June 27th, 2005

eyes black and white

Moral bankruptcy

A random correspondant argues against picking the least of two evils. Quote: you don't have to align yourself toward fighting the worst evil to be morally correct. if you're fighting evil you're fine Yeah sure. So you can help the greater evil prevail and feel morally justified. And he even acquiesces to this conclusion. That's moral bankruptcy. And I'm sorry to tell that this and the rest of his discourse sounded terribly like LRC to me: the very libertarian economists who should know better are not exempt from this failing.

Morality is about making choices between available opportunities; it is the very same as the Human Action of austrian economists. Thus, there is no good but the best available choice. Comparing outcomes to a pipe dream utopia, finding none to be good, calling everything evil, and then feeling justified in doing anything whatsoever, because whatever you do, you can construe one evil that you're fighting -- that's but a rationalization for abandoning any and all sense of morality. It's a trick to evade the necessity of examining moral options actually available in the context of the real world, instead of mere general abstract approximations thereof that are wantonly oblivious of the specific constraints of reality.

I repeat, morality is about making choices and directing behaviour in a world of actual choices and real phenomena. Anything that denies the nature of morality is anti-moral. A good choice is one that leads to a better world, as compared to other available choices. A bad choice is one that leads to a worse world, as compared to other available choices. This is why morality is based on economic reasoning, and why people who deny that morality is rooted in actual choices are doing accounting fallacies.