August 23, 2009
One of Those Old Words We Don't Use Anymore
It’s not really the full content of Charles Stross’s argument here that gets me; it’s simply his use of the word “mercy.” He connects Abdelbaset Al Megrahi with U.S. health care reform, and argues that the U.S. is suffering from a mercy deficit, and it’s worth checking out. But really, I’m sort of inclined to ignore the argument, and just dwell on the word. Mercy.
Is that word like totally not a part of our modern lexicon or what? I’m rolling it around in my mouth, and in my brain, and it feels almost like one of those hard-to-translate words from another language. Saudade. Schadenfreude. Mercy.
Where does mercy live in our society today? What policies do we promote that have mercy at their core? What would that even mean? Not rhetorical questions; I find myself suddenly and sincerely puzzled by this.