Rights and Fairness: Response to the David Pindar Article

March 12, 2024
David Pindar writes a blog on a Substack site, called, “Aargh! (Age-activated rage).”       This blog articles are a good mixture of ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’ opinions. Recently, I thought his regular piece, “Happy Friday #22”, was particularly good, on 9 March. It highlighted the way Duncan Ivison (Professor of Political Philosophy, University of […]

David Pindar writes a blog on a Substack site, called, “Aargh! (Age-activated rage).”




This blog articles are a good mixture of ‘conservative’ and ‘progressive’ opinions. Recently, I thought his regular piece, “Happy Friday #22”, was particularly good, on 9 March. It highlighted the way Duncan Ivison (Professor of Political Philosophy, University of Sydney) wrote on Jürgen Habermas and discourse theory in The Conversation piece on the 12 March. Mr. Pindar gave me permission to reproduce his blog (below).




Pindar’s blog article brings out the point that there is philosophical compatibility between rights and fairness for the public marketplace, but it takes reasoned political compromise to achieve the results intelligently. Everyone should have a secured place in society but it will not necessarily be comfortable. Comfort comes from accepting the reasoned political compromise.




In the blog article we have a conversation. It involves two players: The Presumptuous Elite, and The Reticent Majority. The names reflect a John Bunyan approach. The elite are the moralistic Elect, and the majority the damned without knowledge of salvation. However, the structure of the conversation is more close to the Peter Kreeft‘s Between Heaven & Hell paperback (Inter-Varsity Press, US, 2005). To read Pindar’s well-imagined dialogue, first:




The Presumptuous Elite: Diversity is our strength.
The Reticent Majority: Well, that’s a point of view.
The Presumptuous Elite: Point of view? It is not a point of view. It is a one hundred per cent, cast iron fact.
The Reticent Majority: Really? I’m not so sure. For a start, you need to define it. What do you mean by ‘Diversity’?


Aargh! (Age-activated rage, grumpiness and humour) by David Pinder. is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.


The Presumptuous Elite: Oh, for heaven’s sake, I mean proper representation within society: a reasonably accurate mirror, in percentage terms, of the make up of the whole. Men, women. Black, white. Heterosexual, homosexual. Those sorts of things.
The Reticent Majority: What, like tall people and short people? Attractive and plug ugly?
The Presumptuous Elite: Oh, don’t be so damn silly – what’s height and attractiveness got to do with it?
The Reticent Majority: Well, you said a reasonably accurate reflection of the make up of the whole. Doesn’t that include a mix of people with different physical characteristics?
The Presumptuous Elite: No, of course not. I’m talking about characteristics like race, colour, sex …
The Reticent Majority: Well, aren’t they physical characteristics?
The Presumptuous Elite: Now you’re just being bloody argumentative.
The Reticent Majority: Well, yes. I thought we were having a discussion – a debate even? That is, by definition, a tad argumentative, isn’t it? Isn’t that the point?
The Presumptuous Elite: Look, the point is that if a group of people – in a society, a business, whatever – is actually representative of the whole, it will become aware of and recognize the different needs, expectations, and points of view of the various component parts of the group, and be able to respond far more humanely and appropriately.
The Reticent Majority: Ah, I see. So you’re not really talking about debate, more about collaboration?
The Presumptuous Elite: Oh, look, now you’re splitting hairs. For far too long, our societies marginalized particular groups – sexual minorities, disabled people …
The Reticent Majority: Carrot tops!
The Presumptuous Elite: Whaa?
The Reticent Majority: Don’t forget the red-haired folks – particularly red-haired blokes. Female red-haired beauties get a pass but the blokes really suffer. Think about poor old Prince Harry.
The Presumptuous Elite: Oh, for heaven’s sake, this is ridiculous – hair-colour, attractiveness, height – is that all you can think of?
The Reticent Majority: It’s important – you try putting a basketball team together with short-arses.
The Presumptuous Elite: Give me strength. This is exactly the kind of nonsense and abuse that we want to be rid of. For far too long we allowed particular groups to dominate at the expense of others. There is huge diversity in our societies and yet, up to now, we allowed a sliver of the whole to willfully exclude much of the potential vibrancy.
The Reticent Majority: It’ll backfire, mate.
The Presumptuous Elite: Oh, really, where does that … ahem … profound assertion come from?
The Reticent Majority: I’m just thinking about that lovely London headmistress, Katharine Birbalsingh, who founded the Michaela Community School. Recently, when a Muslim pupil put her coat down in the playground and started praying, and other children felt obliged to follow suit, Ms Birbalsingh realized the only way to stop this ‘dis-integration’ was to ban all prayers by all religious groups.
The Presumptuous Elite: And your point is?
The Reticent Majority: Boiled right down to basics, it’s an example of competition being replaced with co-operation. To do so, means cutting back to the lowest common denominator – that is, get rid of differences, cancel them, shut them out altogether.
The Presumptuous Elite: That’s rubbish.




The Reticent Majority: Okay, you’re welcome to your opinion, but just you wait and see. Replacing competition with cooperation can only work if all constituencies agree with that approach. All it takes to wreck the consensus is one dogmatic party. And that party can, of course, bide its time, wait until the moment is right, then simply decide to enforce its dogma.
The Presumptuous Elite: 
You’re so negative! So ready to think ill of other people! You aren’t even prepared to give co-operation and collaboration a chance.
The Reticent Majority: I’m just being realistic. I’m just saying that, if the whole includes a strongly dogmatic group – particularly one with a strong masculine stance – the risk, ultimately, that it will enforce its dominance must be extremely high.
The Presumptuous Elite: Masculine stance? Where does this sexist bias come into it?
The Reticent Majority: That’s funny, you accusing me of a sexist bias! Co-operation and collaboration, and, generally, team-based thinking over individual thinking, are feminine rather than masculine traits. And, anyway, you can’t have diversity in the way you describe it and meritocracy.
The Presumptuous Elite: But I’m not talking about getting rid of masculinity – although we could do without toxic masculinity. I just want it put into balance with all the other diverse elements.
The Reticent Majority: Oh, come on now, you can’t have it both ways. You can either select on the basis of merit, where one of the most reliable indicators is IQ, or you can opt for equity – that is, equality of outcome – in which case selection will, so to speak, mimic the IQ bell curve. That latter trend is clearly on display. A recent Canadian meta-analysis has shown that mean undergraduates’ IQ has fallen 17 points, from 119 in 1939 to 102 in 2022. If that’s to continue to be the case you might as well just select university entrants by putting names into a hat … but don’t then expect wonderful results.
The Presumptuous Elite: I don’t care what you say, it is way past time for us to better reflect the diversity of our societies.
The Reticent Majority: Doesn’t bloody bother you, of course. You live in your own privileged bubble.
The Presumptuous Elite: Ah, there we go … abuse! That’s all you lot can come up with. I shan’t listen to any more of this nonsense. Anyway, I’ve got a private aeroplane to catch.

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(With grateful acknowledgement to the late, great Brian O’Nolan, a.k.a Flann O’Brien, a.k.a Myles na Gopaleen for the general conversational idea I’ve tried to employ in this piece.)

Thanks for reading




The following is now my analysis-synthesis of the dialogue.





The Elect is about a grouping that needs diversity in modern times. The world has become diverse and to legitimate their own ‘election‘, The Elect has to argue for diversity in the election; otherwise the claim for election is presumptuous. The conversation immediately degenerates into the thesis of mere opinion.




Then, with first clarification, the conversation goes to the mirroring thesis without any knowledge of Richard Rorty’s critique. Fallacies of categories flies as nonsense. The idea of the whole is introduced but not explored at all. Philosophical ignorance. Again, another idea is introduced without exploring meaning and logic: argument. In the dismissive of the idea of argument, mentioning “debate“, there is no recognition of the facts in debates being extremely problematic for knowledge construction: apart from fallacies (mentioned), there is the abuse of history, and the abuse of sociology.




Some of the comments have inferences to materialism unthought out, and also to the politics of group dynamics, somewhat confused between primary and secondary reasoning. The conversation degenerates to dismissive quips (Attachment Theory). The most extreme cases are used to dismiss principles, which is a fallacy. At one point, we get to the fallacy of “The basics.” And then… we can just list the fallacies for the rest of the conversation, on both sides, to make the matter simpler: accusations of universal bias without any specifications (an inability to see the blind spots); misunderstanding Meritocracy; and misunderstanding statistics, bubble-thinking, and the politics of care (and the work of Nel Noddings and others).




Without employing the philosopher-sociologist- historian, like myself to untangle the ideas, the conversation is a big mess of nonsense.




Note the links to Wikipedia does not necessarily take you to an article that you intuitively think. Be aware that separate words might be separately linked.




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Neville Buch (Pronounced Book) Ph.D. is a certified member of the Professional Historians Association (Queensland). Since 2010 he has operated a sole trade business in history consultancy. He was a Q ANZAC 100 Fellow 2014-2015 at the State Library of Queensland. Dr Buch was the PHA (Qld) e-Bulletin, the monthly state association’s electronic publication, and was a member of its Management Committee. He is the Managing Director of the Brisbane Southside History Network.
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