If you can answer Allan Todd's philosophical conundrum, you could win a copy of his latest book!


Much though this may seem to be a politically-vindictive question, it is not – in fact, it’s a serious philosophical/moral question.

And I ask it because Rees-Mogg claims to be a ‘deeply-moral’ person who, as a neoliberal Thatcherite, detests the ‘nanny state’ – “there’s no such thing as society” – which he believes destroys people’s ‘self-respect’ by trying to use taxpayers money to ensure everyone receives decent benefits, pensions, housing, public health care, education, etc. Instead, he believes people should stand (and, by implication, fall) by their own individual efforts.

So my philosophical question is this: wouldn’t trying to save him from drowning compromise his deeply-felt ‘morality’? And wouldn’t doing that be worse than simply letting him drown?

I guess the answer would depend in part on how sincere he is about what he says he believes. After all, the Tories have been known to lie-in fact, they had a proven serial liar as PM for 3 years, and only recently, many were prepared to have him back!

In fact, I sometimes wonder whether Rees-Mogg – and the rest of the neoliberal 1% – really do hate the ‘nanny state’ in principle. I know they are absolutely consistent in opposing state handouts to those who, because of ever-increasing food & energy bills, are struggling – quite literally – to survive in this ‘Cost of Living’ Crisis.

Yet the super-rich-such as Rees-Mogg and his family—are more than happy to receive massive state handouts from the ‘nanny state’ they claim to detest so much. In fact, back in 2016, his wealthy wife’s family took £7.6m in taxpayers’ money to do up their ancestral home.

I’ve often wondered how he was able to square that with his ‘deeply-principled’ conscience, given that he’d consistently voted for the Bedroom Tax which forced thousands into rough-sleeping on the streets. Now, of course, he opposes taxpayers’ money being used to help stop the poorest people from dying this winter by really cutting their energy bills and insulating their homes.

But, to be fair, Rees-Mogg isn’t the only neoliberal who appears to be nothing but a great big hypocrite. So many of the 1% and the billionaire corporation owners oppose state intervention in the economy – yet are happy to receive £billions in tax benefits and subsidies, while the bulk of the population have declining real wages and falling living standards forced down their throats.

Even though it’s an established fact that, even before this current massive increase in oil and gas prices, tens of thousands die every winter from cold in this country, it does seem that ‘principled’ neoliberals like Rees-Mogg do believe individuals are responsible for their own fate. So surely the moral thing to do would be to take him at his word – and let him drown?

Answers in the comments section below, please! (the best answer for saving or letting him sink, as judged by Allan will win a copy of his new book Ecosocialism or Extinction which will be published soon on Resistance books)

Closing date to enter 30 November 2022

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Allan Todd is a member of ACR’s Council and of Left Unity’s National Council, and an ecosocialist/environmental and anti-fascist activist. He is the author of Revolutions 1789-1917, Ecosocialism not Extinction, and Trotsky: The Passionate Revolutionary – and the forthcoming Che Guevara: The Romantic Revolutionary (out 30 May 2024)

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