The recent kerfuffle about Donald Trump’s ostensible bad treatment of the Australian Prime Minister is interesting because Trump actually raised the right question, albeit in an inappropriate public way — “Why should the US take these refugees?” He didn’t say it but he could have added “They are in your backyard; why don’t you bring them to Australia?” Of course Turnbull couldn’t do that. It would violate his theory of good governance — “Refugees must get in line and wait their turn and not risk their lives in little boats. We have established a limited quota for refugees.”
That got me to thinking. What is Jesus theory of good governance?
Actually, Jesus never had theories about governance or anything else. He was always about practice. He said, “Whatever your theory about governance or borders or profits or anything, you must apply it in particular cases according to God’s most fundamental law, which is love.” When Trump’s advisors were planning the change in border entry rules, they were required to keep in mind, “How will this effect the particular people involved?” Debate the impacts and infuse their new rules with concern for their neighbors. When Turnbull was planning his ‘Stop the Boats’ policy, he and his advisers were required to ask themselves the same question. And corporate CEOs when planning new technology that will eliminate jobs for their workers are required to ask themselves the same question. And so on, down the line to us, as we treat our own neighbors. That is God’s law.
But you say, that isn’t practical. The system is too complex. Leaders must make tough choices that may hurt the few to protect the many.
My answer is the time honored ‘Win-win’ way of negotiating to find solutions that satisfy both parties. The win-win principle is that there is always a solution that meets both parties needs if they honestly put their basic needs on the table and search for a solution that satisfies both parties. Advocates of good governance and advocates of love can always find a solution that protects the security of a nation as well as cares for individuals who will be effected. It just requires good will — and the presence at the negotiating tables of a powerful advocate for love.
Why don’t we build such advocacy into most of our systems of government, business, legal, health, education, welfare, etc? I think it’s basically because we think love is weak, and cannot stand up to the demands of these powerful systems. If that’s your idea, look at Martin Luther King’s powerful implementation of love. No, I’m afraid the advocacy of love is absent from our systems because we voters and shareholders want the systems to be efficient and well managed — work well for the many (us) and ignore the needs of the few (them).
I’d like to hear your ideas about why there is no effective advocacy for love (Win-win negotiating with the power structure) built into our systems?