Philip Pullman writes in the Guardian on three public virtues which will enrich the Nation state: courage, modesty and intellectual curiosity. These in our leaders would percolate down through the wider society, for the benefit of all. This paragraph at the end particularly caught my attention:
Is delight a virtue too? Well, it’s like the canary in a coal mine: while it continues to sing, we know the great public virtue of liberty is still alive. A nation whose laws express fear and suspicion and hostility cannot sustain delight for very long. If joy goes, freedom is in danger.
Delight, joie de vivre, coming from circumstances: here, the freedom of the Nation. I agree that terrorism laws, detention without charge, and house arrest, which the Coalition promised to repeal, but instead have replaced with things little less oppressive, blight our country; and I think cruelty and faked argument in public entertainment, or paranoia in news reporting, blight it more. Even advertising, which usually shows stylish, confident, happy people using the product in question, sometimes trades instead on fear: “Millions fear mortgage rate rise” is the scream I see on opening my emails.
So there is a duty to find delight in the World, and express it, share it, and show its causes so others may feel it. Delight frees people to take risks and fulfill our potential. It makes us strong. Delight is a virtue. Psalm 118:24:
This is the day that the Lord has made
We will rejoice and be glad in it