Proud Infidel ranting about the ongoing war against democratic and secular values (Don't fool yourselves)! Maybe a voice of sanity in a wide ocean of madness.

20080112

The Moral Instinct

This article in The New York Times is very interesting. Be warned- it's very long but has some very good points to it. A little teaser follows.

Which of the following people would you say is the most admirable: Mother Teresa, Bill Gates or Norman Borlaug? And which do you think is the least admirable? For most people, it’s an easy question. Mother Teresa, famous for ministering to the poor in Calcutta, has been beatified by the Vatican, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and ranked in an American poll as the most admired person of the 20th century. Bill Gates, infamous for giving us the Microsoft dancing paper clip and the blue screen of death, has been decapitated in effigy in “I Hate Gates” Web sites and hit with a pie in the face. As for Norman Borlaug . . . who the heck is Norman Borlaug?

Yet a deeper look might lead you to rethink your answers. Borlaug, father of the “Green Revolution” that used agricultural science to reduce world hunger, has been credited with saving a billion lives, more than anyone else in history. Gates, in deciding what to do with his fortune, crunched the numbers and determined that he could alleviate the most misery by fighting everyday scourges in the developing world like malaria, diarrhea and parasites. Mother Teresa, for her part, extolled the virtue of suffering and ran her well-financed missions accordingly: their sick patrons were offered plenty of prayer but harsh conditions, few analgesics and dangerously primitive medical care.

It’s not hard to see why the moral reputations of this trio should be so out of line with the good they have done. Mother Teresa was the very embodiment of saintliness: white-clad, sad-eyed, ascetic and often photographed with the wretched of the earth. Gates is a nerd’s nerd and the world’s richest man, as likely to enter heaven as the proverbial camel squeezing through the needle’s eye. And Borlaug, now 93, is an agronomist who has spent his life in labs and nonprofits, seldom walking onto the media stage, and hence into our consciousness, at all.

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2 Comments:

Blogger anticant said...

Mother Teresa also revelled in being photographed with some of the richest, nastiest, and most powerful people in the world - see Christopher Hitchens' "The Missionary Position".

Sunday, 13 January 2008 at 22:29:00 CET

 
Blogger Yankee Doodle said...

When Bill Gates is making money, he's also making jobs -- good, high-tech jobs that keep America on top.

Contrast that to Ted Turner, who gave all that money to the UN -- all he's doing is putting gasoline on the fire, feeling good about himself in the process.

Monday, 14 January 2008 at 01:41:00 CET

 

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