One cold night, as an Arab sat in his tent, a camel gently thrust his nose under the flap and looked in. “Master,” he said, “let me put my nose in your tent. It’s cold and stormy out here.” “By all means,” said the Arab, “and welcome” as he turned over and went to sleep.
A little later the Arab awoke to find that the camel had not only put his nose in the tent but his head and neck also. The camel, who had been turning his head from side to side, said, “I will take but little more room if I place my forelegs within the tent. It is difficult standing out here.” “Yes, you may put your forelegs within,” said the Arab, moving a little to make room, for the tent was small.
Finally, the camel said, “May I not stand wholly inside? I keep the tent open by standing as I do.” “Yes, yes,” said the Arab. “Come wholly inside. Perhaps it will be better for both of us.” So the camel crowded in. The Arab with difficulty in the crowded quarters again went to sleep. When he woke up the next time, he was outside in the cold and the camel had the tent to himself.
[Special thanks to CamelStories.com for “The Camel’s Nose in the Tent”]
The metaphorical camel’s nose illustrates the potential worsening of a situation when small, questionable scenarios are initially permitted. The allowance of the nose in the tent creates the potential for a scenario never imagined, but possibly dire.
Where — albeit by gradual steps — have we possibly witnessed the protrusion of the “camel’s nose”? Help me here. This is honest wrestling. My desire is not to persuade nor embolden; the Intramuralist’s desire is to respectfully dialogue and thus grow.
Where have we permitted scenarios to exist that may potentially evolve into the camel taking over the tent? Where have we promoted an initial, specific desire, policy, or behavior that as it progresses, manifests itself as a progression of wrongful thinking?
On Tuesday, we discussed the argument for after-birth abortion, the process of intentionally killing a newborn. When abortion was legalized in all states in 1973, did the Supreme Court foresee that less than 30 years later, some in academia would seriously consider the legalization of killing babies outside the womb? … that some would intentionally desire to reframe “infanticide,” calling the procedure “after-birth abortion” instead — in order to minimize the moral argument? Was that recognized as a potentially offensive protrusion?
“If the camel…”
Consider the federal government’s routine practice of deficit spending. When Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of Treasury under President Washington, arguably first proposed incurring debt for the purpose of establishing credit, did Hamilton foresee a 21st century government that is now almost $16 trillion dollars in debt? Did those who advocated the exercise envision that spending within our means may become a secondary priority to spending itself?
“… once gets his nose…”
What else, friends? Tell me. Again, I do not assume to know all, but where else does the animal nose begin to reek?
Pick your social issue. Pick your fiscal practice. Pick your societal evolution. Where has the practice gone too far? Where has the initial acceptance been possibly ethical, but the potential progression is now imprudent?
“… in the tent…”
Borrowing from China? Negative campaigning? A 2 party system? Acceptance of adultery? Violence and sex on TV? No prayer in schools? … Where are the camels, friends? I don’t claim to know all of the above. I only ask the question in order to avoid the slippery slope of potential foolish and unethical activity. Otherwise…
“… his body will soon follow.”