For them, one can no more choose one’s sense of obligation to a group, or the lack of it, than one can choose one’s personality.

The Moral Foundation of Politics by Ian Shapiro

I don't understand the connection between no more and than. What does no more choosing something than something means? Or am I getting this sentence wrong? Can please someone explain this sentence to me?

1 Answer 1


A. Can one choose one's sense of obligation to a group?

B. Can one choose one's personality?

The author thinks one can not choose one's personality, and claims that choosing one's obligation to a group is not possible either.

If B is impossible, and
A is no more possible than B
then A is also impossible.

A simpler example might clarify things:

I would no more buy designer shoes than throw my money away.

There is a variant of this structure, using "sooner":
I would no sooner argue with him than I would bark at my dog.

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