"Suppose the socially desirable outcome is not to have houses built in a particular flood plain but, given that they are there, to take certain costly flood-control measures. If the government’s policy were not to build the dams and levees needed for flood protection and agents knew this was the case, even if houses were built there, rational agents would not live in the flood plains. But the rational agent knows that, if he and others build houses there, the government will take the necessary flood-control measures. Consequently, in the absence of a law prohibiting the construction of houses in the flood plain, houses are built there, and the army corps of engineers subsequently builds the dams and levees."

— Edward Prescott and Finn Kydland, “Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans”

"Would we accept ‘if you don’t want to get shot, just do what the EPA regulator tells you’? Would we yield to ‘if you don’t want your kid tased, do what the Deputy Superintendent of Education tells you’? Would we accept ‘if you don’t want to get tear gassed, just do what your Congressman tells you’? No. Our culture of individualism and liberty would not permit it. Yet somehow, through generations of law-and-order rhetoric and near-deification of law enforcement, we have convinced ourselves that cops are different, and that it is perfectly acceptable for them to be able to order us about, at their discretion, on pain of violence.

It’s not acceptable. It is servile and grotesque."

Sunil Dutta Tells It Like It Is About American Policing | Popehat (via brutereason)

(via michaelblume)

A different perspective

raginrayguns:

eccentric-opinion:

Not exactly. People have a certain association/feeling/qualia associated with something they classify as right or wrong, but they don’t have a sense that naturally identifies something as right or wrong. People have moral intuitions that have various origins (biology, environment, personality quirks, etc), but these intuitions don’t actually identify whether something is moral or not, different people’s intuitions can vary wildly, and even one person’s intuitions can be inconsistent with each other. People can intuitively respond to an act with a feeling of “That’s morally right” or “That’s morally wrong”, but that doesn’t actually identify whether it’s morally right or wrong.

ehh but that sounds to me like the existence of a sense, and of illusions that trick the sense

I don’t think it’s a sense. It seems similar to something like mathematics - there’s no mathematical sense, but there are still mathematical intuitions and the feeling that something should work a certain way.

(Source: charliedermot)

A different perspective

charliedermot:

As far as I can tell, most people have the natural ability to identify certain things as either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.

Not exactly. People have a certain association/feeling/qualia associated with something they classify as right or wrong, but they don’t have a sense that naturally identifies something as right or wrong. People have moral intuitions that have various origins (biology, environment, personality quirks, etc), but these intuitions don’t actually identify whether something is moral or not, different people’s intuitions can vary wildly, and even one person’s intuitions can be inconsistent with each other. People can intuitively respond to an act with a feeling of “That’s morally right” or “That’s morally wrong”, but that doesn’t actually identify whether it’s morally right or wrong.

Double standards

charliedermot:

It does not seem consistent then.. They are saying something is wrong, and they then continue to fund the activities they condemn. Maybe “hypocritical” was the wrong choice of word. Thank you.

It’s not inconsistent, either. It’s similar to using the welfare state while calling for its abolition - you’d rather it didn’t exist, but as long as it exists, you might as well make use of it. Or, to put it generally, such a person’s preferences are: X doesn’t exist > X exists and I take advantage of it > X exists and I don’t take advantage of it. There’s nothing inconsistent about having preferences like that.

Double standards

charliedermot:

Do people know and just ignore their hypocrisy when they condemn child labour and human rights abuse in mines, sweatshops and ‘third-world countries’ in general yet still enjoy the use of their mobile phones and new clothes? Or are they actually oblivious? I think not.

Calling for the abolition of X while taking advantage of X while it exists isn’t hypocritical.

Is the veil of ignorance a remotely plausible meta-norm?

Not really. Sure, if you were ignorant of a bunch of obvious facts, you would probably want very different things, leading you to make very different choices. But so what? It is hard to see why wants and actions grounded on the world as it is are morally inferior to wants and actions grounded on the world as it is not. In fact, the opposite is true. “You should keep the agreements you actually made” has some moral force. “You should keep the agreements you never made, but would have made if you were ignorant of obvious facts about yourself” has none.

You could reply, “Wants and actions grounded on morally objectionable circumstances are morally inferior to wants and actions not grounded on morally objectionable circumstances.” Fair enough. But then you have to identify “morally objectionable circumstances” before you can apply the veil of ignorance, leaving it useless as a meta-norm for breaking prior moral deadlocks. If an egalitarian considers inequality a morally objectionable circumstance, and a libertarian considers forced equality a morally objectionable circumstance, no veil will bridge their worldviews.

- Bryan Caplan

"

Do you know what I think of when someone asks for solidarity? I think of cops. Nobody shows more solidarity than cops. You could have a cop on video beating the crap out of someone, with a dozen of his fellow cops standing there watching, and not a one will cross that blue line to do what is right…

Solidarity is about group cohesion, which means you have to see value in group belonging. And I don’t. I’ve never wanted to belong to a group. All too often, group belonging means conformity. It’s why the Amish all dress the same. It’s why every kid in middle school has to run out and buy the same pair of jeans as their friends…

If you want me to do something or support something, do not appeal to me on the basis of group identity. Appeal to me on principle. Appeal to a real human relationship that we have. If I think your cause is just, I’ll be there…

If you just want solidarity, join the mob or the white nationalists or the police force.

"

Melanie Pinkert

walpurgisnacht-nightly said: What do you think people should do when they know they are unsophisticated, but simply don't have the motivation to increase their knowledge of the world all that much.

ordnungsokonomik:

I often see those pictures that have “If you know who [this person is], but don’t know who [these people are] you’re what’s wrong with this world.” I couldn’t disagree more. Apolitical know-nothings are completely harmless. The world is most harmed by “activist” busybodies who think they know lots but don’t.

Tags: discourse

transgeometer:

eccentric-opinion:

ozymandias271:

NEW RULE: no one is allowed to complain about “ineffective altruism” ever again unless they are donating at least a quarter of their income to charity

I will demand receipts

You can criticize people for being bad at accomplishing their goals without sharing those same goals.

In that case, imo, the complaint would be about *hypocrisy* not about *ineffective altruism*.

Hypocrisy is the claim of having standards that one doesn’t actually have, or engaging in a behavior for which one criticizes others. While that’s related, the general complaint here is about inconsistency, and the specific complaint is about ineffectiveness in charitable giving. If the reason you donate to charity is to improve people’s well-being (which is a common motivation), it is inconsistent to not try to donate as effectively as possible.

ozymandias271:

NEW RULE: no one is allowed to complain about “ineffective altruism” ever again unless they are donating at least a quarter of their income to charity

I will demand receipts

You can criticize people for being bad at accomplishing their goals without sharing those same goals.

Here’s Adam Ozimek:

Guest-posting at The Dish, Elizabeth Nolan Brown has an interesting piece up discussing prostitution and pornography that is worth ruminating on. She writes:

Last night, a close friend told me he had been reading my posts about decriminalizing sex work. “I’m sympathetic,” he said, “and I want to agree with you. But I just keep thinking, ‘what if it were my daughter?’ That’s, like, every father’s worst nightmare.”

Brown goes on to rebut her friend by pointing out that if your daughter did become a prostitute, you’d want it to be legal because that makes it safer. While she is right about that, I think it gives her friend’s argument too much credence. The more important thing her friend is missing is this: this is a country of free people, not your children.

Whether you’d want your kid to do something is a terrible, selfish, and self-centered way to think about policy.

Ozimek also links to Damon Linker:

There’s just one complication to this happy story: no one, or almost no one, actually believes it. People may say they see nothing wrong with or even admire Weeks’ decision to become a porn actress, but it isn’t unambiguously true. And our ease of self-deception on the matter tells us something important about the superficiality of the moral libertarianism sweeping the nation.

How do I know that nearly everyone who claims moral indifference or admiration for Weeks is engaging in self-deception? Because I conducted a little thought experiment. I urge you to try it. Ask yourself how you would feel if Weeks — porn star Belle Knox — was your daughter.

I submit that virtually every honest person — those with children of their own, as well as those who merely possess a functional moral imagination — will admit to being appalled at the thought.

Linker also has this to say:

None of this should be taken to mean that I favor banning porn or making it illegal to work in the industry that produces it. In the end, I’m a libertarian, too.

I can think of four ways of looking at the daughter test.  It will help to first consider a couple hypotheticals.  Say you and your family go back in a time machine to the late 1800s, but still have your modern 21st century attitudes toward behavior.  How would you feel about your daughter walking along the beach in a bikini? During the Victorian era that sort of behavior would be viewed as a disgrace, and your daughter would no longer be accepted in respectable society.

Also consider how you’d feel if your daughter dropped out of high school and spent her adult life cleaning toilets at Penn Station.

Now let’s form some categories:

1.  One might regard certain behavior as immoral, and favor making it illegal.  You wouldn’t want your daughter doing that.  Ms. Brown’s friend has that view of prostitution.

2.  You might believe certain behavior is immoral, but also believe it should not be illegal.  You wouldn’t want your daughter doing that.  Mr. Linker has that view of porn.

3.  You might believe certain behavior is not immoral, but wouldn’t want your daughter doing it because she would be shunned by polite society.  Others view it as immoral.  That’s my hypothetical of the 21st century father transferred into the Victorian era.

4.  You might regard certain behavior as perfectly moral and even necessary, but wouldn’t want your daughter doing that because society views the job as rather dirty, degrading and low class. That’s my example of cleaning toilets.

So I can think of at least 4 cases where someone might feel really upset to find out their daughter ended up in a certain career, each having very different implications.  In other words, I’m not a fan of the daughter test.  That’s not to say the test doesn’t occasionally reveal hypocrisy on the part of people, especially men, and especially about sex.  It does.  But it’s very hard to draw any implications from these intuitions, especially if you are a moral realist (which I am not.)  Indeed the Victorian era raises some uncomfortable issues for moral realists.

PS.  If you insist on asking parents what they would think of their children doing something, then FOR GOD SAKE DON’T ASK AMERICAN PARENTS.  Reason just ran this story:

A whopping 68 percent of Americans think there should be a law that prohibits kids 9 and under from playing at the park unsupervised, despite the fact that most of them no doubt grew up doing just that.

What’s more: 43 percent feel the same way about 12-year-olds. They would like to criminalize all pre-teenagers playing outside on their own (and, I guess, arrest their no-good parents).

Those are the results of a Reason/Rupe poll confirming that we have not only lost all confidence in our kids and our communities—we have lost all touch with reality.

“I doubt there has ever been a human culture, anywhere, anytime, that underestimates children’s abilities more than we North Americans do today,” says Boston College psychology professor emeritus Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn, a book that advocates for more unsupervised play, not less.

I’ve talked to both European and Asian parents about this, and both seem to think American parents are utterly insane in their attitudes toward leaving children unattended.  Do we really want to rely on the moral intuitions of crazy people?

(Source: hongkongstockexchange)

"I personally believe in Jesus Christ as my lord and savior, but I’m also a killer… I’ve killed a lot. And if I need to, I’ll kill a whole bunch more. If you don’t want to get killed, don’t show up in front of me. I have no problems with it. God did not raise me to be a coward… I’m into diversity - I kill everybody. I don’t care."

St. Louis police officer Dan Page

Tags: police state

"The trick to learning how to do things on Linux is to go on a Linux forum and claim what you want can’t be done."

Reddit commenter

Tags: Linux

charliedermot:

Okay, that is interesting. What is the name of the position that states what you should and should not is is based on your goals?

I was under the impression that a moral nihilist simply rejected the idea that things such as thoughts/actions or intentions could be considered ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ By that definition would the person that states that “if you want to live you should eat” be a moral nihilist?

I don’t know if there’s a term for this exact position, though moral internalism is closely related to it. Depending on the specifics of what one’s goals should be (if one were consistent), it could be ethical egoism.

Moral nihilists reject that actions or intentions can be “right” or “wrong”, but they take too restrictive of a view of what “right” and “wrong” can mean. Rightness is not an ontologically basic property - you won’t find right actions to be tagged with little XML tags labeled “right”. But if this is all that nihilism is, then a great number of people who subscribe to normative ethical theories would be classified as nihilists, which seems odd. Rather, I take the view that rightness is a property that supervenes on and is constituted by more basic properties - properties that would be difficult for the nihilist to refute.

Edit: Having thought about this some more, this position is moral constructivism.