Re: morality

Peter C. McCluskey (
Sun, 29 Mar 1998 09:17:59 -0800 ("Mark D. Fulwiler") writes:
>It's exhilerating to read them. They didn't make utilitarian arguments
>against slavery, but they did have some effect on public opinion. Would
>they have done better with an economic analysis of slavery which would
>have shown that it made the country as a whole and the slaves, but not
>the individual slaveholders, economically worse off?

Not with a primarily economic argument. But an emphasis on how the
problems with catching runaway slaves motivated the slaveholders to
erode the right to a fair trial which everyone else valued would
probably have done less to create a bloody war than the absolutist
rhetoric they actually used.

>Unfortunately, however, individuals can and do maximize their happiness
>by coercion. That's the problem. I could have a grand old time stealing
>$50 million from Bill Gates (if I didn't get caught and had no
>conscience) and he'd probably barely miss the money. (He's not even
>trying to spend all his money when he's alive anyway.)

That clearly argues for a rule that discourages theft, but does it
argue for a religious type rule, or does it argue for a belief more
like "theft penalizes everyone by forcing them to spend more defending
against theft"? Probably depends on how smart the people you're trying
to sell the rule to are.

Peter McCluskey  |  | Has anyone used           | to comment on your web pages?