Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Lifeboat - no longer a classroom exercise (more on refugees)

Years ago, an elementary school student noticed something in class:

When I was a kid in elementary school, I remembered the teacher having us play a game called "Lifeboat". In it, we were informed that a big ship had just gone down, and that there were five people left onboard a lifeboat built for two. After hearing a description of the five, it was our job to decide which three would be tossed overboard.

The game is still being played in various forms in public schools today in order to teach a concept called "values clarification". It occurred to me how absurd it is to teach children that it is their responsibility to decide who is going to live and die, and how at odds that is with the Christian ideal that all human life is created in God's image and therefore sacred.

Many students played that particular game, but that one particular elementary school student grew up to become Steve Taylor - well, actually he was Steve Taylor as a kid also, but when he was a kid he didn't have a record contract. Taylor, who later ran into trouble in Australia when people misinterpreted "I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good," put his feelings into song.

But even in the worst cases, the classroom game was just a classroom game. Now it's real.

Last month I wrote about the history of passports in a post at, noting that one of the main purposes of a passport is to protect you when you leave your home country.

Which brings us to the refugee crisis in general and Italy in particular. Italy, unlike countries such as Hungary and Germany, has a number of refugees that arrive by sea. In the course of an interview about the refugee crisis, Laura Boldrini, the president of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies and a former spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commission on Refugees, said the following:

We have to continue to save human lives at sea. Not everyone agrees with this. But it’s inhuman to think that if you have a passport, you get saved, and if you don’t, you drown. But there are people who say that.

Values clarification devotees, discuss.
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