Grasping the Common Good Pt II


Rather than forming a coherent and clearly delineated common good, a hierarchy is instead just an unstable alliance of disparate agendas. Hierarchal structures inherently imbue a large degree of wiggle room with regard to culpability, since participants can claim that they were only following orders, or that someone failed to properly execute whatever orders were issued to them. Thus people have become accustomed to throwing up a defensive smokescreen, as a means of distancing themselves from the consequences of their own self indulgence.

Eliminating hierarchy brings the common good sharply back into focus. In a worker collective, the common good is simply the workplace itself, inert and incapable of independent action. When the common good is breached, the workplace is the only possible victim. There cannot be another side to a story involving a single protagonist. Anyone whose behaviour breaches the common good, is undeniably in the wrong, since in the absence of a hierarchal command structure there is no reasonable scope for reapportioning blame.

Furthermore the test for conflict with the common good is simple and irrefutable: would serious problems arise if every other worker were at liberty to emulate that mode of behaviour? The logic here is irrefutable. The intention and outcome are rendered wholly irrelevant, enabling the individual to be judged solely by the potential consequences of their own actions. There is absolutely no basis for the offender to harbour any feelings of persecution.

Members of a collective are duty bound to protect the common good. Those unaccustomed to this ethos, may wrongly perceive that they are being ‘unfairly’ singled out for embarrassment that they would otherwise escape, and lash out at anyone who dares offend their sensibilities by highlighting the error of their ways.

Ultimately it falls to the probationer to recognise that their own self interest is ultimately best served by collective cohesion, and that in the absence of hierarchy there no easy way to avoid the consequences of one’s own actions.

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