Comparing Mutuality and Solidarity in Its Application to Disaster Ethics
Often it has been observed that in disaster situations, people (including victims) become altruistic and are very willing to listen, obey and act in a manner that would help bring an end to the situation. In this chapter, linking disaster ethics and human rights, it is argued that this indeed is how it should be, disaster or otherwise, and that we have moral duties to oneself and to others. An individual exhibiting solidarity, comradery and altruism during a disaster is indeed behaving as a reasonable Self, and exercising ethical individualism as per Gewirthian philosophy. It is the duty of the State and society to act as a supportive State and a caring society. In order to do this, we need to be conditioned for ethical rationality before any whiff of disaster arises, i.e. in our day-to-day conduct and decision-making, at a personal, institutional and transnational level. Our ethical resilience during disasters can only be as robust as our rational moral compass during ‘peace-time’. This chapter argues that Gewirthian solidarity ethics (GSE) should play a role in European policy and action in order to provide a system that conditions ethical rationality and in order to fulfil human rights. This involves addressing our current understanding of human rights as distinct categories of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and to effect a shift towards a more holistic understanding of human rights, whereby the hierarchy of fulfilment does not always prioritise civil and political rights.