Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Some random thoughts

Incursions upon freedom are very often motivated by egoism - the egotistical belief of our rulers that they can improve things by restricting our liberty. My support for freedom is founded upon a denial of this.
In this context, we should distinguish two different defences of freedom. Very crudely speaking, we might call them the Smith/Mill defence and the Hayek/Oakeshott defence.
The first says people should be left alone because when individuals pursue their own egotistical drives, society benefits.
The second says they should be left alone because no-one can foresee the consequences of intervention, and so no-one has the intellectual resources to justify restricting liberty.


The cult of personality that surrounded Mao was an even greater - and therefore more mistaken - assertion of individual ego than the cult that surrounded Jack Welch

Lucy Kellaway in the FT

My suspicion is that death or the prospect of death, real or imagined, has very little to tell us about the office at all. We all have to work. We all have to die. Thinking about the second does not change the reality of the first.


I had a friend who died not long ago of cancer. He went on working until two weeks before he died, not because he was expressing a deathbed view on work/life balance, but because work was part of his life. For as long as he was physically capable, he wanted to go on leading his life in just the same way as he had before he was ill. He had discovered something about life: the best way of living it is not to think of death at all.

I agree with her first point, and disagree with her second.

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