14 April 2017

Morally inferior minorities

Further to the previous post, I was struck by this sentence in the article by Labour’s education spokesperson.

Only 7 per cent of children in England attend private school.
Given that morality seems to be invoked (according to the headline, taxing private school fees is “fair”), the use of “only” suggests some interesting possible implications. Presumably, if the figure were 30 per cent, the proposal would be deemed to be significantly less acceptable, morally speaking.

One might infer a new principle of democracy from this, according to which there is some threshold level (perhaps 10 per cent?) which helps to determine the moral score assigned to a possible action of government. If fewer than this threshold percentage of voters are expected to suffer from the action – and this minority can be considered as ‘better off’ in some sense – then the action will be regarded as morally acceptable.

Presumably, if the percentage is well below the threshold level – say 1 per cent, or 0.1 per cent – we need not worry much at all. And if the proportion is really small, say 1 in 10,000 – well, why aren’t we doing it already?