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Colours of the Rainbow

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  • Charles Vermont
    In response to the situation I suggested, Thomas and Gretchyn variously suggested that General Violet should: 1.. Leave the country 2.. Institute a reform
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 29, 1999
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      In response to the situation I suggested, Thomas and Gretchyn variously suggested that General Violet should:

      1.. Leave the country
      2.. Institute a reform movement, perhaps pushing for proportional representation
      3.. Break up the five families and redistribute their wealth (including his own)
      Of course, as an existentialist, I believe he is free to choose any and all of these options. However I would also comment:

      1.. Isn't this the coward's way out? Violet is head of Indigo's armed forces at a time of civil unrest. It seems to me that leaving the country is hardly taking responsibility for the situation.
      2.. Hasn't this already happened? Indigo has gone down the path of democracy and it has failed. Who would believe Violet if he suggested the problem was the method of electing officials rather than the underlying power relations?
      3.. I like this idea in theory but would suggest that the other four families are not training up their own militias because they want to lose their power and wealth. How can Violet achieve redistribution without a bloody civil war?
      I suppose the reason I wanted to share this situation with the list is because or the relationship between freedom of choice and taking responsibility. It seems to me the Blues, Yellows, Greens and Oranges are not taking responsibility for maintaining the social fabric of Indigo. In fact, they are actively trying to destabilise it, either because they want to protect what they have already or because they see an opportunity to grab some more for themselves. If they were all existentialists like Violet then they would take responsibility, sit down with him, and work out a deal that was satisfactory to all concerned. As it is they have chosen civil war. In other words, they are giving Violet very little choice in the situation. Either he sits on his hands and waits for the civil war to develop or he cracks down on the situation and tries to work towards a return to democracy at a later date.

      For me, the situation boils down to a simple question. Is it ever acceptable, in existentialist terms, to reduce the freedom of choice of other people in order to protect them from an even greater reduction? I would value the list's comments.

      Charles Vermont
      London, England
    • T Brooks
      Comrade Charles, You stated that: Of course, as an existentialist, I believe he is free to choose any and all of these options. Indeed, we can in the end
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 29, 1999
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        Comrade Charles,

        You stated that: "Of course, as an existentialist, I believe he is free to
        choose any and all of these options." Indeed, we can in the end choose any
        option but we may make wrong choices. Sartre's "Existentialism and Human
        Emotion" makes the clear the case that while a person can, in the end, do
        what they wish, they may be quite wrong in doing so.


        Thom Brooks
        Dept of Philosophy
        University College Dublin
        Dublin, Ireland
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