Sunday, March 15, 2009

Comment on Belmont Club
"The silver cord"

On the death of Ron Silver.
Knowing that men of Ron Silver's intelligence, industry, practicality and fundamental decency can be found on all sides of an argument is a great gift. To often when we face the infantile caterwauling that has replaced argumentation the tasks of government appear to be so distastefully debased to a form of unending rubbish remover that the temptation becomes to withdraw. That is a great error that misjudges why the community at large confers honor to certain individuals or professions. The qualities of honor and respect are not conveyed as an additional bonus for people who are lucky enough to win life's lottery. Even in aristocratic societies that would be a misunderstanding. Honor is conveyed on those who are willing to undertake difficult and dangerous tasks on behalf of the community, beyond the hazards that are faced by the rubbish remover. A healthy community encourages and honors it's warriors even when the enemy they fight are not themselves respectable. This was a theme in The Grand Illusion. So we should fight the good fight for its own sake. In our weaker moments when we are tempted to throw in the towel we should remember that there are men of Ron Silver's quality on the other side, that they are worth reaching, that they enrich our comprehension no matter which side of an argument they are on, they may change sides, or if they facts justify it so may we, and finally that there is no excuse for any of us on our side as well as on our opponents to do worse.

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