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Daily Maverick Morality

The creeping nannyism of South African smoking regulations

Originally published in the Daily Maverick
South Africa has some of the most stringent restrictions on the sale, advertising and consumption of tobacco in the developed world. In general, this is a good thing. It seems to me entirely appropriate for harmful substances to be reasonably difficult to get hold of, and that they shouldn’t be made to appear attractive to prospective users.

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Daily Maverick Morality Politics

Sala’s knee-jerk moralism on Annelie Botes award

As submitted to The Daily Maverick

There is a difference between being moral and being moralistic. Whether or not we ever reach consensus on what it means to be good, I don’t think it could ever be a good thing to replace debate and discussion on morality with simple – and simple-minded – tut-tutting and finger-wagging that is premised on a belief in moral certitude.

Examples of individuals who claim this sort of moral authority are easy to find. From Mary Whitehouse’s campaign against the “permissive society” in Britain to local examples like the homophobic Errol Naidoo, these individuals tend to treat moral dilemmas as black or white issues, and are always at the ready with unambiguous solutions to those dilemmas.