Integrity, honour … betrayal

integrity

Everyone you know tolerates dishonour, lack of integrity, and the expectation of betrayal. More people than you might think have absolutely no idea why that is a pathology of self-harm and personal nihilism. It is the resignation or surrender to anti-humanism, rationalisation, which actually has nothing at all to do with rationality, and your personal betrayal of yourself and all those you say you love, honour and respect.

You doubt me?

What do politicians, business executives, judges, lawyers, police officers, accountants, and priests have in common? They are in the same profession really. That profession is lying to us. Sometimes because lies are what we want to hear from them. Sometimes because that’s what gets them what they want. Mostly because they have no conception any more of what is principle, what is integrity, what is honour, and why betrayal is a kind of perverse self-flagellation that is in itself worthy of suspicion.

Still with me? Haven’t made you think I’m insulting you enough yet?

So, let me ask you, before you go on, define the word ‘principle’ without looking it up. Just what it means to you personally. Got it? Now define integrity, without looking it up. Have your answer? Now the same for honour.

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Integrity, honour … betrayal

integrity-Gargoyle-Magdalen-College

Everyone you know tolerates dishonourable behaviour, a lack of integrity, and expects betrayal.  More people than you might think have absolutely no idea why that is a pathology of self-harm and nihilism.  It is the resignation or surrender to anti-humanism, rationalisation, which actually has nothing at all to do with rationality, and a personal betrayal of yourself, and of all those you say you love, honour and respect.

You doubt me?

What do politicians, business executives, judges, lawyers, police officers, accountants, and priests have in common?  They are in the same profession really.  That profession is lying to us.  Sometimes because lies are what we want to hear from them.  Sometimes because that’s what gets them what they want.  Mostly because they have no conception any more of what is principle, what is integrity, what is honour, what is exception to a rule, and why betrayal is a kind of perverse self-flagellation that is in itself worthy of suspicion.

Continue reading “Integrity, honour … betrayal”

Abbott’s smoking gun anti-liberalism

The recent passage of the plain packaging for tobacco legislation through the lower house of the Australian Parliament, and the sanctimonious comments issuing from bloggers, news commentators and health fascists everywhere, prompted me to write about my biggest disappointment arising from this legislation – the betrayal of individual liberty and classical liberal principles that are embodied by this move. Put another way, it’s about my disappointment with how exigent politics defeats principled policy-making every time.

Let’s be certain about this: I am a smoker, and have been for years. As a smoker I understand that tobacco consumption poses significant health risks, just as I know that drinking alcohol poses significant health risks, and driving a car, eating too much fattening food, robbing a bank at gunpoint, crossing the street innocently, etc.

As a consumer of a product that is legal, however, I expect not to be treated as a social leper, sinner or other kind of undesirable critter by the state. This is different from accepting a degree of opprobrium extended by private individuals, and even restrictions on when and where I can use the product (as is the case with, say, alcohol, gasoline, matches, mobile phones, etc).

When the state moves to impose on me a requirement that I be unable to access product information on the packaging of that product, replacing the manufacturer’s intentions with state propaganda messages – and that is really what is being proposed – I am concerned enough to voice dissent.

First, let’s be absolutely clear: this is not a move to ‘plain packaging’. It is direct censorship and intervention in free market exchanges. No other product with potentially harmful side-effects has to carry this kind of state mandated propaganda, otherwise we’d have cars carrying large and graphic images of mutilated car crash victims, aircraft depicting charred bodies, alcohol containers plastered with photos of women beaten senseless by violently drunk men, etc. We do not do this because we still accept that these products are legal, and the risks associated with their use are part of the conditions of their use. Smoking, however, has taken on a different category. I see this new category being largely the invention of overly zealous ‘health fascists’, who have assumed the right to interfere in the lives of others on a number of grounds, not least of which is the right of the state to mandate a degree of ‘healthy’ living.

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