Re: Ashcroft Antics

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Wed Jan 30 2002 - 17:34:10 MST

Damien Broderick wrote:
> A pal notes:
> America's puritan attorney general, John Ashcroft (who apparently thinks
> dancing is against god) has had the bare breast on a statue of justice
> covered up for reasons of decency:
> I suppose it's a step forward from the Taliban; he hasn't had the statue
> blown up yet...

... I have to say I don't see the problem here.

John Ashcroft doesn't like the bare-breasted statue of Justice. He makes
the decision to have the statue covered up while he's Attorney General.
In what way is this bad? As far as I can tell, he's just optimizing his
personal space according to his preferences. Sure, it would be wrong if
Ashcroft tried to impose this preference on others, but the above article
gives no evidence that he has done so or plans to do so. I'm not saying
that he hasn't, mind you, just that this is a necessary condition before
we can justifiably wave a disapproving finger in his direction. Is it
more likely that a "puritan" will impose anti-pornography regulations than
a libertine? Yes, probably - but it would be wrong to ban puritans from
office on that principle; some of them may have the self-discipline
necessary to keep from indulging in the addictive behavior of "regulation"
as well.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:37 MST