The article Beware the C-Word by Tom Morton tackles the issue of what Morton calls communitarianism or the cult of the community currently being played out as the byword of politicians, academics, and social commentators. …
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Morton believed that while the warmth of communitarianism answers the need of people to belong and connect with other people, blind adherence to it can lead to the promotion of bigotry, intolerance and the ultimate destroyer of individuality – conformity. What he recommends therefore is that people should adopt a “healthy skepticism” regarding excessive communitarianism and “robust suspicion” of anyone pushing for community values. This is because, according to Morton, community values are not necessarily equated to good values nor are shared values good values. The test should be how values figure in the community’s treatment of strangers. As an illustration, Morton cited the example of the gay community in Australia who demurred to the joining of the bisexuals in the Mardi Gras celebration on the ground that the latter were not fully committed to the gay cause. This particular incident showed that communitarianism tended to isolate the community from those strangers or those perceived not belonging to it. In addition, the unity that necessarily accompanies communitarianism results in the loss of the exercise of individual sense of right and wrong. Communitarianism results in the adoption of the entire community of a single set of values, in this case the acknowledgment of gay rights and the rejection of bisexual people’s rights.
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