Friday, 12 March 2010

Choosing the Common Good

I have been skimming the latest pamphlet by the Bishops of England and Wales Choosing the Common Good which came out last week, I think. I haven't had time to read and digest everything yet but I was heartened to read one section about virtue, p. 11ff. It has long been a trope of mine that a society which thinks it can organize itself on the basis of legislation is already a corrupt body. Order must come not only from outside but also from inside. Multiplicatio legorum corrutio republicae, as some Latin geezer once put it. The multiplication of laws is the corruption of the Republic, or at least a sign of it, a sign that only enforced conformity can guarantee order. When I last looked that was also part of the definition of slavery.

So, bravo the bishops. I was particularly struck by this part:

The virtue of courage ensures firmness, and the readiness to stand by what we believe in times of difficulty. It is the opposite of opportunism and of evasiveness. It is the practice
of fortitude in the face of difficulty and produces heroism in every field.
(p. 12).

Funny they should say that. Now, my Lords, about the SRE bill ...

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