In the past week we have been the beneficiaries of more acts of kindness in the township of South Orange than I could ever have dreamed of. Those without power have stopped by to check on how the new family with the young children - an almost 5-month-old and an almost 3-year-old - are doing, or to offer us firewood and a line from their generator. Those with power, whose own houses already overflowed with refugees from the dark and the cold, have brought over hot meals and baked goods. They have let us do laundry in their homes. They have even looked after our elder daughter while I took my wife - along with a sleeping baby - for a birthday meal. They have let us hang out in the warmth of their homes, and when the weather simply became too cold, they gave us a bed.
Could the spirit of community that Paul comments on in the article be extended until it applied on a society-wide basis? Jerry Cohen thought so. I think we lack good evidence that it could.