The World

Last Thought for Today

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From Stanford Law Professor Richard T. Ford in the book Left Legalism/Left Critique (2002):

Suppose you could make a deal with the angel that Faust never got to meet. The angel offers you this: a world free of racism, of sexism, of homophobia, of all of the illegitimate hierarchies and oppressive aspects of ascriptive identities. And no, this is not a world of sterile color blindness or lockstep uniformity; instead, it is world of diversity without stigma, of social justice that reaches every corner of the globe and nourishes every human heart. But there’s a catch: you can’t go there. You’re too far gone, too fallen, too conflicted, too invested in the conditions that make your own wretched world so far from the world the angel has descibed. For you, this just world would be a kind of hell in which you could never find a comfortable place. The angel offers a ticket for your unborn children, or perhaps their children; this is a pass good for all and only those still supple enough to adapt to the good society. Moreover, it’s a one-way ticket: if your children or grandchildren and descendants-to-be take this ticket, they can’t come back to you. It is not an arbitrary restriction, the angel explains; it’s inherent in the nature of the journey they will have to make. If they go, they will be just as alienated from this world as you would be from the good society. And—here’s the rub—they will also be as alienated from you. Of course, they will love and respect you, but they will also fear and pity you. They will be repelled by the petty bigotries you harbor, the dangerous little myths you cling to, your alibis, your shortcuts past Truth, the golden calves you worship when you think Moses and God are not watching. Train’s leaving, all aboard who’s coming aboard. Would you let them go?

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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