Friday, November 16, 2012

Thank the Good Lord

An Bord Pleanála (the Irish planning board) has told SIPTU they can't replace their current eyesore of a headquarters, Liberty Hall, with an even bigger eyesore. (SIPTU is an umbrella group of Irish trade unions, for my non-Irish readers.)

If you are not familiar with the skyline of Dublin, then you should know that it is blessedly low-rise and skyscraper-free. The only real exception is Liberty Hall, a hideous, sharp-edged, glass and concrete block that is an insult to all the beautiful city church spires that it outsoars.

I am a member of SIPTU. I even think that it is highly probable that I wouldn't have my current job without SIPTU. Nevertheless, that doesn't make me the first person to leap to the defence of trade unions. In this case, I think they have definitely forgotten that man does not live by bread alone, and that the quality of life is not the same thing as the standard of living.

Yesterday I read a review of Roger Scruton's recent book, The Face of God, based on his 2010 Gifford Lectures. Apparently, he argues that one of the reasons atheism and irreligion are so prevalent today is that our society has become increasingly alienating, impersonal, and faceless-- the brutalising tendencies of modern architecture being one of Scruton's constant bugbears. Since the world itself has less and less of a human face, mankind becomes less and less inclined to see the "face of God" reflected in it, and increasingly loses any sense of the sacred. I think there is a lot of merit in that argument.

And this story gives me yet another reason not to be a libertarian.

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