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An excerpt from Rabbi Ken Spiro's recently published book, "World Perfect." While developing an idea for a lecture program, I conducted a series of surveys over a period of two years, asking people to list the fundamental values and principles which they felt we needed to uphold in order to make our world as perfect as is humanly possible. Overwhelmingly, my respondents – predominantly Westerners, from the United States, Canada, South America, England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy, etc – came up with remarkably similar answers, which could be grouped into these six categories: The respondents to my survey came from all walks of life, yet regardless of their backgrounds, they were in agreement. Where did the values and principles of the modern world come from?
Indeed, they, and I venture to say most human beings the world over, deeply believe that a perfect world must include these universal values. Are these six basic ideas intrinsic to human nature? The answer I found will surprise, perhaps even shock, the reader.
He wrote: "There must be a law that no imperfect or maimed child shall be brought up.
And to avoid an excess in population, some children must be exposed.
This was not done by some Nazi-like baby removal squad.
A baby that appeared weak or sickly at birth, or had even a minor birth defect such a cleft pallet, hair lip, or cleft foot, or was in some other way imperfect was killed.
My search for answers to these questions has produced this book.
As the respondents to my survey were predominantly residents of democratic countries, they naturally assumed that the values they hold dear have originated – as did democracy – with the Greeks and, to a lesser extent, with disseminators of Hellenistic, i.e. Indeed, this issue is subject to much debate in academic circles these days.
We all want to live with a certain minimal amount of human dignity.
We all want certain protection in the law against oppression by tyrants who might consider certain segments of society expendable simply because they are too weak or too poor to protect themselves.
Although, with the recent interest in Eastern philosophies a few voices have been raised advocating this view, the undisputed historical fact is that only within the last few hundred years did the West have any significant interaction with the East.