinking.
In Ireland hundreds of out of wedlock babies grow up into slavish jobs. The nuns then give them ill paid jobs and pocket most of the cash that should be used to liberate their “slaves.” Nuns are crooks when they cheat like that. They should be jailed for robbery! Those victims are beginning to have the nuns arrested for “stealing” from their slaves. No two ethics. One for all the battle cry.
More and more very young black Americans are getting jailed earlier and earlier—for longer and longer terms. Capitalists have just learned that proliferating such jails is a great new business for the builders. They are really cheating, no matter what the judges think. No just society can thrive on two conflicting ethical systems. One for all and all for one. Now I have noticed that even the prosperous countries can backslide.
Take Nigeria. When I visited it in the sixties, it was blooming. As an American Lit professor, I basked in the glow of new writers like Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe. I featured them in international conferences like the first African Art exhibition in Dakar, Senegal in 1962. Or the First Literature Conference in Lagos, Nigeria in 1964. Sadly those gifted Nigerians landed in Civil War jails, as they try to make a new country of their district.
These conflicts emerge everywhere. Be prepared, as the Box Scouts reminded us. Eternal vigilance is the price of authority. Now Islamic thus roam Northeastern Nigeria, killing students who have the gall to go to school! Or girls that don’t want to be raped!