In Ireland the debate over the water charges has got ugly. In the heat of battle it is sometimes good to stand back and look at first principles again.
In political philosophy it is important to ask what type of society do we really want? The next question is how do we create the society that we would like to live in.
Unless we want to live in slavery all decent people believe in democracy. The basis of a good society is democracy. I have no time for people who reject democracy or glorify dictatorships.
But for a democracy to succeed it needs to be built on the foundation of individual liberty. The proof of a liberal society is when I accept the liberty of another person even if I disagree with his or her point of view. As long as one’s liberty doesn’t infringe on the liberty of others people should be respected in the decision they make.
Liberty would be limited to a minority if social justice is ignored. Providing for the basic needs of people and allowing for people to develop their talents to the full provides for a truly free society.
Democracy, liberty and social justice are the 3 basic principles of a good modern society. How we achieve these basic principles is the area where legimate debate is ongoing. Let freedom reign.
John O Brien.