I think that both consequentialist and axiomatic analyses should be performed on any proposal. If the consequentialist outcome claims a positive and axiomatic analysis claims a negative, then don't do it. If the consequentialist claims a negative and the axiomatic analyses claims a positive, then obviously don't do it. This is the translation of two simple rules that have been justified by experience:
One last word remains, about the difference between "negative" and
"positive". People continuing to be poor is not a negative, especially
if there's no consequentially valid way to make them rich. People becoming poorer is a negative. Violating property rights is an axiomatic negative.
Libertarianism has the tremendous advantage that axiomatic analyses can produce negative or neutral results but not positive results, since people have violable freedoms but not fulfilable entitlements. Libertarians thus don't need to worry about so much about rule B. This is why libertarianism works so well compared to most other systems.
-- email@example.com Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://pobox.com/~sentience/AI_design.temp.html http://pobox.com/~sentience/sing_analysis.html Disclaimer: Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you everything I think I know.