I am hard at work on a new book. It begins at the end. It imagines we have created a world that is considerably more forgiving than our own. Where society has neither the right nor the inclination to treat a human being as a monster, indelibly branded as unworthy of membership, and where no transgression, no matter how severe, permits society to dissolve the bonds that all humans share, simply because they are human. A world where punishment proceeds from the premise that wrongdoers were, are, and will always remain one of us, and that the goal of punishment is not to cast out but to bring back. Where people are not entombed in their past.

All of this work has led me to a deeply personal moral philosophy, which I long ago distilled to eight words: There is no them, there is only us.


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