May 19, 2022

Blogging Toward Infinity

By Kenneth Ring, Ph.D. 

These days when I write an e-mail to one of my few remaining elderly friends after a long hiatus in our correspondence, I usually begin with a question: “Still there?” I ask. I did so recently, with some trepidation, when I wrote my best longtime male friend, a Norwegian author and playwright, who will soon be 96. I was relieved to find out that he still was (“there,” I mean), and not only that, he astonished me by telling me that he had just published his latest novel! He claims that it will be his last, but I’ve heard that from him before. He will probably still be writing on his deathbed after completing his century. 

And when I get the same kind of inquiry from one of my old chums, I usually tell them that, yes, having been influenced by Yeats at an early age, I am still blogging toward infinity, or death, whichever comes sooner. Since I am incorrigibly addicted to bad puns, the kind that makes you groan, I usually sign off with my latest sobriquet, “The Ancient Mariner” (since I have lived in Marin County for the last twenty-five years). 

Although my venerable Norwegian friend has ten years on me, I’m both amazed and appalled that I am still here, taking up space. And I fear the worst. Possibly you remember that in one of my blogs of a few years back, when I was a mere 83, I realized with a shock of unadulterated terror that I didn’t fear death, but living too long. I seem to suffer from a sort of phobia of senescence. And the other day I learned that I have good reason to worry. I took the trouble look up the average life expectancy for men who are 86 years old. Five and a half years! Horrors! Good Lord, though I have my doubts about the adjective, do you mean to tell me that if I am merely “average,” I might still be here, blogging my way toward infinity when I’m in my nineties? Say it ain’t so, Cecilia! 

Some of you may remember that a few years ago, I wrote a series of blogs about the perils and sometimes unexpected pleasures of aging that I eventually collected into a little book I called, with a bit of my tongue still wedged firmly into my cheek, Waiting to Die. If so, you may recall that in those days, it was my hope to live to be 1000 – months old. That would have got me out of here at a little past 83. I even listed a bunch of famous men who had exited when they were about a third of the way through their eighties. I will never be famous, of course, but I still hoped to join their illustrious octogenarian company. But that hooded man with the scythe simply turned a deaf ear to my plea. 

Now I am well past that death wish milestone and working on my second thousand month cycle. At least I can retain a modest hope that this time I won’t make it to the end, but so far there is just no end in sight for me. I have therefore become resigned to keep on blogging until I reach infinity – or bust! Perhaps I should entitle my next book, Still Waiting to Die.

But as I wait for my seemingly interminable demise, I actually find myself in a Proustian mood these days in search of my own lost time. In my case, however, I don’t need to dip a madeleine into my tea in order to evoke memories of my first years. No, as you will see, my madeleine is actually a stick of Wrigley gum. However, before we get to that, let me revert to an even earlier time when I made my debut at 8 pounds, 7 ounces, on a Friday the 13th, in the year that Babe Ruth hit his last home run. Any guesses, baseball fans?

I will not keep you in suspense. It was 1935. The Babe, after too many years of hard drinking, late nights and frolicking with the ladies, was on his last famously spindly legs. The Yankees, sensing that his luck had run out, had cast him off to the lowly Boston Braves (yes, it would take many years until they made their southern pilgrimage to Atlanta), where he became a pitiable sight at the plate. For the few months he played during the year of my birth, he hit a pathetic .181. But there was one day in May when he was again the Babe of old. He smacked three home runs that day, and never hit another. By the next month, he was gone. It was time for him retire and become a legend. 

But of course the Sultan of Swat, as the Babe was often called, was not exactly on my radar when I was still in diapers. It would be some years before I would become, at least for a time, an ardent Yankee fan and crazy for baseball. Meanwhile, I needed to figure out who I was and who were these big people who were feeding me my baby food?

According to my mother, I was a sunny and happy child, if somewhat chubby, as you can see from this photograph of me in my mother’s arms.

As she later told me, even before I was a year old, I was already singing along to breakfast commercials on the radio. I couldn’t see well (another story), but I could always sing. (And even at 86, I can still croon the songs of my youth.)

My mother years later also told me an amusing story about why she had named me Ken, rather than Irving or Hyman or Ben, or some other traditionally Jewish first name. It turned out that both my mother and her sister, Miriam, were ardent fans of a then popular radio program called “One Man’s Family.” Her favorite character on that show was someone named Ken, so I was named after my mother’s fictional heartthrob. This program was actually set in Sea Cliff, which is a ritzy area in San Francisco, near the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Guess why Miriam named her son Cliff?

But, actually, my memories of my mother during my first years on the planet are quite vague and indistinct, but I seem always to have felt her love and that of Miriam who would become a kind of second mother to me, as mine often suffered from depression owing to an unhappy marriage.

So perhaps it is time now to talk about the man who was the cause of so much of my mother’s unhappiness, my father, Phil…. 

He was holding my left hand when I spotted it. A clean, unopened stick of chewing gum illuminated in a shaft of brilliant sunlight. With my right hand, I bent over and picked it up. Life was good. I was three years old, and I was with my father.

Later I learned that this incident must have occurred at the World’s Fair in San Francisco in 1939. It is my very first memory, and, significantly, it involved my father. In fact, all my earliest memories are of my father, and they are golden memories. They took place in the paradise of my childhood before my father left me.

He was an artist, or at least that’s how he identified himself. A pen-and-ink man, mostly, though I know in later life, he became a well-known illustrator for a New York newspaper. His special talent was for drawing ballet dancers, and, for a short time, he was known as “the American Degas.” But during my early years, to get by he had to take what jobs he could. I know he worked in advertising for a while, and I also believe that for a time he held a job in an architect’s office as a draftsman (for years afterward, I used a draftsman’s board he had left with me). He was a sometimes journalist as well. I know he had some musical talent as well because, as I later learned, for a while he earned his keep playing the piano in bars. He must have had an interest in classical music, too, since the only possession of my father’s that was passed down to me was an annotated copy of the sheet music he had purchased in New York of a Beethoven rondo (Op. 51. No. 2).      

When I was still very young, I can remember my father taking me on his rounds—just him and me. I can remember his taking me to his office, I can remember the radio he had there and his desk, though not much else.      

After the United States went to war, my father began to work in the shipyards in Richmond. On his days off, he would take me there to see the ships he had been working on. Once we saw the launching of one—the Nancy Hanks. I can still see the bottle of champagne breaking against the ship’s hull. I can never remember being with my mother on any of these occasions. And though I cannot recall anything of what my father said to me when we were together, I can remember the feeling of being with him. He made me feel as if he were taking me to the secret places only a father knew from which my mother would somehow always be excluded, and drew me to him by the sweet bond of unspoken conspiracy between father and son.

Case in point: I also vividly recall that one day he took me to the home of a woman with platinum blonde hair and left me in the foyer to play with that woman’s Scottie. It was only years later, when I was an adult, that I realized that my father must have been conducting an affair with this woman, and that I was probably serving as his cover. I believe my father had many affairs in his life, though a lot of this is speculation on my part. Indeed, as you will see, my father is mostly my invention since he left so few traces and nobody in my family was much inclined to talk about him after he left. He did leave his mark on me, though, all the same.      

His name was Philip May Kurman, and he had emigrated from Russia with his parents when he was two, which would have been in 1913. He and his family lived in New York where in the early ‘30s he met and courted my mother, Rose, whose family had emigrated from Lithuania, though my mother was born in Mount Kisco, New York, in 1912. My mother was very beautiful (she had been pushed to enter and had won at least one beauty contest as a teenager), but very shy and insecure. Before meeting my father, she had been in love with a man who turned out to be a homosexual, which fact, from the way she spoke about it afterward, both shocked and devastated her. She married my father on the rebound, but told me after he had left that she had never loved him. Indeed, it appeared to me that she didn’t even like him very much, but he had apparently charmed her, and she did want very much to get out from under her own father’s tyrannical hand and escape into marriage. From what I have been able to piece together, my father was, at least at first, deeply enamored of my mother, but she seems to have rebuffed him and kept him at a distance, especially sexually. Under the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that my father was driven to carry on with other women to satisfy his needs for sex and affection. Only many years ago did I learn from my uncle George something that seems to be an independent confirmation of my sense of my father’s extramarital life. George knew my father well and even lived with him for a time told me that Phil was often absent from the marriage even before he departed permanently during World War II.

I was nearly six when the attack at Pearl Harbor occurred, and it wasn’t long after that—sometime in 1942—that my father, knowing he would be drafted, anyway, decided to enlist in the Merchant Marines. It was at that point that my father disappeared from my life as an active, if still only occasional, presence. Strangely, I do not consciously remember missing him that much after he left, but in another way, I know I have missed him all my life.      

The little I know about my father’s character and his life while he was overseas during the war comes mostly from my aunt Mariam, who, as I’ve said, was effectively my real mother during those years and who was just about the only relative in my family who, years later, was willing to try to answer some of my questions about my father. Among other things, she told me that without the slightest knowledge of drugs, he managed to bluff his way into becoming a pharmacist’s mate while in the Merchant Marines. Apparently, my father was used to conning people. For example, my aunt also told me that my father had boasted about being able to pass off and sell some of his artwork by pretending he was an Australian painter whose name happened to be similar to his but who enjoyed a much better contemporary reputation. In other words, Phil was something of an imposter. He also apparently loved to tease or just straight out lie to people. Once, my aunt said, a barber had asked him how many children he had, to which my father had answered “eight.” According to my aunt, he never let on that I was his only offspring, and bragged about his trivial but telling deceit afterward. 

I also had some direct evidence of my father’s somewhat mildly psychopathic ways myself because I remember that during the war he would write me letters about some of his activities and methods of operation. I still recall one of his letters, where he offered this advice: “Kenny,” he wrote, “make sure whenever you go somewhere new to tell the people that it is your birthday. They will then make a big fuss over you and give you a party.” Later, I could not help wondering whether my remembering this particular passage from my father’s letters revealed more about him or me —since I remember very little else from his wartime correspondence. (I do recall, however, that he also sent me some yellow wooden clogs from Holland and other presents from time to time.) My father may have left me, but he hadn’t forgotten me. Somehow, I always felt his love for me; I knew he cared about me. His letters seemed to be proof of that.

The war years passed, and apart from an occasional letter from him, my father pretty much passed out of my life as an active presence. But suddenly, during the spring of 1945, as the war in Europe was drawing to a close, I learned that we — my entire family — would be moving to Brooklyn, New York, for the summer. I had actually been taken to New York once before, in 1941, for a short time, but living there for an entire summer would be another matter altogether, especially now that I was nine years old. Ostensibly, the reason for this trip was that my uncle George’s sister had just died and he needed to be there to support her family. Only years later did I come to learn that there was another reason for us to travel there at that time.

Unbeknownst to me, my father was about to be discharged and had arranged to have a surreptitious meeting with my mother in July of that year—at least it was a meeting that was kept secret from me. It was only from my aunt Mariam many years later that I learned about it and more about what my father had been up to during the war. From what my mother had disclosed to her sister at that time, Phil had apparently been something of an “operator,” rather like the character Milo in Joseph Heller’s classic novel, Catch-22. He was, my mother said, always “making deals,” and seemingly had managed to enjoy his time while in Europe as millions were dying — and where at the time, with the war there over, millions of survivors and refugees were starving and fighting among themselves.

Therefore, my mother must have listened with complete stupefaction to the shocking proposal my father had come to New York to make to her. He had so loved being in Europe, he told her, that he wanted to return after the war to make his home and his living there—and he wanted my mother and me to join him as soon as possible!

Of course, I have no idea how my mother actually responded to this preposterous proposition, but I like to imagine it was something along the lines of — “You want me to take my only begotten son and myself to Europe while it is still on fire and people are starving and in rags there? Are you completely daft, Phil?”

In any event, my mother, for once, made a definitive decision for herself. She would of course have none of it. That didn’t stop my father, whose penchant for Bohemian adventurism had obviously only been enhanced by whatever opportunistic contacts he had made during the war. Enamored of Europe, he was bent on returning there to study and practice the art of painting. Thus it was, even without my knowing it then, that my father left me for the second time, this time for good.

I would never see him again. He died young, at 41.

Many years later, after learning a good deal about my father in the most astonishing and serendipitous way, and even acquiring some of his artwork, I wrote a memoir about him that I called, My Father Once Removed. A copy of that book now sits a few feet away from me, on my desk, next to the only photograph I have of my father (see above). Despite his rapscallion ways, I remain very fond of my father, and these days, I often find myself talking to him. I tell him it won’t be long now before we are together again. So I’m not just waiting to die; I’m also waiting to meet my father again. Meanwhile, I guess all I can do is to continue to blog my way toward infinity until I get there, where I know he’ll be waiting for me.

May 3, 2022

A New Voice for Animal Justice: The Formidable Martha Nussbaum

By Kenneth Ring, Ph.D.

Unless you read contemporary philosophers, you may never have heard of Martha Nussbaum, but in the world of modern American philosophers, she pretty much towers over her academic colleagues. In the pantheon of her fellow philosophic scholars, she is generally regarded as the queen who sits kingless on her throne.

She herself is such a formidable scholar, she sometimes simply scares her colleagues with the brilliance of her coruscating intellect. Now at the University of Chicago, she seems to have been denied tenure at Harvard because she intimidated many of her colleagues. Besides, some of them, mostly women no doubt, probably also resented her because she could then wear mini-skirts to great effect. Intellectually and physically, Martha Nussbaum, is a beaut. And even now, in her mid-seventies, she cuts an attractive figure. See for yourself.

But why, you ask, or should, am I talking about a scholar the fecundity of whose work is legendary? What does she have to do with the question of animal justice? Plenty, as you will learn. Among other things, Martha (if I can presume first name privileges, which she would probably regard as an inexcusable affront – look at those steely eyes!) is the author of the forthcoming book, Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility, which will be published in December of this year. If I should live that long and still retain my wits and what’s left of my vision, I plan to read it. And maybe you might wish to do so as well when you learn more about her. In any case, owing to her reputation, it is sure to become an influential book.

Before exploring her views about justice for animals, and why I give them such importance, let’s enjoy getting to know more about this remarkable woman. Fortunately, a few years ago there was a wonderfully intimate profile of her in The New Yorker, which was written by Rachel Aviv. And since I am lazy and have had many obstacles to overcome before writing this blog, I am going to indulge one of my worst vices and simply quote a few paragraphs from Aviv’s article. Ready? Meet Martha Nussbaum.

A sixty-nine-year-old professor [at time his of this profile] of law and philosophy at the University of Chicago (with appointments in classics, political science, Southern Asian studies, and the divinity school), Nussbaum has published twenty-four books and five hundred and nine papers and received fifty-seven honorary degrees. In 2014, she became the second woman to give the John Locke Lectures, at Oxford, the most eminent lecture series in philosophy. Last year, she received the Inamori Ethics Prize, an award for ethical leaders who improve the condition of mankind. A few weeks ago, she won five hundred thousand dollars as the recipient of the Kyoto Prize, the most prestigious award offered in fields not eligible for a Nobel, joining a small group of philosophers that includes Karl Popper and J├╝rgen Habermas. Honors and prizes remind her of potato chips; she enjoys them but is wary of becoming sated, like one of Aristotle’s “dumb grazing animals.” Her conception of a good life requires striving for a difficult goal, and, if she notices herself feeling too satisfied, she begins to feel discontent.

Nussbaum is monumentally confident, intellectually and physically. She is beautiful, in a taut, flinty way, and carries herself like a queen. Her voice is high-pitched and dramatic, and she often seems delighted by the performance of being herself. Her work, which draws on her training in classics but also on anthropology, psychoanalysis, sociology, and a number of other fields, searches for the conditions for eudaimonia, a Greek word that describes a complete and flourishing life.

She divides her day into a series of productive, life-affirming activities, beginning with a ninety-minute run or workout, during which, for years, she “played” operas in her head, usually works by Mozart. She memorized the operas and ran to each one for three to four months, shifting the tempo to match her speed and her mood. For two decades, she has kept a chart that documents her daily exercises. After her workout, she stands beside her piano and sings for an hour; she told me that her voice has never been better.

Formidable, as the French say, n’est-ce-pas?

Now, at last, we must turn our attention back to our main concern, justice for animals, and explore how Nussbaum treats this issue. At one point in her career, the famous American philosopher, John Rawls, became one of her mentors. Rawls, one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, was chiefly noted for his writings about justice -- and fairness. Nussbaum, too, has long been interested in matters of justice, and has recently begun to devote her considerable energy to developing a framework for creating a just world for non-human animals.

In a recent article, “What We Owe Our Fellow Animals,” which surely anticipates the argument she will enlarge upon in her forthcoming book, Nussbaum begins by reviewing many of the findings in recent animal research that demonstrate the remarkably complex cognitive and emotional lives exhibited by our fellow creatures. (In a number of my previous blogs I have explored much of this literature, so I need only allude to that here.) After her extensive introduction, she then pivots to her main theme, which she announces with her characteristic vigor:

The new learning about animal lives and their complexity has large ethical implications. At the most general level we must face up to the fact that many, if not most, animals are not automata or “brute beasts” but creatures with a point of view on the world and diverse ends toward which they strive—and that we interfere with these forms of life in countless ways, even when we do not directly cause pain. We deplete and reduce habitats, we fill the seas with plastic trash that often becomes lethal food for whales (once ingested it remains undigested, filling up their stomachs until the whales can no longer eat nutritious food), we disrupt marine mammal life by noise pollution (military sonar, air guns used by oil drillers to chart the ocean floor), we build brightly lit skyscrapers into which small birds crash—and the list goes on and on. If injustice involves wrongfully thwarted striving—and I think that’s a pretty good summary of the basic intuitive idea of injustice—we cause immense injustice every day, and injustice cries out for accountability and remediation.

She then begins her deliberations by recapitulating some of the findings I have already discussed when considering the unhappy case of Happy, the elephant, namely, the damage we do animals in captivity when we deprive them of the space they need to flourish and particularly the familial and social networks without which their nature can never be fulfilled. As Nussbaum puts it succinctly, “The test for whether captivity is ethical should always be to ask whether creatures can exercise their characteristic activities in attractive and typical surroundings.”

To help the animals we care for, Nussbaum says, we not only need good science and courageous activism, but in order to form a legal policy to ensure their welfare, we need an ethical theory. Unfortunately, however, according to Nussbaum, the theories that have been articulated so far are in her words, “pretty crude and unhelpful.”

Clearly, she is on her way to developing one that remedies the flaws and deficiencies she sees in the ethical theories of others, but first she wants to show us the weaknesses that must be overcome. So what are the theories that she seeks to replace?

She begins her brief survey by picking bones with the approach of Steven Wise and his NnRP colleagues. Although she was one of the persons who filed an amicus brief in the case of Happy, the elephant (in vain, as we now know), she has had serious disagreements with Wise. She says, flatly and without qualification, that Wise’s theory, which she mocks by calling it a “So like Us” approach, is “surely a mistaken theory.”

She has two principal objections to it. First, it slights the sheer complexity and strangeness of animal lives, focusing on superficial similarities to humans while ignoring issues of animal sentience and sociality. Second, she says that mere similarity to humans cannot be the basis for sound ethical theory. Why privilege chimps, for example, and disregard creatures like octopuses, which seem so alien to us?

Instead, Nussbaum writes, “If we search for a more adequate theoretical basis, what the new learning immediately suggests is that we might begin by looking at what matters to each animal.” Her final objection to this theory hints at where her thinking will take us: The So Like Us theory “short-circuits curiosity, when the question we ought to ask is what each creature strives for and needs, and how various arrangements made by humans foster or impede that striving.”

A more promising theory, Nussbaum contends, would seem to be that of Peter Singer, the Australian philosopher, who famously promoted the idea of “animal liberation” almost a half century ago. Singer’s theory is really rooted in the concept of Utilitarianism, which was originally articulated by Jeremy Bentham in the eighteenth century. Its basic idea is simple: the goal is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.  Sounds good (who could object to that?), but Nussbaum is quick to point out its flaws and shortcomings.

First, it fails to address the diversity of goals each animal life pursues. Happy, for example, might not suffer pain if well cared for, but she would still lack space for free movement and the company of other elephants. Second, Utilitarian theories tend to ignore the individual creature in order to focus on the pleasure/pain balance in the aggregate, e.g., elephants in general. Finally, Nussbaum writes that “the theory neglects agency, treating animals as [passive] vessels of experience rather than active beings who move toward what they want and need.”

This brings us at last to where Nussbaum wants to take us, namely, to the theory propounded by her and one of her lovers, the Nobel Laureate (in economics), Amartya Sen (Nussbaum, in her amatory life, by her own admission, always seems to go for very distinguished professional men). They have called their theory the Capabilities Approach (or CA, for short). Nussbaum’s exposition of this theory takes several pages and essentially concludes her article, but its basic idea is simple: Do whatever is necessary to enable the animal to flourish in its environment. Provide it with the food it needs, the space that it requires, the social contacts that are essential to its well being and in accord with its nature. This is how to put ethical theory into practice. 

After all, if you think about it, isn’t this what we humans would all crave, at least at a minimum? Why should animals be treated any differently? Best, of course, is not to hold any animal in captivity, but if it we do, we have an ethical obligation to ensure its well being in every possible way we can.

Nussbaum then goes on to say “With valuable input from a group of younger members of the international Human Development and Capability Association, I have recently been developing my theory into a theory of justice for nonhuman animals.” And then spends several pages giving examples on how animal activists have begun to put her theory into practice. Apparently, it has already begun to affect how animals are being treated and no doubt she will elaborate on this in her forthcoming book.

Her article concludes with this passionate plea and promise:

Achieving even minimal justice for animals seems a distant dream in our world of casual slaughter and ubiquitous habitat destruction. One might think that Utilitarianism presents a somewhat more manageable goal: Let’s just not torture them so much. [This, you will recall, is the position of Steven Pinker.] But we humans are not satisfied with non-torture. We seek flourishing: free movement, free communication, rich interactions with others of our species (and other species too). Why should we suppose that whales, dolphins, apes, elephants, parrots, and so many other animals seek anything less? If we do suppose that, it is either culpable ignorance, given the knowledge now so readily available, or a self-serving refusal to take responsibility, in a world where we hold all the power.


A personal afterword

In the course of writing this blog, which took an uncommonly long time owing to various interruptions and other annoying vicissitudes, I kept hearing about animal rights activists whose work and writings are in accord with Nussbaum’s ethical approach to the treatment of animals. For example, a law professor named Jessica Rubin at the University of Connecticut, where I taught for many years, has become an influential advocate for animal rights. The article I read about her work begins: 

In 2016, a new statute known as Desmond’s Law took effect in Connecticut. Named for an abused shelter dog, Desmond’s Law allows courts to appoint legal advocates in animal cruelty cases. It was the first law of its kind in the country, and allows supervised law students to serve in this capacity. The law also allows lawyers working pro bono to act as advocates.  Soon after Desmond’s Law took effect, UConn School of Law Professor Jessica Rubin established the Animal Law Clinic.

And then, by the merest chance, when browsing through the last issue of The New York Review of Books, I happened to notice an advertisement for a book by an anthropologist named Barbara J. King, whose work on animal welfare I had already come across and was impressed with. Already the author of two books on the lives and minds of animals, her latest one, which I immediately purchased and have just started to read, is entitled Animals’ Best Friends: Putting Compassion to Work for Animals in Captivity and in the Wild.

In addition, there were about a half dozen books about the lives of animals that Nussbaum herself reviewed in the article I drew on for this blog, “What We Owe Our Fellow Animals,” which was published in The New York Review of Books on March 10th of this year (but you can find it online, and it is very much worth reading).

There are other such books, of course, and I already have some in my own library. I particularly love the books of the primatologist, Frans de Waal. My favorite is one called Mama’s Last Hug, about the emotional life of animals, which my girlfriend, Lauren, read aloud to me. And before that, I had read his wonderfully engaging book, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (Unfortunately, I lent both books to a couple of friends of mine, and am still waiting to get them back!)

The reason I mention these books is simply to say that in writing my many blogs over the past few years on the lives of animals and this new series on animal justice, I have barely scratched the surface of the work that is currently going on in the fields of animal cognition and the advocacy for the rights of animals. As for the latter endeavor, my impression is that Nussbaum is not just prepared to lead the charge; it is already happening. The movement for animal justice seems to be gathering force already, and we have reason to hope that it will continue to grow.

I’m sure many of you already love animals, as I do, and perhaps some of you are yourselves animal activists. It is my hope that my blogs will lead others to become involved in this movement.

Humans have done so much in the past to cause many animals to become extinct. At present, the remaining terrestrial megafauna, elephants and rhinoceroses, are imperiled as are our large aquatic mammals. Surely, to act to preserve and protect these remaining species and others, and to accord them the rights they deserve, is long overdue. So to make amends for our past transgressions, that would only be just, wouldn’t it?