At Trump’s inauguration we all heard it loud and clear, “America first! America first!”. Its sounds belligerent and rather childish, and it is, but why? What’s wrong with this ‘Me first’ reasoning?
When man first stood up on two legs one of the attributes of the species most relied on for survival was not size, physical strength, speed or killing power. It was the ability to reason intelligently. This reasoning ability might be described as man’s ability to consider what is in his “enlightened self-interest” above and beyond his narrow, short-term self-interest.
Man emerged from the swamps and stood on dry land able to look beyond his immediate private interests, to look after his family, to plan for the future, to work as a team in the interests of the community. Man has a brain that is developed enough to consider the needs of the group. He has the ability to consider collective outcomes, to act with compassion and to take a long term point of view.
When little kids say ‘Me first! Me first!’ parents tend to respond with ‘If you fight someone will get hurt and then no one gets anything’. This is basic training for being a grown up. Have we totally lost the ability to take a broad and compassionate point of view? The rise of nationalism panders to stupidity and selfishness and will hurt us all in the long run.