McMurtry's "Unspeakable Propositions"
A truly free, open society would be one in which the
following propositions offered by John McMurtry
would be widely debated. McMurtry teaches philosophy at
the University of Guelph in Canada.
1. Taking more out than you put in as a regular practise—as in money
profits—is morally wrong.
2. The capitalist workplace is anti-democratic.
3. General Motors, Dupont, IT&T, Standard Oil and Ford Corporations all
produced military supplies for the Nazi armed forces during World War II
while the United States was at war with Germany.
4. Unearned wealth should be abolished as a matter of just public
5. The government needs to regulate the investment of Canadian/U.S.
capital abroad to societies with poor human rights and environmental
standards, so as to protect these standards in both North America and
the developing world.
6. The free market means that those without money to buy what they need
do not have the right to live.
7. The major player in the international drug trade since the Second
World War, using drug enforcement laws to maintain its monopoly, has
been the United States government to finance internationally illegal
8. Over 70 of eligible U.S. and British voters did not vote for Reagan
or Thatcher [in their] "landslides".
9. The arms race and international wars are very profitable for most
10. The long-term pattern of U.S. and Canadian foreign policy in the
non-white world has been alliances with fascist-type governments rather
than their opponents.
11. The "free world" is not truly free because its citizens do not have
the effective right to criticize the capitalist system.
12. The history of Western civilization is largely a history of genocide
against non-white peoples and cultures.
13. The greatest danger to Canada's l freedom and security comes from
the United States.
14. There is no correlation between people's wealth and their merit.
15. In many cases, social ownership of major industries is sound
16. The very rich ought not to be admired, but rather condemned for
their acquisitive self-interest at others' expense.
17. A small minority's monopoly ownership of society's means of
production is an issue that needs to be carefully examined.
18. Pollution/poverty are specially advantageous to the major
shareholders of private enterprise.
19. Our major social problems are caused by the profit imperative
overriding all other values.
20. The belief that God sanctions our social order or our state at war
is a superstition.
21. There may be better alternatives for long-term sexual union than the
private property structure of state-regulated marriage.
22. The Soviet Union pays significantly more than the world-price for
imports from the countries of East Europe, and charges significantly
less for its exports.
23. Socialist revolution has been by and large beneficial for the living
standards of most citizens in societies where it has occurred.
24. Over 90 of Canadian citizens are not capitalists but members of the
working class who depend for their living on wages or salaries.
25. Unions have historically led the struggle for improvements in health
care, working conditions and social security for the population as a
26. The business community has excessive political and economic power in
27. Our schools do not train the young to think critically, but to obey
corporate or office authority without question.
28. The President and his leading advisors are provable war criminals.
29. Christianity calls for the redistribution of wealth.
30. The mass media are essentially a joint-stock company of profit and
advertising for major private corporations.
Originally published in Informal Logic, X,3 Fall 1988.