Elections are not won or lost on the issue of compassion, but perhaps they should be.
Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was born in 1788, the year the First Fleet with its human cargo put down anchor. When he grew up, Schopenhauer wrote that compassion was the basis of morality. Of many and varied things he also said: ”If an action has as its motive an egoistic aim, it cannot have any moral worth.”
Have we, as a nation, grown up? Have our motives and therefore actions in relation to the treatment of asylum seekers been without ego? We are, of course, not one but many; however, the question goes to that intangible, elusive essence: the national psyche.