What Professor Harari wants to do is force his
Codex Hammurabi: a series of rules and regulations that was promulgated by the said Hammurabi, King of Babylon in 1776 BCE. It is a long list of prescriptions for lex talionis = retributive justice. Reading through the list of accidents, misadventures and crimes makes me grateful that I have little enough experience in that domain:
209. If a man strike a free-born woman so that she lose her unborn child, he shall pay ten shekels for her loss.
210. If the woman die, his daughter shall be put to death.
Whoa! The Perp gets off with a free pass but his
Prof Harari goes into the social hierarchies and legal remedies of long-ago Babylon in some detail and then switches, with convenient symmetry 1776 CE to address the "we hold these truths to be self-evident" of the US Declaration of Independence. The juxtaposition might make you pause to question how these two sets of self-evident truths can be so diametrically opposite . . . except in the sense that neither code recognised women as competent adults. And what about us: are we justified in being smug about gay rights; tanned rights; women's rights; children's rights. Just because the convention in our section of society holds these truths to be self-evident does not, with my critical thinking hat on, necessarily mean that they are true for all times and places. Why lookit, our section of society thinks it is okay for two people to batter each other in the face to entertain a