Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Elements of a Good Society

I think we sometimes get so engrossed in the soap opera of politics, the fire fighting, the crises, the opportunities to stick it to the opposition, that we sometimes forget to remember what we are actually seeking to attain. So in this and some future posts I'll sketch out some basic things I think need to exist for a society to call itself good.

The first is ensuring that everyone can feel secure about their basic needs - food, clothing and shelter. Amazingly this is not the case in Britain, nor within Scotland, the part of Britain I live in. I buy three items every week from the supermarket, drawn from a list of things the local food bank says they need most. We have people who rely on a food charity to feed themselves and their families.

I'm off in half an hour to go to Edinburgh to do a talk this evening. Every time I arrive at Waverley Station and go to somewhere within ten minutes walk from the station I pass at least three people begging. They are homeless. They might have temporary accommodation - might - but they have nowhere that they can call home.

So that's two of the three basic needs of a good society not being met by one of the world's largest economies. Not enough food, and no home.

We need to have economic and social strategies in order to sort this shameful failure as our number one priority.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Stating the Obvious

A U.S. student returns from imprisonment in North Korea, in a coma, and dies a few days later.

The barbarity of authority is not checked or self-restrained.

Over 70 people at latest counting died in a tower block, where fireproof cladding was rejected because it cost £2 more than the cheaper alternative, which was used.

Money doesn't grow on trees but life is precious. Unless we have wise, compassionate and judicious government it is always the poor who will be neglected and damaged.

Another multi-millionaire is accused of tax evasion.

Money corrupts. The wealthier you get, the more you fear losing your money, and the more you resent having to share it, unless you have strength of altruistic compassion and conviction.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Thou Shalt Not Kill Animals

If I was a dictator, or even the elected leader of a country, with a healthy majority in parliament, and the back up of most of my party - which is a whole lot of ifs -

I'd ban the deliberate killing of all animals, allowing submissions to be excepted from the law under very limited circumstances.

I'd allow those who run businesses, the survival of which depends on their killing other living things - eg. slaughterhouses - or which depends on others killing animals eg. livestock farmers, butchers - an amount of time, say five to ten years, to turn around their business so that it has a fair chance of survival without the need for animals to be killed.

People would say this is an unfair infringement of their rights but our rights are already curtailed by thousands of acts of legislation. We are not allowed to kill other humans except under rare circumstances. Moreover we are not allowed to kill certain animals or birds, either because they are owned by humans eg. a dog, or because they are endangered (usually because of other human activity) eg. ospreys in Scotland.

This would mean that meat eating would end, changing the culture of our culture and cuisine dramatically. It would also change the nature of our countryside, as currently large tracts of land are used solely for the grazing of cattle and sheep.

It's a moral point of course. We are intelligent enough to be able to produce the food, clothing shelter, education, and health services we need without killing any other living things intentionally. So the moral rule - do no harm if you can avoid it - applies.