Rights Vs. Responsibility And Care

When Piaget (1965) and Kohlberg (1981) published the findings of their studies on the manner in which people make moral decisions they ordered their results based on their own assumptions that the best justice was blind and that the best way to negotiate social relationships were through abstract laws and universal principles.

Since that time critiques of their work have shown that the assumptions of their research were narrow and inherently biased; they found what they found because that is what they were looking for, predetermined by the structure of their research itself (Gilligan, 1982).

An expanded understanding of human development since that time now includes understanding the context of moral choices rather than simply the immediate needs of individuals in relationship to general rules and principles.  Dialogue and exchange of views allows individuals to be mutually understood and honest consensus worked toward.  Humans are oriented toward care and responsibility.  The adjuration of disputes will always be insufficient based on rules.  A closed system based on rights has no way to even make sense of genuinely healthy, life-giving ways of decision making that benefit all citizens.

This week I am getting close to finally finishing the insulated doors that will close off the workshop that houses the farm’s power loom, which  brings us one step closer to producing blankets for free distribution.  They should be installed by tomorrow.  I had to mill the lumber myself, both because of the dimensions of the insulation, as well as to reduce the cost of wood and our dependence on corporate products.


We came to establish a place of hospitality and sanctuary for anyone.  We work because we are workers.  We farm because that’s what we know.  But we work for others.  This is the model of the first Christians who sold everything and laid the proceeds at the feet of the apostles and gave as others had a need.  Christians have the same option today.