Friday, January 31, 2014

Modern ethics, politics, and science


Diagnosed a century ago.

First this:

Take note, however, of which economic class Mayor Bloomberg thinks he is saving from themselves. In his mind he's doing poor folks a favor when he assumes the role of portion police, but in reality he's merely showing his prejudice that poor people are disgustingly fat and too stupid to understand why. He must believe that they need the government to ban their bad habits, one after another, until they're eating organic arugula from Whole Foods.

New York's failed expedition into governmental nannying is symptomatic of its class structure. Rich people's scolding is really a form of snobbery masquerading as concern for poor people's well-being. Rather than admit that the underclass repulses them, wealthy New Yorkers try to strip away their repulsive behavior by force of law. Expect the trend to continue through the de Blasio years.
HT: Ace

Now for some G. K. Chesterton, from Heretics, written in 1905.

An enormous amount of modern ingenuity is expended on finding defences for the indefensible conduct of the powerful.
[AND]

In practice the great difference between the mediaeval ethics and ours is that ours concentrate attention on the sins which are the sins of the ignorant, and practically deny that the sins which are the sins of the educated are sins at all.
[AND]

We are always talking about the sin of intemperate drinking because it is quite obvious that the poor have it more than the rich. But we are always denying that there is any such thing as the sin of pride, because it would be quite obvious that the rich have it more than the poor.

We are always ready to make a saint or a prophet of the educated man who goes into cottages to give a little kindly advice to the uneducated. But the mediaeval idea of a saint or a prophet was something quite different. The mediaeval saint or prophet was an uneducated man who walked into grand houses to give a little kindly advice to the educated.
[AND]

The old tyrants had enough insolence to despoil the poor, but they had not enough insolence to preach to them.

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