Well, I am fairly exhausted right now (which is probably a good thing because I’m hoping to sleep well tonight). However, I want to make sure that we don’t have two late posts in a row. So, I’m going to give you a fairly short (but not simple) exercise today: at what point does trying to avoid discrimination become catering to minority groups in unrealistic, unnecessary, or undesirable ways. I’m thinking specifically here of the question of adopting Sharia law or allowing significant Muslim communities in Western nations to operate under Sharia law (though the question could equally be applied to requiring doctors to learn Spanish in American communities with a significant Hispanic population, or many other areas). Should the majority cater to the minority at all in these situations? Should the majority cater to whatever point it takes to make the minority feel completely comfortable? At what point, if ever, does this kind of thinking become unrealistic or unnecessary? Could it ever become destructive to the community as a whole? At what point does the lack of this kind of thinking become unrealistic or inhumane? At what point does it become destructive to the community as a whole? I think this goes to the larger issue of where unity meets diversity and where heterogeneity meets homogeneity.

So, write me a story of 1000 words that presents and defends your response to the question.

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One thought on “Philosophical Story Challenge of the Week

  1. The root of community is the Latin communis, which refers to something being common (not in terms of everday, but in terms of everywhere) or shared by all. Fundamentally, a community needs to share certain things: most importantly are means of communication and values. When a community ceases to share these things, it ceases to be a singular community. America, oddly, has no official language, so there’s really nothing to say that the Spanish speakers need to learn English and not the other way around, but we do all need to be able to communicate together (there’s that communis root again). Maybe Spanglish is the way to go, or maybe America needs to identify one or two official languages (Canada has two, after all).

    For Sharia law, that gets down to the core values. If the Muslims want to live their lives according to the laws of their religion, that’s fine. That’s a value that many (though fewer and fewer) in America today still respect. We may differ on what those laws are, but being true to your religion is good. Expecting civil authorities to enforce those laws, or expecting them to ignore society’s laws when they conflict, is something else, though. After all, we don’t stone adulterers or witches, either.

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