they’re here to save you …
One of the things that I enjoyed the most about living in Italy was the almost complete absence of interfering busybodies. Do-gooders, as we call them in Australia. Do-gooders are convinced that they know what’s best for you. They can be on a very local level such as your next-door neighbor, or they can be on an international level. The ultimate do-gooders are the UN, (abolish it now!)
I have spoken a few times on podcast interviews about the value of self-restraint. In fact, in a free-market society self-restraint is a critical component to harmony and balance. I was reminded of this today when I read a piece at Stuart Schneiderman’s blog titled The virtue of restraint.
The less people practice self-restraint, the less they will engage in open and constructive debate. Nor will they become effective participants in the free market. It ought to be well enough known, but free markets only function when people play the game according to the rules. And that requires restraint.
Many people these days believe in freedom. Just as many misunderstand it. They embrace the freedom to do as they please but reject the freedom to be responsible for what they have done. Freedom is not an absolute and all freedoms do not have the same value.
Without restraint there is no freedom. If people are doing what they want, without restraint, they will be circumscribing your freedom of movement. If people believe that business is whatever they can get away with, the free market will become more like a free-for-all. If people exercise their freedom by interrupting others, by shouting them down, by making it impossible for anyone to consider their arguments, those others will lose their freedom.
No matter where I lived in Italy, whether it was a mountain village or an apartment in a crowded city, I was never imposed upon by my neighbors. The Italians value civility. You will not have the experience there of rowdy neighbors. If a family gathering is underway in someone’s courtyard the voices will never be raised; instead they are at a pleasant and moderate pitch. If there is music it is kept low. It is not just a concern for the people around them that encourages this behavior; it is something internal that does not require the constant attention seeking of “look at me” type insecurities.
Australians do not in general practice self-restraint. We did once, many years ago, but then general behavior began to erode for some reason. Interestingly enough I remember growing up that some of the worst perpetrators were children of European immigrants such as Italians. In Italy I never once heard a car go past with its stereo blaring at full volume. In Australia this is a common occurrence. The car’s windows literally pulse with the noise from the bass line at peak intensity, the car’s rear space completely taken up by the massive equipment needed for such noise.
Self restraint begins at home but it continues at school. Perhaps this is where things began to fall down. It is not just manners – it is the awareness that manners are there for the enjoyment of others. If one has good manners then others can enjoy the same space without being intruded upon. The Japanese are masters of this. Their cities have some of the highest population densities on earth and yet their manners are impeccable. It is almost a pleasure to be in such a crowded place.
Self-restraint means not giving in to your emotions. It means acting in a logical manner. To do this however, one must be capable of logical thought. The modern plague of SJWs is merely a manifestation of the complete lack of self-restraint in much of modern society. It is the predictable outcome of schools removing discipline and tolerating children’s emotional outbursts. Children not only need to be disciplined; they want to be. An undisciplined child is an unhappy child as he does not know where the boundaries are. This then extends into adult life, only now they have the capacity to inflect their own misery on those around them.
With the erosion of self-restraint it falls to the State to step in and impose some sort of order. Thus the free-market society begins to erode as rule follows rule and law follows law, all designed to save us from the lack of self-restraint in others. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy – to keep what we have we must then lose what we have.
Many feel that in Australia we have passed the point of no return.