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American Dirt


"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow
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Discuss American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins:
Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good?

Created: 02/06/20

Replies: 8

Posted Feb. 06, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2204

Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good?

"Luca wonders if they're moving perpendicular to that boundary now, that place where the fence disappears and the only thing to delineate one country from the next is a line that some random guy drew on a map years and years ago" (chapter 30, page 317). In his 1971 book "Theory of Justice", the philosopher John Rawls came up with what he called the "veil of ignorance." Rawls asked readers to think about how they would design an ideal society if they knew nothing of their own sex, gender, race, nationality, individual tastes, or personal identity.

Do you think the decision-makers of the borders might've made a different decision if they'd donned the veil of ignorance? Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good? Do you think that the world would be a better place if we all brought Rawls's thought experiment to bear in our everyday individual and collective decision-making?


Posted Feb. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 203

RE: Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good?

Borders remind us there are boundaries. We are minded there are processes and policies in societies to maintain order and safety for citizens.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 235

RE: Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good?

Borders are necessary and they are not evil. There must be order and safety and some method of knowing where the responsibility for those things lie.


Posted Feb. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 410

RE: Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good?

I think borders are necessary because there has to be a delineation between responsibilities - I'm in charge of what happens here, you're in charge of what happens there. Our world is built on borders, be they national, statewide, between counties or even between my property and my neighbor's. That said, I so sometimes think it's unfortunate that we've evolved this way. My friend has a piece of property that abuts BLM land, and when I look out her backdoor I feel like the forest is endless, no rules, I can wander wherever I want. It's an illusion, of course, but there's a sense of freedom you feel when you don't feel like you're hemmed in by a border. It causes me to reflect on the fact that walls keep people in just as surely as they keep people out.


Posted Feb. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 143

RE: Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good?

Let’s not forget, only a few hundred years ago this entire land mass “belonged” to First Nations people who repeatedly got cheated out of and forcibly removed from their land. As an enrolled member of the Cherokee tribe, I find this a problematic concept.


Posted Feb. 18, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 225

RE: Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good?

This is such a tough question. I mean, wouldn't be great if all of us in this world played well with others, shared, cooperated, collaborated...saw each other as neighbors in the truest sense of the word. I think most borders were drawn after victories in wars and battles! I understand the comment about borders determining responsibility, but I also see borders as a way of dividing us (figuratively, not literally). Consider the border between urban, inner city neighborhoods and the suburbs. Or the border between Israel and Palestine. Or the border between reservation land and the rest of the state. Or the borders between Paris and "no-go zones". It seems like one side of the border always has more than the other- - is "the" place to be, has more resources, better representation, offers more hope. I can understand people wanting to be a part of that place. And when you can't even see the "imaginary" (arbitrary??) line that separates you from a better, safer life???


Posted Feb. 19, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
TLVZ721

Join Date: 03/26/18

Posts: 21

RE: Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good?

I wish I had the right answer to this question. My first instinct is to say yes, we need borders between countries for many reasons. Delineation, protection, commerce, ownership. But the way things are being run right now, in my admittedly naive opinion, needs an overhaul for the betterment of both sides of the argument. Leaving all politics aside and speaking solely as a human who cares for the well-being of other humans, there just has to be a better way of doing things. But I do believe that borders are a necessary thing, not just for the United States but all countries. If for no other reason but for pride of ownership. "This is my place. I will respect it, protect it, and honor it and those who live here with me, and teach and help others to do the same."


Posted Feb. 25, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 139

RE: Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good?

I think that borders are necessary for governing an area but they can also easily create an 'us and them' mentality. We need to take care of others - ALL others, not just those inside our small borders.


Posted Feb. 27, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sallyh

Join Date: 09/07/12

Posts: 94

RE: Do you think borders are a necessary evil or might their delineation serve a societal good?

Borders are probably a necessary evil for practical reasons, but they contribute to a sense of entitlement in richer countries. Being born a citizen of a rich democracy isn't something earned - - it's an accident of birth, and as was already pointed out, the U.S. was stolen from its original inhabitants, so for any country to act as though its borders are ordained from on high is ridiculous. When some countries are so crushed by poverty and violence that people are willing to die to find a better life, the rest of the world owes a duty to give them asylum and help find solutions to their problems.


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