• Due to a glitch in the old vBulletin software, some users were "banned" when they tried to change their passwords at the end of February. This does not apply after the site was converted to Xenforo. If you were affected by this, please contact us.




Civic Virtue and the Tragedy of the Commons

Cato

Moderator
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Messages
20,608
One family's account of their day out at the beech in Rossnowlagh

“It’s an absolute disgrace, that people feel they can treat a public beach this way, with complete disregard for other beach users, throwing their rubbish and empty alcohol bottles on the beach, smashing them on the ground and tipping out the contents of there disposable barbecues where people are walking and children are playing.

“There should be plain cloth litter wardens on the beach who can issue on the spot fines – hefty on the spot fines.”
They report that fights broke out as people tried to exit the crowed beach as the tide came in.

My first reaction to this was to think of it as another example of the Tragedy of the Commons, and certainly part of the reason people treat the beach in such a manner is that the cost of such degradation is borne by others.

However, the other aspect to this, is yet another example of the lack of civic virtue among the general Irish population. Now civic virtue is often be thought to exist in greater things, in military sacrifice, in dutiful and honest public service, in providing for the foundation and upkeep of schools, hospitals, universities and so on. But civic virtue really needs to thrive in the small things in order for a republic to worthy of that title (and civic virtue, as with the non-adrbitary use of power, and freedom conceived as non-domination, is one of the essential elements of a republic). One such small civic virtue is littering, another is respect for others in your community, your fellow citizens.

We call ourselves a republic, but we are sorely lacking in civic virtue from the small things to the great. Most republican theorists recognise the importance of civic virtue and the need for it to be intentionally fostered among the population, primarily through the education system. This means some form of agreed ethical training (I use the word deliberately) to be built into the curriculum.

But that, as they say, is where things get controversial ...
 
Last edited:


Polly Ticks

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2016
Messages
3,349
There is a lack of civic virtue in Ireland? Compared to where? Italy? Holland? Mexico? The US?

People need to take responsibility for their own civic virtue or lack of it, but with the leaders Ireland has had, it could reasonably be argued that no great or noble example has been set for the citizenry to follow... and so notions of civic virtue become little more than fantastic promises.. a bit like pre-election manifestos.
 

Orbit v2

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Messages
11,716
One families account of their day out at the beech in Rossnowlagh



They report that fights broke out as people tried to exit the crowed beach as the tide came in.

My first reaction to this was to think of it as another example of the Tragedy of the Commons, and certainly part of the reason people treat the beach in such a manner is that the cost of such degradation is borne by others.

However, the other aspect to this, is yet another example of the lack of civic virtue among the general Irish population. Now civic virtue is often be thought to exist in greater things, in military sacrifice, in dutiful and honest public service, in providing for the foundation and upkeep of schools, hospitals, universities and so on. But civic virtue really needs to thrive in the small things in order for a republic to worthy of that title (and civic virtue, as with the non-adrbitary use of power, and freedom conceived as non-domination, is one of the essential elements of a republic). One such small civic virtue is littering, another is respect for others in your community, your fellow citizens.

We call ourselves a republic, but we are sorely lacking in civic virtue from the small things to the great. Most republican theorists recognise the importance of civic virtue and the need for it to be intentionally fostered among the population, primarily through the education system. This means some form of agreed ethical training (I use the word deliberately) to be built into the curriculum.

But that, as they say, is where things get controversial ...
I think there is a lot of civic virtue among much of the population, but there is an underclass which has none, and is able to behave with complete impunity.

It's not just about education, but also enforcing the laws relating to littering etc.
 

JemmyR

Well-known member
Joined
May 9, 2009
Messages
449
I think there is a lot of civic virtue among much of the population, but there is an underclass which has none, and is able to behave with complete impunity.

It's not just about education, but also enforcing the laws relating to littering etc.
The overclass don't show much sign of having much "civic virtue".
 

TedHankey

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
1,105
One families account of their day out at the beech in Rossnowlagh



They report that fights broke out as people tried to exit the crowed beach as the tide came in.

My first reaction to this was to think of it as another example of the Tragedy of the Commons, and certainly part of the reason people treat the beach in such a manner is that the cost of such degradation is borne by others.

However, the other aspect to this, is yet another example of the lack of civic virtue among the general Irish population. Now civic virtue is often be thought to exist in greater things, in military sacrifice, in dutiful and honest public service, in providing for the foundation and upkeep of schools, hospitals, universities and so on. But civic virtue really needs to thrive in the small things in order for a republic to worthy of that title (and civic virtue, as with the non-adrbitary use of power, and freedom conceived as non-domination, is one of the essential elements of a republic). One such small civic virtue is littering, another is respect for others in your community, your fellow citizens.

We call ourselves a republic, but we are sorely lacking in civic virtue from the small things to the great. Most republican theorists recognise the importance of civic virtue and the need for it to be intentionally fostered among the population, primarily through the education system. This means some form of agreed ethical training (I use the word deliberately) to be built into the curriculum.

But that, as they say, is where things get controversial ...
Not controversial at all. Train whomever you wish, we are well trained little slaves, even the ones who litter and fight. But it will come to nothing as the state is rotten. And just like a fish, it rots from the head.
 

farnaby

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
1,967
We call ourselves a republic, but we are sorely lacking in civic virtue from the small things to the great. Most republican theorists recognise the importance of civic virtue and the need for it to be intentionally fostered among the population, primarily through the education system. This means some form of agreed ethical training (I use the word deliberately) to be built into the curriculum.
Our national moral stance is a form of utilitarianism - greatest good for the greatest number - but in practice our utilitarian calculations are generally short term and "make sure there's a large dollop of good in it for me".

Thus "having the craic on the beach on the rare day the sun shines" overrides consideration for others and the local environment.

This would not happen in e.g. Finland where their ethics are rigidly duty-based - commitments must be honoured, debts and favours repayed, public spaces respected. I've done multi-hour drives without seeing a scrap of litter by the roadside vs every couple of minutes here.

That culture has its downsides though - I believe that the relentless pressure to meet commitments/obligations contributes to nihilistic "let off steam" drinking and melancholy if not depression.
 

The Field Marshal

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
44,408
It amazes me that people get het up about a bit of litter or a bit of oil on a beach.

They never consider that beaches and the adjacent water,s are saturated with hard to see fish poo.
 

freewillie

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Messages
7,491
I blame the payrence I doo
 

Orbit v2

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Messages
11,716
Our national moral stance is a form of utilitarianism - greatest good for the greatest number - but in practice our utilitarian calculations are generally short term and "make sure there's a large dollop of good in it for me".

Thus "having the craic on the beach on the rare day the sun shines" overrides consideration for others and the local environment.

This would not happen in e.g. Finland where their ethics are rigidly duty-based - commitments must be honoured, debts and favours repayed, public spaces respected. I've done multi-hour drives without seeing a scrap of litter by the roadside vs every couple of minutes here.

That culture has its downsides though - I believe that the relentless pressure to meet commitments/obligations contributes to nihilistic "let off steam" drinking and melancholy if not depression.
I'd settle for respecting public spaces for a start. It doesn't come at that much cost to oneself, like picking up after your dog, or bringing your litter home. And if that doesn't lead to rampant melancholy, we can take it from there .. :cool:

Seriously though, there is an ambivalence about the issue as displayed by some other posters. It's like the very idea of "responsibility" is authoritarian, suspect, and contrary to the 'progressive' nanny state where everything (including litter removal) is done for you.
 

galteeman

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
Messages
2,442
I'd say those scumbags are a very small minority even though they are highly visible and it does seem they act with impunity.
As for all the guys who are ambivalent about this - either 20 years old or idiots.
I mean wtf has Denis O'Brien have to do with this topic?
 

Fr. Hank Tree

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
5,907
Civic virtue or practical patriotism only comes about by cultivating an emotional affiliation amongst citizens for the nation/state. It is more to do with the heart than the mind.

The only real way to foster such a bond is by promoting nationalism on a macro level. The more diluted and equivocal the nationalism, the less civically virtuous our citizenry will be.

Something for the post-national liberals to consider.
 

Fr. Hank Tree

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
Messages
5,907
We call ourselves a republic, but we are sorely lacking in civic virtue from the small things to the great. Most republican theorists recognise the importance of civic virtue and the need for it to be intentionally fostered among the population, primarily through the education system. This means some form of agreed ethical training (I use the word deliberately) to be built into the curriculum.
I don't think it has anything to do with education. It's more to do with a lack of pride/respect/love for the wider community and state.

As others have said, this lack of pride/respect/love comes from the top down. For example, a former prime minister of our state recently expressed regret over that state's founding historical event. Another former prime minister abused the state for personal enrichment. A former president left her job early and rather disrespectfully to take up another job. A former minister for defence actually pardoned people who deserted our army during world war 2. And we recently commemorated soldiers who tried to violently suppress our state in its infancy.
 

Socratus O' Pericles

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
33,626
Here's a typical fracking site, there's going to be one just like it over in Antrim and I expect similar ones to be approved in the Republic also, STATE APPROVED:



I believe our national psyche is one with a short term perspective (sure! it'll be grand). That's a problem when it comes to state managemnt of "the common"

By approving of such developments in advance and hoping for the miracle that everything will be alright , that someone some how will clean up are we in fact ignoring the common good

OR

are we supporting the freedom to maximise the use of ones assets. To do otherwise would be to constrain business and deny an individual (s) the right to a profit and to the "judicious" use of their (own) property.


Whereas the common good, consists of having the social systems, institutions, and environments on which we all depend work in a manner that benefits all people, I feel there is a post-capitalist tension which allows me to throw my plastic bottle on the beach- I own it I can do what I like with it. Externalities are externalities.


I'm also interested in farnaby's take on the depression/alcoholism in Finland............is it less or more than in Ireland i wonder? The "Drunken Irish" being a worldwide brand and depression seems to me to be at epidemic proportions.
 

The Field Marshal

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
44,408
As for all the guys who are ambivalent about this .
I mean wtf has a well known media mogul have to do with this topic?
Fixed that fer ye.[video=youtube;-MEdhm0LRHw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MEdhm0LRHw[/video]
 

farnaby

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
1,967
I'm also interested in farnaby's take on the depression/alcoholism in Finland............is it less or more than in Ireland i wonder? The "Drunken Irish" being a worldwide brand and depression seems to me to be at epidemic proportions.
Yes and yes, for example:
ALCOHOL DEATH RATE BY COUNTRY
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/11/07/a-stunning-map-of-depression-rates-around-the-world/

I've no studies to link these traits to the strong culture of duty, other than my long but anecdotal experiences of the country.

But looking at those links I can also see that the Nordics, Switzerland and Netherlands - all countries I would associate with high civic virtue and duty-based ethics, depression and in some cases alcoholism are higher than in Ireland. Correlation or causation?
 

Socratus O' Pericles

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
33,626
Yes and yes, for example:
ALCOHOL DEATH RATE BY COUNTRY
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/11/07/a-stunning-map-of-depression-rates-around-the-world/

I've no studies to link these traits to the strong culture of duty, other than my long but anecdotal experiences of the country.

But looking at those links I can also see that the Nordics, Switzerland and Netherlands - all countries I would associate with high civic virtue and duty-based ethics, depression and in some cases alcoholism are higher than in Ireland. Correlation or causation?

A little from Column A some from Column B.

I always wonder about reportage and even recording, I think a lot of alcohol related deaths were pushed into the accident / heart failure bracket.

Reporting of depression was also avoided .

Countries such as Iceland and Austria which I've visited seem very clean to me and have lower rates of alcoholism and depression, a more holistic diagnostic tool is required.



The Italians can be a filthy lot.

Approach to Mount Etna:

 

farnaby

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
1,967
I don't think it has anything to do with education. It's more to do with a lack of pride/respect/love for the wider community and state.
Sad to say but in countries high in civic duty (Nordics, Switzerland, Germany etc.), I sense that it is fear rather than those positive emotions you list that drive good behaviour - that is: fear of disapproval, blame, reduced esteem, reputation as a rule breaker etc.

As an aside, Kantian duty-based morality is famously anti-emotion - it is right that you should visit your friend in hospital because it is your duty as a friend. The love and concern you have for your friend is irrelevant to the moral decision, says Kant. But if you're the guy lying in hospital, would you want the visit to be out of duty or love?
 

New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top