At Anchor, Halifax.
Fri 7 Sep 2007 20:59
Chores today: cleaning up the boat, topping up water tanks, moving to
anchor, reading (well not exactly a chore but a totally essential part of
daily existence). Erin's ashore purchasing tickets and hunting down a
laundromat. Exciting day!
Some thoughts from my readings:
"The poverty of democracy is better than the prosperity which allegedly goes
with aristocracy or monarchy, just as liberty is better than slavery. . .
The wise man belongs to all countries, for the home of a great soul is the
Democritus (c. 470 - c. 400 B.C.)
I am perfectly ready to see my own freedom of action somewhat curtailed by
the state, provided I can obtain protection of that freedom which remains,
since I know that some limitations of my freedom are necessary; for
instance, I must give up my 'freedom' to attack, if I want the state to
support defence against any attack. But I should demand that the
fundamental purpose of the state should not be lost sight of; I mean, the
protection of that freedom which does not harm other citizens. Thus I
demand that the state must limit the freedom of the citizens as equally as
possible and not beyond what is necessary for the achieving of equal
freedom. . . .
It is certainly difficult to determine exactly the degree of freedom that
can be left to the citizens without endangering that freedom whose
protection is the task of the state. But that something like an approximate
determination of that degree is possible is proved by experience, i.e. by
the existence of democratic states. . . .
And the whole objection that it is hard to know where freedom ends and crime
begins is answered, in principle, by the famous story of the hooligan who
protested that, being a free citizen, he could move his fist in any
direction he liked whereupon the judge wisely replied: 'The freedom of the
movement of your fists is limited by the position of your neighbour's nose.'
Karl R. Popper, "The Open Society and Its Enemies. Volume 1 - The Spell of
When public executions were abolished, it was not because the majority
desired their abolition; it was because a small minority of exceptionally
sensitive reformers possessed sufficient influence to have them banned. In
one of its aspects, civilization may be defined as a systematic withholding
from individuals certain occasions for barbarous behaviour. In recent years
we have discovered when, after a period of withholding, those occasions are
once more offered, men and women, seemingly no worse than we are, have shown
themselves ready and even eager to take them.
Aldous Huxley, "The Devils of Loudun." 1952
And what has to do with global warming? I guess it is related to an earlier
question I raised, that of ethics, in this case about the freedom to release
unlimited quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere.
But I am mindful that I have still to satisfy myself concerning Singer's
second demand, that global warming advocates demonstrate that warming would
severely harm human welfare and the ecology. Singer's book has raised
sufficient valid questions to put my mind in doubt over the 'facts'
published in Gore's and Flannery's books. The same thing said many times
over by many people doesn't make it true. And given the extent of changes
that the anthropogenic global warming advocates potentially require in human
activity I think the burden of proof is with the global warming advocates.
Right now I do not have access to any external resources so my answer to
this question is still on hold. I need to get to a decent bookstore, so I
am making my way for the best bookstore on the planet.