Protecting the Weak from the Strong

Paul T. Stallsworth

In the natural world stronger animals defeat and often eat weaker ones. In oceans and rivers, on mountains and hills, across deserts and plains, throughout the air and sky--this deadly story plays out again and again with different actors. The dead rabbit on the suburban lawn, missing the larger part of its body, is a reminder that in the animal world the strong are pursuing the weak every minute of every day. No wonder nature is described as "red in tooth and claw."

A majority of us reject the strong-dog-eats-weak-rabbit ethic. We build political barricades around the weak. Legal barriers are placed in front of those who would attempt to breech them. Moral walls are added. Spiritual reinforcements follow. All of this is done to protect the weak from the "tooth and claw" the strong might unleash on them. Such protections are a sign of civilizational decency--and respect.

Unfortunately, as many of our institutions unravel, powerful leaders are becoming overly confident. They appear to be more ready, willing, and able to exercise unbridled authority, more determined to get their way, less likely to be deterred by checks and balances, less respectful of those with little status and power.

This is evident throughout American society.

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