There are two basic aspects to any problem that an intelligent person should consider: (1) the cause of the problem and (2) the most practical solution. The first aspect is a good idea so that you either don’t repeat the problem [if you’re the cause] or that you can hopefully do something about a similar problem if you see it happening again [or at least get out of harm’s way]. The second aspect is the starting point for doing something to remedy the problem.
But what if the problem was caused generations ago, and since then all sorts of other problems have been created as a result of the original problem? And what if your forebears weren’t the cause of the original problem, but either weren’t in a position to do something about it or chose not to? Maybe I’m just being simplistically pragmatic, but it seems to me that the pressing question isn’t who was to blame back then, but what’s to be done right now… and what CAN be done right now.
I’m making this generic, because there are a great number of difficult situations across the globe where various countries, people, cultures, and sub-cultures are fixated on WHO caused the problem, rather than on what needs to be done. Not only that, but in a number of those cases, it’s not all that clear who was originally to blame. Blacks in the United States tend to blame the United States and white slaveholders for the institution of slavery, but virtually all of the original black slaves shipped to what became the United States were enslaved and initially sold by other blacks. It was wrong to buy and have slaves, but there wouldn’t have been any slaves if the institution hadn’t already been established in Africa, where, by the way, it seems to be undergoing a resurgence.
We now have refugees flooding out of Africa, out of parts of Asia, even out of certain parts of southern Europe. There are millions of refugees crowded into small areas on the edge of Israel. The United States has millions of illegal immigrants who fled terrorism and poverty in Latin American countries. In all of these instances, dealing with WHO created the problem has very little to do with how the world or various countries need to deal with resolving how to make these people safe and productive. And frankly, even when the problem has a current cause, the costs of dealing with those who caused it may not be practical. The United States, and even the world, doesn’t have enough troops and equipment to mount a military takeover of much of the Middle East and Africa to get rid of all the rebels and regimes that have created the massive flow of refugees.
Original sin is great for theologians, but it’s a lousy excuse for solving problems, and it also gets in the way of solutions, because people hate being blamed for what their ancestors did, and that just makes fixing things even harder politically and practically. But then, blame is far easier and cheaper than implementing solutions, especially when it’s far from clear how much blame belongs to whom and when.