Thursday, 10 November 2011

What would you do?

Imagine you've been invited to a dinner-party by a close friend. At the last minute you find out that one of the other guests is, let's say, Karen, a prominent member of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Suppose you are highly sceptical of climate change, viewing the CCC as an immoral propaganda machine and by implication its employees including Karen are politically immoral. What would you do? Would you:-

Call your host and explain why you can’t go.

Go to the dinner-party and try to involve Karen in some kind of dialogue.

Go to the dinner party and tell Karen what you think of the CCC.

Go to the dinner party and ignore Karen as far as possible.

It’s a problem isn’t it? What do we do when political immorality is so widespread?

There was a time when immorality was contained by ostracizing those who flouted the moral conventions of their class. One would not invite certain people into the family home, speak to them or even acknowledge them except possibly in the coldest, most distant way. Everyone knew what was going on too – and why the ostracism had happened.

What about today though? What if you are introduced to Sean – a person widely known to loaf away his time at the local council offices taking endless sickies from a well-paid job? Do you hold out the hand of casual friendship or do you accept the reality of political immorality? Do you draw lines in the moral sand and have nothing to do with him? If so, then do you tell him and why?

I freely admit that I’d have difficulty with these scenarios, but why? Because there is such a thing as political immorality and surely we should say so outside the blogosphere as well as inside?


Sam Vega said...

Interesting one. I suspect that the convention of ostracising certain people only worked when there was a consensus and firmly-drawn boundaries. Everyone knew who were the cads and bounders, and pressure was duly applied.

Lots of my associates would think Karen had a perfectly respectable job; and it would be very difficult to separate the truth from the envious gossip about Sean. It is a post-modern, post-certainty world that I live in...

I guess I would treat them as "associates", try to learn from them, and then - if my prejudices were confirmed - learn how thereafter to avoid them and their type, without making too much fuss.

Demetrius said...

I would go on about volcanoes and explain why I thought a big one was due that would freeze us all for decades at least.

James Higham said...

Go to the dinner party and tell Karen what you think of the CCC.

Not a problem at all. :)

A K Haart said...

SV - you solution is what mine would, but I'm not convinced it's right.

D - the old volcano ploy - you must read Stephen Potter.

JH - yes I think you would (:

James Higham said...

... in the nicest possible way of course.