Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Dangerous Idea

We've been out clearing the snow from our pavement. Actually it was more like ice. I put my shovel into it and removed chunks of snow/ice and thought: what would an Eskimo call this kind of "semi-snow-ice"? (What is the colloidal equivalent to snow/ice?) Is this the type of snow to make an igloo with?

Turn on the (24 hour) TV news and you hear constant reports of how people are snowed in and councils are not gritting the smaller roads, etc. etc and it is dangerous, icy, slippery, treacherous, unacceptable, etc.

Picture this: it rains, your house is flooded, the rains subside. Do you wait for the government, local council, whatever, to come to clean up the mess? Or do you try to clean your house out?

So why, my Singaporean mind wonders, do people complain about pavements and roads not being gritted when they could simply clear their own pavements and even the bit of road in front of their own house?

Is this a culture of dependence gone too far? The government has to do this. The government has to do that. We sit. We wait. If nothing happens, we complain.

Is there a law that says we are not allowed to clear our own pavements? Or that bit of road in front of our house?

If everyone did the same there will be clear pavements and clear roads for teachers to get to school and schools do not need to be closed and children can walk (?) to school or get driven there, etc. etc.

Would this qualify as utilitarianism of the JS Mill kind?

OK, I have a simple mind: I think something is a problem, and I think what is a possible, plausible solution. But it does not necessarily mean I have the answer. Of course not!

Then I came up with an even crazier idea.

You know those thousands detained "at Her Majesty's pleasure"?

First of all I am amused at that phrasing as it gives Her Majesty no pleasure whatsoever to have to detain these people at all.

Then if it was really "at her pleasure" then she should be able to require these to do whatever pleases Her Majesty. Logical so far? There should be no restrictions on what they are required to do.

Next, roads and pavements are iced up on one hand. Old people risk not getting their meals on wheels. On the other, prisoners are being bored silly.

Bingo! Why not get the people "detained at Her Majesty's pleasure" to do something that will really please her? Make them get out there to clear the roads and pavements.

Exercise, fresh air and service to the community. A chance to do something useful and feel useful to society. A chance to redeem oneself. An opportunity at rehabilitation, at engaging with society. Now if I were Her Majesty, this would give me no end of pleasure.

And think of the pleasure that this would give the old lady who would now get her meals on wheels, the driver who is able to deliver these meals, the schools which are able to stay open, the parents who can now get to work, etc. etc. the trickle-down effect of the simple act of giving prisoners an opportunity to do something useful.

Chain gangs. Chain gangs?

But of course this is never going to happen because of something to do with civil liberties.

Conclusion: utilitarianism is dead.

We are not allowed to work on the principle of the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of people. So I'll let you lot remain miserable and complaining about icy roads and pavements and schools closing, and so forth.

Update: Look what I found! Click on link then scroll down to find report.

A little bit more on this.

UK gone mad here.

Back to Organic-Ally. Become our fan on Facebook.

No comments: