Don Arthur has finally solved his home computer problems by investing in a second hand iMac, and has made yet another comeback to blogging. During his previous blogging life, I had classified Don as “centrist” by inclination. I was mistaken. Don is undeniably of the left, and wouldn’t even claim otherwise (as this rather strange paean to left values as the font of all goodness underlines).
Don’s left-leaning inclinations are underlined by his most recent post, which coyly embraces Clive Hamilton’s bizarre anti-pornography crusade. However, it’s one thing to accept (as I certainly do) that market capitalism and classical liberalism are radically incomplete as creators of the Good Society or a worthwhile moral citizenship, and quite another to advocate ‘nanny state’ regulation as the solution. As I concluded at the end of my most recent musings about Clive Hamilton’s ideas:
I’m just as worried about surrendering autonomy to faceless bureaucrats as to mega-corporations, and only marginally less worried about trusting authoritarian-minded “communitarians”. I reckon the only safe guide to a Good Society is ad hoc, sceptical scientific centrism.
Sceptical scientific centrism doesn’t mean “sitting on the fence”. It does involve carefully evaluating how the fence is constructed and what crops are growing in the fields on either side of it, before deciding which one you want to be in and how to get there. It involves being deeply suspicious of all doctrinaire ideologies and those who espouse them; realising that threats to liberty, equality and fraternity can come from any direction; and accepting that liberty, equality and fraternity are themselves potentially conflicting values that can only result in a Good Society through a continual balancing exercise for which there is no magic formula. All you can do is doubt, analyse and discuss everything civilly, constructively and with mutual good will. Hence this blog. There might be times when urgency and/or lack of information compel us to take intuitive leaps of faith, but not often.