Tag Archives: philosophy

Is Paying for Sex Wrong?

Yesterday evening, I listened to a great debate on Intelligence Squared Youtube’s channel entitled “Its Wrong to Pay for Sex”.

The debate included an economist, a former madam (the owner of a US escort agency who spent some time in jail for providing working women to clients), a researcher into prostitution, An anthropologist and an author.

My own view is that it is not wrong to pay for sex provided that the person receiving payment, who is usually (but not always a woman), is of legal age and has not been coerced into providing sexual services.

As always, I would be interested in the views of my readers. You can find “Its Wrong to Pay for Sex Below”,

The Myth of Progress

A good article entitled “The Myth of “Progressive” Thinking”, https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-myth-of-progressive-thinking
.

“Progress” is, I believe a much misused and abused word.

COVID-19 and J S Mill’s “On Liberty”

At a time of unprecedented restrictions on the liberty of the individual (in the democracies), one can not, I think do better than to turn to J. S. Mill’s 1859 essay “On Liberty”:

“The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him, must be calculated to produce evil to some one else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”
(See https://www.econlib.org/library/Mill/mlLbty.html).

It is, of course dangerous to attempt to precisely determine what a 19th-century theorist would think as regards the problems facing us in the 21st century. However, on the basis of “the harm principle” outlined above, I think that one can hazard an educated guess as to what Mill would have thought about the lockdown measures introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mill would, I believe have accepted (albeit reluctantly) the necessity of some kind of social distancing measures on the grounds that an individual has no right to infect another person with a disease. I am, however not convinced that he would have advocated compulsory lockdown measures such as social distancing enforced by law. and, given his defense of individual liberty he would, in my view have rigorously opposed measures aimed at preventing members of different households from mixing indoors – for example the ban on couples who are not living together from becoming intimate due to concerns over the Corona virus.

Mill was a Liberal, but his views have influenced liberals (with a small l) in all the major UK political parties. It is my hope that liberals (of every party) will make their views heard so as to ensure that in the natural desire to combat Corona, the rights of individual human beings do not get forgotten.

Kevin

There Are No Gods

There are no gods.
Men are but sods
In the end
My friend.

Yet we strive
To stay alive.
And some pretend
That there are gods.
But we are sods
In the end
My friend.

Though, the poet’s work may survive
Long after his eyes
Have closed.
And, who knows,
Perchance he may find, at his end
That we are more than mere
Sods.

Yet I fear
That there are no gods.
And we are but sods
In the end
My friend.

You May Speak of Morality

You may speak of morality
But when
Lonely men
Feel their mortality,
What chance
Has philosophise,
When man can
Enjoy The ancient dance,
Of a professional’s, calculating, eyes?

Time

On a beautiful spring night
I heard, with some delight
The gentle tick tock
Of a long deceased clock.

Time is always there.
Yet I care
For the tick tock
Of an individual clock.

Each, separate timepiece
Must,
One day
Cease.

And I shall go away,
And all the philosophy discussed,
Shall turn to dust.

Philosopher Sir Roger Scruton Dies

I was saddened to read of the death of the philosopher Professor Sir Roger Scruton, https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/conservative-roger-scruton-dies-a4332461.html.

Back in October 2018, I reviewed Sir Roger’s “How to be a Conservative, https://kmorrispoet.com/2018/10/14/how-to-be-a-conservative-by-roger-scruton-book-review/.

As I say in that review, the book offers something to both Conservatives (in the political sense of the word), and also to those who would not consider themselves as political Conservatives but who do, nonetheless cherish the English countryside and the traditions of this country.

When An Extremely Precocious AI

When an extremely precocious AI
Said, “Truly I am a guy!”,
A philosophy student named Paul
Said, “you are no guy at all!”,
Which angered that precocious AI!

If I Could Look Into Your Mind

If I could look into your mind
And you into mine,
What would we find?

Will you pretend
That no friendships would end
And that our inner feelings
Would not leave one another reeling?

A smile
May just that be,
A smile
But all agree
That guile
May hide inside a smile.

Some maintain
That man will
Never fully understand the brain,
While still
Others maintain
That you will never find the mind
Within the brain.

I know not whether the mind
Is separate from the brain,
But I can not pretend
That many a friendship would not end
Where you and me
To be able to see
Into the mind
Or brain
Of our dearest friend