In the talk I gave about The Most Infamous Coronavirus Model, the one that caused many governments to gleefully embrace panic, I made the point that an implicit premise in the model was that governments should do something. As opposed to doing nothing, or nothing active.
That we should always do something is a fallacy. But a beloved one, and taken as granted in a culture in which Victimhood is the highest status, in which we have one triumph of the matriarchy after another, and in which the effeminate are the majority of voters.
But it wasn’t always so.
In prior pandemics, for instance, doing nothing (active) was seen as an acceptable option. It worked, too. Better than our doing something.
Why we have come to this point is explored in the book.
You may download a PDF of the entire first chapter (with Table of Contents).
From Chapter 8, Don’t Do Something!
Inaction As Action
Don’t just do something. Stand there! This command is, as far as jokes go, not very good. But it contains a telling truth. This is the Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something Fallacy. We’ll call this the Do Something Fallacy for short. As will be clear, this Chapter is devoted to the late, great Australian philosopher David Stove.
Here is wisdom, and eternal wisdom at that, which we debased woke gag on. From David Stove’s On Enlightenment:
It does not follow, from something’s being morally wrong, that it ought to be removed. It does not follow that it would be morally preferable if that thing did not exist. It does not even follow that we have any moral obligations to try to remove it. X might be wrong, yet every alternative to X be as wrong as X is, or more wrong. It might be that even any attempt to remove X is as wrong as X is, or more so. It might be that every alternative to X, and any attempt to remove X, though not itself wrong, inevitably has effects which are as wrong as X, or worse. The inference fails yet again if (as most philosophers believe) “ought” implies “can.” For in that case there are at least some evils, namely the necessary evils, which no one can have any obligation to remove.
Few today believe in necessary evils, or believe in many of them, thinking that some kind of technological solution surely awaits all problems. Glubb Pasha, whom we met earlier, said, “Perhaps the most dangerous by-product of the Age of Intellect is the unconscious growth of the idea that the human brain can solve the problems of the world.”
Gain & Pain
Yet consider that if you would acquire a skill you must “pay the price” of pain and suffering. Nothing comes free. Perhaps, you think, a pill will somebody imbue the skill effortless. No. Pain is a necessary evil. If you want to learn to box, you’re going to have to endure getting beaten up until you can do the beating.
There does not seem to be a way to avoid this. Consider those pains suffered in learning boxing. Somebody else can, at some other purpose, cause you the same kind of physical or mental pain, but not directed towards the same goal as learning boxing. For instance, you can be beaten on the street by a gang of thugs. Same pain, two goals. The necessary evil of your pain in training differs from the unnecessary pain due to the mugging. One can be removed, one not.
More: You will die. You will never have your mind uploaded to a machine because (as I will not here prove) your mind is not made of material things, and is thus inscrutable.
Necessary evils are, therefore, inescapable. There is thus no obligation to try to remove necessary evils. Of course, with some necessary evils, the amount of evil can be lessened, as in securing better or more efficient training. It cannot be removed entirely. And for some evils, such as your death, dear reader, it cannot be removed at all.
Back Into The Pan
[The above comments against removing moral wrongs] are purely logical truths. But they are also truths which, at most periods of history, common experience of life has brought home to everyone of even moderate intelligence. That almost every decision is a choice among evils; that the best is the inveterate enemy of the good; that the road to hell is paved with good intentions; such proverbial dicta are among the most certain, as well as the most widely known, lessons of experience. But somehow or other, complete immunity to them is at once conferred upon anyone who attends a modern university.
I’ll leave off here. But this is only a small part of the Chapter.
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Categories: Book review