February 25, 2006

On Liberty, on Chavs

This section reminded me of the work of another philosopher:
If society lets any considerable number of its members grow up mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the consequences.
In this he is saying the same as the later philosopher Bertrand Russell
The civilized man is distinguished from the savage mainly by prudence, or, to use a slightly wider term, forethought. He is willing to endure present pains for the sake of future pleasures, even if the future pleasures are rather distant. This habit began to be important with the rise of agriculture; no animal and no savage would work in spring in order to have food next winter, except for a few purely instinctive forms of action, such as bees making honey or squirrels burying nuts.
And as I have argued before the Welfare state not only makes such forethought, the rational consideration of distant motives, unnecessary but the way it is set up means that it is in fact undesirable.


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