29 November 2011

Morals or money?

Melanie Phillips complains of the loss of moral principles in modern society.

Two ... incidents happened recently. A 79-year-old woman has died from head injuries after trying to fight off teenage muggers who robbed her of the bag containing her husband’s ashes.

This attack followed hard on the heels of a story about a teenage burglar who, asked to write a letter of apology to his victims, wrote instead that he wasn’t bothered or sorry at all, and that the burglary was all their fault for leaving their window open.

Such incidents suggest that we are dealing with something beyond merely ruthless acquisitiveness and contempt for the law. They suggest a total absence of empathy for another person, which is the basic requirement of morality and, in turn, of a civilised society. They illustrate a brutalisation of humanity. (Daily Mail, 28 November 2011)

Describing a speech by Phillip Blond (credited as a key architect of David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ idea), she writes:

He [Blond] condemned the doctrine of ‘moral relativism’ according to which no values or way of life can be said to be better than any other.

Melanie Phillips concludes her article thus:

For if we really want to stop Britain’s terrifying drift into brutalisation, where a widow is robbed of her husband’s ashes and the young become strangers to remorse or reason — not to mention the summer’s riots and the economic crash — we surely have to accept that the moral vacuum into which we are staring is one that Britain’s bedrock faith must once again fill.

In 1945, with the onset of the Oppressive State, the link between the individual and reality was broken. Henceforth what determined the well-being or otherwise of yourself and your children would not be whether you could pay for what you and they needed, but whether other people would accept your needs as deserving of support with the money confiscated from other people in taxation.

This achieved a progressive shift in the ownership of resources from the middle class and aristocracy (the elite) to the least functional sections of society.

Nearly 70 years on from 1945, we read of the reduction in the size of families of the middle class, and of the deterioration in the quality of the upbringing which they are able to provide for their offspring. At the same time we read of reduction of benefits available to pensioners, and of unemployed fathers of large numbers of children, many of whom are living on benefits and all of whom, presumably, are receiving an expensive state education.

Attempts may be made to tweak the situation and to ‘kick-start’ the economy by further taxation of the above-average in order to provide ‘help’ for individuals or projects considered socially acceptable, but can such attempts ever work?

Over any considerable period of time it appears to be impossible that policies of this kind could prevent the continuous decline of civilisation. This is because the real causes of the ever-increasing drains on ‘public money’ are never mentioned. Among them is the geometrically increasing cost of supporting the population of those who are not, and never can be, productive members of society (even if interfering in other people’s lives as a doctor, teacher or social worker is considered as a positive contribution to society).

If you do everything possible to multiply the population with the lowest IQs, you will soon have an immense and growing burden on the resources which can be provided by taxpayers.

Oh, but that is only if the factors that influence IQ are at least to some extent hereditary, you may exclaim, and this is something that we find quite unacceptable and will on no account consider.

Nevertheless if, as I strongly suspect, the size of the dysfunctional population, and the expense of providing for it, continues to increase with every generation, it is a matter of indifference how far the factors which lead to this outcome are hereditary or otherwise. This population becomes a burden on the economy which outweighs any efforts which may be made to increase its income by productive activity.

The behavioural standards of a society with this characteristic are likely to decline inexorably towards brutal levels, whatever ostensible morality is being urged on the population.

Brief analyses such as these should be being expanded into research papers. We call on those who recognise the pro-collectivist bias in current academic research to support Oxford Forum.