Re[3]: POLI: Random democracy

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 18 Feb 1997 17:21:02 -0800 (PST)

Guru George writes:
>By your reasoning, to get rid of slavery one would have had to convince
>people that they would have liked their circumstances substantially
>better without owning slaves. Well, maybe you could have convinced them
>of this, maybe not. But isn't this missing something? Surely the claim
>that slavery is evil stands on its own, and likewise re. govt.?

What happened is that people were informed in more vivid detail about
the conditions of life of real slaves, which convinced them that they
didn't want to live in a state/nation/etc where those sort of things
happen to people. Concrete facts were more persuasive that abstract
arguments about what is or is not "evil" in principle.

>It just makes no sense at all to argue about how to make something evil
>more efficient, whether we've got it at present or not.

Here's a news flash: it may not be possible to eliminate all evils in
the world anytime soon. Even if war is evil, for example, it makes
sense to seek ways so wars kill fewer people when the happen.

Robin D. Hanson