a man of many metaphors

October 14, 2006

I obviously underestimated Sir Richard Dannatt in my post yesterday. He’s not just a one-metaphor soldier but commands a whole platoon or battalion of them to deploy on appropriate occasions.  According to the Downing Street website the “General had said he did not want a cigarette paper between the Prime Minister, himself and the Secretary of State for Defence.” I should certainly hope not, though I notice that the General conspicuously failed to mention whether he would tolerate other sorts of paper (wall-, toilet, news- etc.) separating the trio.  To prove he’s not just an army man he shows he is equally at home with nautical metaphors:
“Our society has always been embedded in Christian values; once you have pulled the anchor up there is a danger that our society moves with the prevailing wind……There is an element of the moral compass spinning.”
I’m not an expert on matters maritime, but I wonder whether part of the problem might be that too many people believe that it is only some supernatural being that can steer the boat and supply the moral compasses when in fact both these tasks we should be doing for ourselves. Also, I’d like to remind Sir Richard that a boat with an anchor firmly embedded in the sea floor aint going nowheres fast.
The General has me puzzled with another of his metaphors:
“We don’t do surrender.(see this post) We don’t pull down white flags” Again, I’ve never actually been a soldier but I thought the normal way of surrendering was to raise or wave a white flag, not pull it down. I might be wrong but it seems to me the General is saying ‘once we’ve surrendered we don’t stop surrendering.’ Perhaps some kindly vexillologist will enlighten me.


2 Responses to “a man of many metaphors”

  1. SilverTiger Says:

    It seems self-evident to me that the following proposition is true: morality does not derive from religion but religion adopts a pre-existent morality and claims it God-given.

    Consider the old conundrum: Does God order the Good because it is good or is the Good good because God orders it?

    If the former applies, then the Good exists independently of God who is bound by it, proving the proposition. If the latter applies, then God can order anything – even evil – which will then be regarded as “good”. This is obviously paradoxical and therefore illogical.

    It is not a defence to say that “it is God’s nature to do good”, because you are then making a case that God is constrained by “his nature” to do the Good which is thus independent of God, proving the proposition.

  2. tomeemayeepa Says:

    SilverTiger: Cogent and very well put.
    The trouble with the General’s compass and others similar is that it only has two markings. One is due north. The other is everywhere else. Chuck it out, General, and get a GPS.

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