Thursday, 17 November 2011

( Ivor Sharptongue was appealing against a 3 month suspension for foul mouthing opponents, who he believed were employing a coded signalling system by subtle placement of their bidding cards. Bizarrely, Bigot-Johnson offered his services to speak up on his behalf, with Ivor only too pleased to accept. A short extract from Bigot's highly persuasive speech appears below.)
" I put it to you....that any player can get angry....that is easy.......only to give another player a verbal telling off. But to do this in the right context, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right asking too much of any player who has got his dander up.
According to Plato........and who would argue with him.....wrongdoing is based on ognorance. This would suggest that a player could not deliberately, in full conscious knowledge, undertake a verbal bollocking of another, for that would be illogical: players generally.....and what is good. The only explanation therefore is that an angry player commits an inappropriate, albeit aggressive act, without full knowledge of what that " good " is.
In contrast, Aristotle thought morality requires cultivating certain virtues and developing one's character.....what is termed virtue ethics. There aren't necessarily fixed notions of what is right and wrong in any particular situation, but rather that morality is a skill that we learn. Like all skills, of course, there are times when bridge players don't get it quite right ....even after years of practice !
Moreover, there are many things that influence the morality of an action. For instance, being selfless might commonly be seen as good, but it may not always be appropriate. If someone has a destructive drug habit, then generously gifting them money may not be the wisest thing. Similarly, by challenging and verbally confronting a soft-cheater or unethical opponent might at the time be perceived as being a good thing to do.
However, if the victim of the accusation has a sensitive disposition, convinced of their own inocence, or ignorant of their alleged wrongdoing, then giving them a stern lecture or verbal condemnation may not be the good way to about about expressing one's grievance. This is why TDs are always there to be called upon.
The problem is all too plain to see. How to keep emotions and instincts in check. Learning to bite one's tongue. Learning to hold one's tongue. If bridge players were to embrace Aristotle's philosophy, then they need to apply a rule of thumb approach. Since most inappropriate actions involve an imbalance of sorts......being too rash....too extravagant.....too honest and blunt....too critical......then moral actions need to strike a balance, finding that golden mean between opposites. Doing or saying nothing has no merits whatsoever , but striking that mean will depend upon the context of the situation. Speaking out requires a certain bravery which can either involve remaining calm under provocation, or rushing into battle alone. Sometimes ...even adopting the middle way may not turn out to be the good way, or the right approach....but it's sure as hell a reasonable place to start.
This poor man , I feel, is only guilty of choosing an action that was in hindsight a " bad " call .....he made a judgement on the spur of the moment which to him seemed correct and good. So let those..... who have never committed sins themselves while playing bridge .........cast Ivor out onto the street....... depriving the club of a man who is prepared to challenge and confront those guilty of soft cheating and unehical play. "

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