Re: Ethics and Politics

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*
Tue, 16 Sep 1997 18:59:53 -0700

Dan says:

>Unfortunately, I do not consider myself qualified to defend these claims
>sufficiently. Instead, I will allow the great thinkers to defend their own

John Stuart Mill never (to my knowledge) called himself a Libertarian. The
term was used exclusively in a theological context until sometime in the
mid-to-late nineteenth century.

We can't go ask Mill whether he'd have agreed with, say, Harry Browne as a
Presidential candidate.

I have, for several years now, been developing a personal philosophy that
has some parallels with Libertarianism, without being an "ism". My working
utility function has as its goal the maximization of some sort of product
of two characterological adjectives, rather than one.

There are people who claim to be Libertarians who disagree about some
fundamentals, such as the Non-Aggression Principle. Which of them are the
_true_ Libertarians? Both? All? How can the ones who claim the NAP is the
defining characteristic of L-ism be as right as the ones who disagree with
that tenet? What about those who claim that refusal to trade constitutes

>Read them, if you haven't already. And if you STILL want to argue moral
>philosophy, then please provide a point by point demonstration as to why
>these political philosophers are wrong.

"Wrong"? I intend to work on what they left out. I don't have time to work
on "Why they are wrong", any more than any other good
experimentalist-theoretician. I am working on "What did they miss?" and
"What did they acknowledge as toughies?". If other people think I'm making
them wrong, that's their perception. I'll argue _my_ moral philosophy, when
it suits, on _my_ time. Listen or not. :)

One word of advice: if you stand behind a wall of great thinkers, it
decreases your chance of becoming a good one yourself.

Michael Butler
Center for Compassion & Liberty

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