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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

December 21, 2005

One man's freedom is another's selfishness

I've read my share of political and ethical ranting.

Talking of libertarianism, reading this book by Robert Nozick exposed everything about the Old Style Conservative policy development. It was a true revelation. Like seeing the green numbers of the Matrix.

But, no matter how clever and well argued the case may have been, I just found myself fundamentally disagreeing with it.

And these days, we hear so much banging on about rights in the libertarian sense. The right to do anything we like. The right to smoke, the right to drive like an utter fuckwhit, the right to put myself in front of others; the right to compete, since, as I heard my colleague say the other day, "everything is a competition".

My own moral preference is equally misguided. I can't help but apply the Golden Rule: do unto others. It's the way I feel, and it is probably something to do with my working class upbringing and knowing my place.

The best treatment of the subject of ethics I've read is in a book by J L Mackie. He reaches the conclusion that "valour is the better part of discretion." In other words, we construct morality rather than discover it in a set of fundamental commands that we should all follow.

And I agree. That's why there's no nemesis. Equally, that's why laws can be challanged.

It means that there is no right to a welfare state; no right to a pension; no right to spend your life drawing dole; no right to a free education. Right enough.

But it also explains why libertarianism is wrong. There is no right to drive like a bastard twatface; no right to snatch out of the hands of somebody else just because you can; no right to put yourself first; no right to consume. No right to win.

And most people would do well to remember that. So called "rights" are a privilege and a benefit of being a member of society. You earn "rights" by respecting others and following the commonly accepted codes of conduct in a society.

You can't take ad infinitum if you're not prepared to give back, shirking social responsibilities. If you do you are, unquestionably, a parasite and forsake all rights.

That's why we're fucked. Thanks to pervasive Tory libertarianism we're in a moral version of the South Sea Bubble, and, at some point, it has to burst.


  • My own take n morality is very simple, and can be boiled down to the simple equation:

    Social = Moral

    This wisdom was imparted to me in his usual entertaining way by the Reverend Professor Douglas Davies on his social anthropology course.

    It makes perfect sense, and helps to explain why Mrs Thatcher's "There's no such thing as society" ideology was inherently amoral.

    That which places the self before or above society is immoral. Or, as Spock would say... no, let's not go there.

    By Blogger bot37363838, at 6:00 am  

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