Friday, September 14, 2012

Predators Beget Editors

The now still explosive clash between Secular and Muslim culture—arising from a predatory sort of film or trailer attacking the Prophet Muhammed—once more shows that freedom is a coin with a flipside; the flipside is responsibility. If you do not control yourself, sooner or later somebody will control you—hence my title. This case is as good as any to highlight the fact that a so-called progress founded on the expansion of “rights” is by definition self-limiting. If the granting of every new right were accompanied by the energetic enforcement of the responsibility that accompanies it, the agitation for new rights would greatly diminish. The model that pictures humans as kind of perfect and innocent “in the state of Nature,” read allowed to do anything and everything, produces monstrosities at the margin. The grim view of a humanity subject to original sin, while not exactly cheering, produces much better social results. Sooner or later editorial functions will evolve on the Internet beyond those already present and used, very reluctantly. It will, of course, eventually hobble or inconvenience lots of people who use the current freedom responsibly.


  1. Self control is alien to us, mainly because it must be habitual. Virtue is having good habits.

    I feel that we like doing the occasional good bit, but do not like to make a "habit" of it.

  2. You must use modern terminology, Montag. Virtue? Forget it. It is the consequence of "non-cognitive learning."

  3. Well put, that freedom is a coin with a flip side, namely responsibility.


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