Tabula Escriba - On Privilege and Welfare

The development of empathy is an important part of virtue in individuals and groups. The well-being of members of society is the responsability of those members and those surrounding them, but is also the responsability of society as a whole. Societal responsability for the well-being of its members should be addressed in the initial structure and institutions of society, but in order to remain an active value in these structures and in order to be better achieved, these structures and institutions should be considered instruments that are adaptable (to a certain extent) to the situations. In a liberal government, laws are not the rules of a "fair game" by which a superiour player can dominate others - liberal values suggest that laws are designed to serve the people, and "rule of law" is not absolute. Institutions that incentivise behaviour may exist, but these incentives are only acceptable to the extent that they do not create privilege lasting over generations, that they do not impugn the dignity or basic health/shelter/comfort of those badly, that they do not include lese mageste provisions (or anything similar), that they never remove the need for such privileged to labour, and that these privileges never become radically large over those without. An institutional system that is distant from these intuitions (such as lassiez-faire capitalism) is unacceptable under liberal values. A reasonable welfare of all of society (food, shelter, clothing, health, education, and other standard-of-living matters) must be met, and any incentives needed to inspire a level of personal productivity requisite for these must not undercut any of them nor be taken as its own good. A properly virtuous society would not require strong incentives for appropriate levels of labour.

Pat Gunn (aka Improv) <>