BBC Radio 4 Debated If People Should be Raving While COVID-19 Still Exists

A panel of philosophers and writers gathered to discuss the morality of partying during a pandemic.

there’s a balance to be struck between freedom and responsibility.”

Now that parts of the world are able to reopen their nightlife and nightclubs due to things like the vaccine. There was a discussion on BBC Radio 4’s show ‘Moral Maze’ which gathered a panel of people to have a live debate about the morality of partying while COVID-19 still exists.

The conversation was focused mainly on the UK club scene but is a topic currently relevant to most if not all parts of the world, and on the opinion panel there were a mix of philosophers and writers.

Individuals on the panel included Novara Media journalist Ash Sarkar, The Times columnist Melanie Phillips, historian Tim Stanley and priest Giles Fraser. Michael Buerk chaired the discussion on what he described as “the moral value of revelry“, and he continued to say: “there’s a balance to be struck between freedom and responsibility.”

Lasting around 40 minutes, the debate saw panellists touch on various talking points linked to the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was also some input from additional people who had questions or anecdotes to add. Some of the key topics touched upon included vaccine passports and other clubbing restrictions.

Ash Sarkar, positioned herself as “part of the party hard left,” and she said: “I cannot stand that strand of intellectualism which looks at people having fun and decided that sneering at them is the best way to prove how clever and worldly you are. I personally believe that there’s beauty in a crowd and, what’s more, in a nightclub it’s not about individualism or atomisation, it’s a collective experience reaching beyond yourself and creating something; a vibe, a wave of joy with other people.”

Sarkar also responded to comments from others on the panel to explain that electronic music isn’t just mindless noise, and compared it to the works of classical musicians such as Beethoven, saying: “Listen to Floorplan and then tell me that there’s nothing in there which is moving, transcendent or indeed even sublime.”

Approaching the debate from an opposing (hard right) angle, historian, Tim Stanley said: “I wouldn’t shut nightclubs because I think you have a right to be silly, but I am generally suspicious of fun. I’m suspicious of other people having fun, because in my experience it usually leads to noise and criminal damage. But, I’m also suspicious in my own case because I think partying is about being mindless – I don’t see how you can be both mindless and moral.”

You can listen to the full debate HERE.


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