Precepts to use in everyday life

1. Think for yourself, 2. Be yourself, 3. Speak up, 4. Feel free to agree and disagree, 5. Be honest with yourself and others, 6. Be open-minded, 7. Avoid being judgmental and 8. Question everything - even your own thinking.

TOK Essay Titles May 2019

Monday, June 15, 2009


Ethics - The right to free speech #2

You would not have seen on live T.V. the almost reproachful look of the presenter as our contribution was made - or was this just our perception?

Nevertheless, the real point of interest lies in what happened after the show: your brown-skinned defender of free speech (yes, even on behalf of the BNP) was approached by three independent people and thanked for his contribution.

First, the Reverend West came to say a few words of thanks (spiced with some choice platitudes by John Stuart Mill on the importance of freedom) while the presenter of the show passed by and smiled sardonically. The Reverend duly blessed him and proffered a salutary handshake as we departed with a few words. The hand was shaken - as equally, we should add, as the hand of the poet, Benjamin Zephaniah, some minutes later. Both handshakes would have made great photographic moments - a symbol of the different colours and races and beliefs that make our world (or are we being too naive?)

Second, the specialist invited to represent the Monarchist view, Dr. Barry Twig, acknowledged that our contribution embodied the fairness that we sometimes forget is at the very heart of our political system.

And lastly, and for us, most importantly, since herein lies the lesson for us all, one of the producers of the show was grateful for the contribution and kindly apologised for its being dismissed. The reason given was that common sense does not always make good TV, certainly when 'you are the one moral voice in the audience'.

So here we are again, in life and in our studies, back to the distinction between 'morals' and 'ethics'. She should have qualified us as voicing the 'one ethical voice'.

It may appear over fussy to insist on the distinction, but your essay and presentation grades might depend on it - and you may begin to see how the distinction could be crucial in helping to clarify the direction of any ethical discussion, in your work or in life...

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