Friday, October 04, 2002

One point about libertarianism to be looked at later:

Is there ever something wrong with forcing someone to do his duty? Is there always something wrong with it? Clearly the answer to the latter question is no. It's not wrong to force someone to fulfill his contracts, for example. Is it wrong to force someone to go take his aged parents a hot meal once a week? Is it wrong for the state to do that? Yes. Because it's too intrusive? Or because the state is likely to botch the job? The latter. There is nothing wrong with a perfectly wise and good entity applying pressure to slackers who are lax in their duty. The state is too far from wise and good, however, and shouldn't be trusted with certain intrusions into personal affiars.

Unless the matters are serious. The state should be entrusted with entering your home if there is good reason to believe that you've kidnapped someone. The state should be entrusted with forcing everyone to pay his charity duty: tax for welfare support. That's a serious enough matter, too. On the other hand, if it can be shown that the state is bad at providing welfare support, while private charities are good at it, then welfare should not be a state matter.

Moral Relativism II

It is permissible for a society of people to live as they prefer, and to treat each other as they prefer to treat each other, as long as this doesn't affect people in other societies. But clearly, different societies will have different preferences for how their members are to treat each other. Therefore, some degree of cultural relativism is true.

Human nature is a constraint, however. Consistency and conformity to the facts relavent to the moral values of the society are also important. We'll see that this means that extreme cultural relativism is therefore false. Only moderate cultural relativism is true. Castrating little girls is universally wrong, but there are other morals which may be culturally relative. These are topics for future installments in our series on moral relativism.