It is hard to defy the wisdom of the tribe: the wisdom that values the lives of members of the tribe above all others.
it will always be unpopular--it will always be deemed unpatriotic--to say that the lives of the members of the other tribe are as valuable as one's own.
it is easier to give one's allegiance to those we know, to those we see, to those with whom we are embedded, to those with whom we share--as we may--a community of fear.
let's not underestimate the force of what we oppose, let's not underestimate the retaliation that may be visited on those who dare dissent from the brutalities and repressions thought justified by the fears of the majority.
the perennial destiny of principles: while everyone professes to have them, they are likely to be sacrificed when they become inconveniencing.
generally a moral principle is something that puts one at variance with accepted practice. and that variance has consequences, sometimes unpleasant consequences, as the community takes its revenge on those who challenge its contradictions--who want a society actually to uphold the principles it professes to defend.
principles invite us to do something about the morass of contradictions in which we function morally. principles invite us to clean up our act, to become intolerant of moral laxity and compromise and cowardice and the turning away from what is upsetting:
that secret knawing of the heart that tells us that what we are doing is not right, and so counsels us that we'd be better off just not thinking about it. the cry of the anti-principled: "i'm doing the best i can." the best given the circumstances, of course.
at the center of our moral life and our moral imagination are the great models of resistance: the stories of those who have said no. no, i will not serve.
— #SusanSontag , #OnCourageAndResistance