The Metaphysics of Discrimination

"Discrimination" or treating different people seemingly, but not really, arbitrarily is part and parcel of our daily lives. The most obvious example of discrimination is taking interests of family members over the interests of strangers. One helps his grandmother with her shopping but not other old ladies, and everyone correctly thinks this is reasonable. The explanation why is that no man is by natural law required to love other people; only not to hate them and thereby to abstain from unjustly harming them. Bestowal of benefits on strangers is supererogatory, i.e., beyond the call of natural duty. Duties to family members are more rigorous than duties to fellow men in general, however.

So then, suppose, given 1) that nations and races are also very extended families, both biologically and in terms of natural sentiments and 2) that morally better people are superior companions, Smith thinks that white people are closer to him than blacks, or straight people closer than gays. Does it mean that he hates blacks? Or that he hates gays? Obviously not. It does not even mean that he fails to love either group. All that is entailed by his attitudes is that he loves whites somewhat more than blacks, and straights somewhat more than gays, and in giving their preferences more weight, serves them, if he is a businessman, with more readiness than other customers.

Blacks and gays have confused the issue utterly by calling people who "discriminate against" them racists and homophobes. But once again, the vast majority of people who discriminate in an un-PC way do not hate blacks or gays. They may well consider them wonderful people, just slightly less wonderful than whites and straights. Just as one shows his uncle greater affections than a stranger, or his cat, than a stranger's cat, so he shows an arbitrary white person more hospitality than an arbitrary black person.

And there is not one thing disgraceful about that.

We can easily see that anti-discriminationists are extended family wreckers, love wreckers, as opposed to love-builders they pretend to be.

The Economics of Anti-Discrimination Laws

For our purposes, we'll use two allegedly hostile to each other groups: heteros and homos.

On the market, there will be 3 classes of businesses:

  1. those that want to deal solely with heteros,
  2. those that want to deal solely with homos, and
  3. those eager to deal with anyone irrespective of their sexual orientation.

The total is t) = a) + b) + c).

Now in every industry, let's use Jeff Tucker's example of AirBnB, there will be at any given moment generally successful entrepreneurs, i.e., those who for the time being are making profits; failures or those who are losing money; and what economists call marginal entrepreneurs, those who are just barely surviving and breaking even.

Marginal entrepreneurs are extremely sensitive to variations in market data; they have no "cushion" to soften any blows from misfortune in uncertain future.

Such entrepreneurs will be found in all 3 of our classes.

Now it is plausible that businessmen who insist on dealing exclusively with heteros or homos are doing so for a reason. They are sacrificing monetary revenues from those segments of the population whom they are purposely refusing to serve, because doing so yields to them some psychic profit. They would rather lose some money than compromise their principles or ideological commitments or "core values."

Let's now introduce anti-discrimination laws into the picture. No AirBnB apartment owner is permitted to ask a potential customer about his sexual orientation. Immediately, businessmen of types a) and b) are undone. Now it's quite possible that many of them will still remain in business. They'll swallow their pride, forget their loyalties, and grudgingly decide to do business with all people, thus transmogrifying into class c). The state will dissipate their psychic profits, and they may gain perhaps some smaller monetary profits. Still, the combined loss will not be enough to drive them out of business; despite the harm to them from the Discrimination Prohibition, they will carry on.

Let those choosing to keep producing be called a*) and b*).

But what of the marginal entrepreneurs in a) and b)? Those are already on edge. The thought "Maybe I should quit" already occurs to them often. The Prohibition, by obliterating their pleasure from choosing their customers as they see fit, will change their outlook from "marginal but still slightly profitable" to "now unprofitable." These marginal entrepreneurs will shut down operations and leave the market.

Hence, a*) < a), and b*) < b).

As a result, the supply of AirBnB apartments will decline, pushing prices higher. The heteros will lose through the diminution of businesses of class a), and the homos will lose through the diminution of businesses of class b). The new universal class t') = a*) + b*) + c) will be smaller than t) before the commencement of the Prohibition. Perhaps, homos expect that t') will be greater than b) + c), such that the influx of a*) will more than compensate for b) - b*). If so, then they fail to take into account the demand for t') apartments. Before, heteros were served by a) + c), and homos, by b) + c). Now both groups are competing for the goods in the now fully common pool t'). As a result, the Discrimination Prohibition will reduce economic efficiency by diverting the conduct of entrepreneurs from satisfying the most urgent needs of all kinds of consumers, both straight and gay.

It is impossible to say a priori how big the margin will be; that is, precisely how many existing firms will be driven out of business and how many new firms will be unstarted, but rest assured, in a big world, there will be some and can be plenty.

Who then benefits? It seems no one. My feeling is that gay activists understand this, but, blinded by their hatred for non-gays, are willing themselves to suffer if it means that straight people suffer, as well. I wish I were mistaken about this.

The Character of Hardened Criminals

From the foregoing we can deduce the following about stone-cold prison inmates.

1. As temperamental Monsters, they are desperate and cannot be deterred by most threats of physical punishment. If they could, in the final analysis, they wouldn't be in jail!

2. Their personalities are exceedingly simple, not in the sense of "wise as serpents and simple as doves," nor in the the sense of possessing integrity through which even complex personalities can be well-unified and free from inner conflict or contradiction, but simply primitive, savage, boring.

The trivial dullness of their souls would make them uninteresting guests at cocktail parties, but it also protects them from any guilt they might otherwise feel.

3. They are metaphysically crazy, in the sense that they have become convinced that society, i.e., other people, are their enemies, whom they wholeheartedly hate, to be fought (again, desperately) and hurt and pushed around at every opportunity.

The obvious truth that without the society surrounding them they would not only be destitute but simply would not exist escapes them, making them irrational if not insane.

All three barriers standing between civilized existence and a life of destruction have failed for such people, and as a result, they are condemned.

Re: City Without an Abortion Clinic

Oh, so it's not Ok with left-liberals to regulate abortion clinics out of existence!

Leftists become quite the economists when their favorite freedoms are under attack.

How inconsistent with their love of economic red tape everywhere else.

Re: 1984

There is something singularly unwholesome to the idea that one can make a person love him by torturing him.

Why Be Just, 2

We have seen that regarding habits of natural law, externalism is true. That means that judgments of natural justice between men do not contain as part of them a motivation to act morally.

The external sources of motivation are three in number: 1a) threat of punishment, 2a) moral instruction, and 3a) charity. An unjust act is a sin, and the consequences of sin are also threefold: 1b) debt of punishment, 2b) stain on the soul, and 3b) corruption of nature.

It is asked, as per the Republic, what happens if a person is unjust but is able to convince everyone of his robust justice? Call such people T-people and their wicked deeds, T-crimes.

In such a case, say, when a person is a Mafioso but has everyone believing that he leads a respectable bourgeois life, he does avoid 1) punishment. One thing to notice here is that perpetrating this sort of deception is extremely hard for private persons; such a thing happens as a matter of course only in politics, wherein a mass murderer can be given a Nobel peace prize. Our Mafioso must always be on his guard, keeping his web of lies plausible. Moreover, society is not without means of defense: for example, since investigating crimes and administering justice are expensive, we can increase punishments for people who try to conceal their misconduct, thereby deterring precisely T-crimes.

Further, an unjust man does not normally bear the hatred of only society for him; he is reviled by himself and by God. A non-psychopath would tend to feel guilt for his crimes. But guilt entails a rejection of the pleasures allegedly secured by a criminal act. The profit of wrongdoing is annihilated within a person tormented by his conscience.

As a result, in order to be usefully unjust, a T-person must in addition suffer 2) no internal recrimination. But here's the thing: a person who feels no guilt cannot build his own personality. By freeing himself from the restraint of moral inconsistency in interpersonal affairs, he by that very fact loses a crucial tool of self-making, of judging what's going on intrapersonally, between the trinity within. Again, it must be exceedingly difficult if not impossible to feel no compunction at murder yet feel bad at a breach of modesty or temperance or some other self-regarding virtue.

In order to overcome his guilty feelings, one would have to feel (or even come to feel by slowly destroying his moral virtue) perverse pleasure in evil, but this only stains his soul still more, making him a filthy, unclean, disgusting individual on the whole, a degenerate.

That alone should give a T-person cause for concern.

Finally, it is man's inner nature to love or at least not hate other people, both neighbor and mankind (and particular things in between). For a man who is unjust, regardless of how cleverly he hides it, his nature is corrupt, as he 3) hates neighbor in a Small Society and mankind in the Large Society. Recall that for Crusoe to aggress against Friday in SS is immediately irrational. If Crusoe nevertheless goes through with such an evil, then he reveals by his actions that he hates Friday more than he loves himself. Which is crazy. Similarly in LS: unjust actions reveal his hatred for society as a whole. The Mafioso is a monster, inhuman, and why should God feel any compassion for such a thing?

If a person is under the delusion that his criminal acts are in fact acts of charity, then he can be safely judged as insane and by that very fact still has a corrupted nature.

If the dubious profit of T-crimes outweighs for a person the extra cost of losing one's humanity, then I have no other argument to persuade him to be just.

Thus, the fact that man naturally finds society to be extremely important for his own ends and therefore seeks not just not to harm it but in fact to strengthen it by becoming useful to society in his own turn is the first line of defense against criminal activity.

One's self-love and indivisibility of virtue is the second line.

And when all else fails, the threat of punishment deters the most vicious of individuals.

We can see that a just man has 3 distinct advantages over an unjust man.

  1. The former is free from fear of being found out and punished (thus having integrity of the body);
  2. he is free from guilt which lets him concentrate on his self-regarding virtues (thereby possessing a pure will);
  3. and he lives in harmony with his fellow men, allowing the theological virtues to come forth, such as the pleasures of fellowship of friends (in so doing exhibiting clarity of the intellect).

Judgement As Commendation?

R.M. Hare insists that to say "That is a good book" is to commend that book. (Theories of Ethics, 74) What does commend mean? As per, to praise in a serious and often public way, to mention with approbation, in short, to extol the virtues of. In other words, to commend X means to declare X good to whom it may concern.

Not only is this so-called definition circular and unhelpful; it's not even sensible, for I may call a thing good in the privacy of my own mind and nether commend it publicly nor recommend it to anyone (as in: "Go thou and use this thing.").

Lastly, by commending a book, I often intend to glorify not it but its author; in general, by commending a thing made I praise its maker. The book's goodness is still a means to an end, such as the means of being entertaining to the end of fun, or being well-researched to edification of the reader. "Commendation" falls into my scheme.

Good: Some Loose Ends

"Good" is predicated of things in judgment of either their final cause or formal cause.

1. For the former, good means suitable for a purpose, either actual or hypothetical, either human or even animal, i.e., as a means to an end.

Thus, a knife is good if it cuts well. Its goodness is real, because the knife retains the capacity to cut well even if no one is cutting or intending to cut anything at the moment. And its goodness is objective, because by calling the knife good we announce our judgment that it is a serviceable technology for anyone, whoever he may be.

A burglar is good as in skillful; still, it means that if one wanted to earn a living by stealing, then one would be well-advised to hire this burglar or imitate his qualities; again, a means to an end, this time, indeed hopefully, a hypothetical one.

2. Beauty is associated with the formal cause.

As a synonym to beautiful, "good" is less than perfect, no pun intended; for example, goodness is objective real, and beauty is subjective real, so they differ in meaning. If you want to call a painting, say, beautiful, say just that and not "good."

Ethical Naturalism or Non-Naturalism?

Can ethical statements be understood in terms of some natural qualities or are they non-natural and perceived by some intuition or moral sense?

This problem, raised first by G.E. Moore, suffers from vagueness of the term "natural." What is natural? For Moore, that meant whatever is "the subject matter of the natural sciences and also of psychology." Miller rephrases that as "either causal or detectable by the senses." To me, these attempts at a definition seem arbitrary.

It's far better to recast the problem by considering whether an "ought" can be reduced to an "is." Remember the 4 varieties of good; let's repost them as:

1) X is a physical good = X is loved and X ought to be.
2) X is a metaphysical good = X is and X ought to be loved.

Thus, for 1),

1a) Absence of physical good = X is loved but not chosen.
1b) Indifference = X is neither loved nor hated.
1c) Evil = X is hated (and correspondingly ought not to be).

Let's now define the "is" as any true description of the actual world as it is now or was in the past. The following are part of the is:

  • Socrates was a philosopher.
  • My cat is asleep as I am writing this.
  • I am thinking of a possible world.

Consider the last one of these. That I am thinking of a possible world is part of the is, but the possible world itself of which I am thinking is not part of it.

Now going back to 1), what does it mean that X ought to be? It means that X was chosen out of several alternatives. The essence of a process of choice is precisely contemplating and weighing possible worlds. I think of the world as it is now and try to imagine how it can be changed to my benefit and the costs of each such change. The possibility that seems to yield the highest profit wins, ought to be, and becomes a physical good. All the options set aside are still loved but, since I make them such that they ought not to be (by rejecting them in favor of the thing chosen), are not physical goods.

Since creation of a physical good involves working with possible worlds, and since possible worlds are not part of the is, physical good cannot be described in terms of the is, and so we must be non-naturalists regarding it.

For 2), we have:

2a) Absence of metaphysical good = X is not.
2b) Indifference = X nether ought to be loved nor ought not to be loved.
2c) Evil = X ought to be hated.

It may seems that all things ought to be loved. Well, not when they are in conflict. From my book:

Consider Socrates again, only this time, he is infected with deadly bacteria. Now both Socrates and bacteria have more-or-less objective essences and therefore, a modicum of metaphysical goodness, having a claim on our love (or at least, regard) for them. As St. Thomas would say, everything that exists is good and good to the extent that it exists. Two points, however, make this situation interesting. First, Socrates and the bacteria are natural enemies. Second, Socrates' nature is far more perfect than the nature of the bacteria. ...

In other words, that Socrates is metaphysically better than bacteria is true ad sapientes or self-evidently from "wisdom." But wherein there is a conflict of interest such as postulated here, the more perfect wins over the less perfect, and so, we are permitted to will good to Socrates in desiring him to recover and to will evil to the bacteria in designing for it a speedy death. (SAtK, I, 34)

It may well happen that X may exist and ought to be loved, but is not loved. That's a problem, a sin, if you will. One ought to correct himself and come to love X. As with physical goods we were dealing with possibilities - timeless - thoughts, so with metaphysical goods, we are faced with potentialities - future - feelings. The task is to grow in love for those things that ought to be loved. If you are indeed commanded to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself," but fall short of this ideal, then God and neighbor are metaphysical goods and demand love from you.

This love must be carefully nurtured and elicited from the is and will come to be, if at all, in the future. An oak tree is an actualized acorn. For charity, God builds a flame from a tiny spark. But as of now, the future does not exist and so again is no part of the is. It seems like for metaphysical goods, too, we must be non-naturalists.

Since moral good

3) X is a moral good = X ought to be and X ought to be loved,

combines possibilities and potentialities, its analysis is straightforward.

There is an irony here. Physical and metaphysical goods are not reducible to the is, but the corresponding evils and wrongs are! The world is chock-full of, saturated with evil. I proved that "murder is wrong" in earlier posts by appealing solely to natural law. Physical evil is any pain or suffering that would "naturally" persist sans human action to alter the course of events and remedy this evil. Moral evil adds to harm an injustice which I cash out as disrespect for the nature of things, especially human nature, also a full aspect of the is.

Thus, "murder is wrong" is a proposition of natural law, but "a sandwich is good" is beyond nature.

We cannot therefore say simply that we are ethical naturalists or non-naturalists. We are naturalists for moral wrongs and evil, and non-naturalists for moral good.

Barbarization of America

The people suspect in their hearts that their government's foreign policy is wrong but, unwilling to accept guilt for their aiding and abetting the US state (such as by paying taxes to it), shut their ears and chant ever more shrill nationalistic bullshit.

Or maybe the unreal injustices of which Americans are constantly being accused, such as "discrimination" against various Victim Groups, have made them unresponsive to genuine problems.

I mean, the world is upside down when attacking and murdering hundreds (or millions depending on Obama's mood) of foreigners is Ok, but a business choosing its clients or even so much as discussing demographics internally is beyond the pale.

Of Narrow Happiness

We have seen that regarding the inconsistent <cognitivism, internalism, Humean theory of motivation>, for nature we reject internalism; and for virtue, Humean theory of motivation.

It is now clear that for narrow happiness, we need to do away with cognitivism, because judgments of physical good do not express independently intelligible objective beliefs but rather are fully derivative from one's feelings. That thing is good which I love / enjoy and which I choose / ought to be. "Happiness emotivism" is entirely true.

Virtue Internalism

Unlike natural law, for virtues, we must embrace internalism but drop the Humean theory of motivation.

For engendering a virtue in one's soul entails doing duties. By their very essence, one performs self-regarding duties in order to put out hollow desires and inflame unfelt desires. (A desire is hollow, if one is ashamed of it and wants to get rid of it by not acting on it or putting it out of his mind; and a desire is unfelt when on the contrary one aims to come to feel it by acting as if it existed.) As a result, duties are always unpleasant to do. If there is a desire animating soul-making, it's a 2nd-order desire, or a desire to begin or stop desiring something. Yet the Humean theory of motivation admits only regular 1st-order desires.

Thus, to create a virtuous habit, one must persist in doing a duty for a prolonged period of time not just "whether he likes it or not" but precisely when he straightforwardly does not like it. That "chastity is right" is true entails an effort slowly to gain self-control over the period of perhaps years, however painful that might be.

If one is uninterested in chastity, then by that very fact he does not believe that it is right. There is in the final analysis no such thing as hypocrisy, wherein one genuinely believes that "X is a virtue" yet feels no interest in pursuing it.

We can see how "human actions" in the narrow happiness trinity, especially executions of plans, differ from "human duties" in the virtue trinity. As a result, internalism stays, and the motivation to satisfy one's desires goes away, since it is precisely desires themselves that are evaluated as good or bad and are created or destroyed in one's heart.

Guides to Morality, 2

1. The Drug Prohibition is a set of unjust laws, because it is not concerned with relations between humans. "Do not kill" says that two people will be in harmony, or that their relations will be justified, when neither tries to kill the other. But with drugs, there's just one person, the consumer, and a non-human substance, a "drug." What happens "between them" should be no concern of either Small-Society Law or Large-Society Law.

2. Mises argued that

all reasonable men are called upon to familiarize themselves with the teachings of economics. This is, in our age, the primary civic duty.

Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that economics cannot remain an esoteric branch of knowledge accessible only to small groups of scholars and specialists. Economics deals with society’s fundamental problems; it concerns everyone and belongs to all. It is the main and proper study of every citizen. (HA, 879)

I think this may be a tad too demanding. My own strategy is summed up in the motto "Morals for the masses; economics for the elites." Those capable of and in interested in grasping LL are welcome and even obligated to do just that; for the rest, the basics of SL suffice.

3. I am not saying that "murder is wrong" is not an objectively true proposition; I am saying rather that its truth is a reason, in a large society, not for the individual to abstain from murder, but for the lawmakers to outlaw murder.

I thereby, regarding natural law, retain cognitivism and the "Humean theory of motivation" but ditch internalism for externalism.

Guides to Morality

To reiterate, we are guided toward moral behavior in two ways: through the simple law of a small society (SL) via moral instruction, especially as children; and through the complex law of a large society (LL) especially via economic reasoning.

For example, here is Mises on the evolution of the latter:

What is commonly called the "industrial revolution" was an offspring of the ideological revolution brought about by the doctrines of the economists.

The economists exploded the old tenets:

  • that it is unfair and unjust to outdo a competitor by producing better and cheaper goods;
  • that it is iniquitous to deviate from the traditional methods of production;
  • that machines are an evil because they bring about unemployment;
  • that it is one of the tasks of civil government to prevent efficient businessmen from getting rich and to protect the less efficient against the competition of the more efficient;
  • that to restrict the freedom of entrepreneurs by government compulsion or by coercion on the part of other social powers is an appropriate means to promote a nation’s well-being. (HA, 8-9)

Clearly, even if prior to the industrial revolution, people were rightly taught that murder was wrong, and so they got their SL right, they failed to perceive LL right. Economists helped them do this, and with that, the modern age began.

Moral Motivation

The problem of moral motivation is the question "Why be moral? Why do the right thing?"

For natural law, regarding such motivation, we should be externalists. The desire not to kill is not part of the truth of the proposition "murder is wrong"; but rather to avoid punishment from the state in a large society, and direct self-interest in a small society.

In this sense and for this purpose, we are not even interested in the content of natural law; all we care about is doing the right thing, whatever it may be, in order not to get in trouble with the law or in order to benefit from cooperation. As long as we are "in the right," we are free. If natural law has been incorrectly deduced, then our efforts to adjust our conduct to the requirement of society will yield perverse results; but the true and rightly understood natural law and other-regarding virtues are not categorical.

The relationship between the nature and virtue trinities, and an aspect of metaphysical rationality is that it is counterproductive to engage in building a personality for yourself which will cause you to be put into prison. Sometimes a revolt against a false law can be justified, but any time this happens, it's a tragic situation.

For self-regarding virtues, things are very different. The relationship between virtue and narrow happiness is that if a person engages in a "guilty pleasure," then he is morally irrational. For guilt entails rejection of the pleasure. It's not the "rightness" of a duty that matters, but building up one's personality as envisioned. The right thing is whatever is conducive to such soul-making as the maker himself judges. Rightness and wrongness are fully derivative and abstract notions. For virtue, I care for my own self and the personality traits I am synthesizing within myself; but I do not abstain from temptations and such just so I feel no guilt; my purpose is to soul-make, to become someone I approve of, not avoid guilt.

For virtue and vice, sin and righteousness, we should be internalists. I want to burn the corruption out of my heart and mind, and inner peace, which includes absence of guilt, comes as an aftereffect of a character that has been successfully sculpted.

The Definition of Property

The difference between a small society and a large one can be put as follows: in a small society, any harm Crusoe does to Friday is also unjust; in a large society, there may be harms Smith inflicts on Jones without any injustice on Smith's part.

As a result, the philosopher's task is to find out which harms in a large society are and are not unjust, to separate harms that are unjust and therefore against natural law from harms that are permissible, because, for example, their overall effects promote society's good.

Property may then be defined as follows: a non-human object X is property of Smith =def Smith has a right to exclude others, if he at all can, from using or enjoying X, such that it would be unjust for them to disobey Smith's decrees regarding X.

Categoricity of Oughts, 3

Natural law is evaluated teleologically; actions are evaluated deontologically or how well they conform to law.

We have seen that murder is unjust, because a murderer uses a fellow man in an unnatural way. The direct incentive to respect another's nature that is so obvious in a small society is much less potent in a large one. The state punishes a particular criminal act in order to encourage human beings' proper use of each other in the most efficient way possible.

People's use of each other is efficient if on average or on the level of society as a whole, each person is gently guided into work in which he will be at his most productive.

An objection has been raised against this understanding by Rothbard:

Let us for example assume again... that the great majority of a society hate and revile redheads. Let us further assume that there are very few redheads in the society. This large majority then decides that it would like very much to murder all redheads.

Here they are; the murder of redheads is high on the value-scales of the great majority of the public; there are few redheads so that there will be little loss in production on the market.

How can Mises rebut this proposed policy either as a praxeologist or as a utilitarian liberal? I submit that he cannot do so. (EoL, 213)

The answer is that we can rebut this policy as rule utilitarians.

On the other hand, consider the case of witches. As C.S. Lewis perceptively notes,

But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did -- if we really thought that there were people going about who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbors or drive them mad or bring bad weather, surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did.

There is no difference of moral principle here: the difference is simply about matter of fact.

It may be a great advance in knowledge not to believe in witches: there is no moral advance in not executing them when you do not think they are there. You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house. (Mere Christianity, I, 2)

If, similarly, it were true that redheads brought bad luck to those around them or if red hair were a reliable sign of one's being a werewolf, then perhaps some response on the part of the thereby aggrieved majority would be justified.

Categoricity of Oughts, 2

Unless most individuals are just and injustice is mostly punished, a large society cannot be formed in the first place.

At its clearest, there are advantages to society when an individual is just and advantages to each individual when society punishes injustice according to law and encourages justice through various kinds of social pressure.

1. For example, just people spare society the cost of finding, prosecuting, and punishing them.

Further, it is extremely likely that an arbitrary just man will not be an ascetic living in "anchoritic reclusion"; so he's likely to be a productive person and contribute to society. On the other hand, a prisoner is a burden to society. Thus, Mises observes that "our contemporaries are driven by a fanatical zeal to get more amenities and by an unrestrained appetite to enjoy life." (HA, 318) If half the populace wanted to be monks and live on alms, regardless of their justice, society would be in trouble.

Now perhaps Smith who wants to be a monk would be more productive when enslaved by Jones, though much less productive if he decided instead to seek worldly riches. Still, Jones is not permitted to enslave Smith in order not to sow massive confusion among the populace. Since so few people in fact want to exit society, their case can be rolled into the general rule "do not interfere with another's preferences, unless he is being unjust."

Further, insofar as people love each other, punishing one directly hurts everybody in the communion of saints, so that pain is also eliminated. (Punishment inflicts harm but is not unjust as long as on the whole the benefits outweigh the costs.)

2. Society itself benefits from enforcing justice by gaining cohesion and the political inner peace.

3. Individuals benefits from society's efforts at law enforcement in a straightforward way: criminal acts that would otherwise disintegrate society and revert it from large to small are deterred, and disputes are resolved in a more-or-less predictable manner.

4. The last problem is perhaps the most interesting: does an individual himself benefit from being just and if so, how? Now there are three ways of teaching justice.

First, we count on "socialization" and moral training and acclimation of the individual to fellow men to prevent unjust behavior. Call these internal norms.

These norms are what account for our "feeling" that ethical commands are categorical.

Second, the state punishes criminals, and there are numerous non-coercive forms of social pressure; these are external restraints. Neither is perfect: Either just behavior is unthinking, a matter of conditioned reflex and early inculcation of values, or it is obtained through servile fear. Both are somewhat precarious and at times fail.

Regarding these two, an individual personally benefits from being just himself because he is free from (1) guilt and (2) being hounded by the state. He gains the power to build his own personality and seek happiness, as long as he stays within the law.

The third way is perfection of charity. One loves society's temporal happiness more than his own, and as a result, the pain to others he would feel upon committing a crime would be greater than his own pleasure, and so injustice is checked at the source.

Compared to love, both moral instruction and threats of punishment seem crude; that does not make them any less indispensable, however.

Confederate Flag

It's a libertarian sacrament, designed to remind the people (such as of South Carolina) that the federal Leviathan is not omnipotent and that some limits to its power and protections against it can be enjoyed by the people in their capacity as citizens of a US state.

My Own “Ecological” Concerns

There are basically 2 of them.

1. "The oceans are a commons, and as such, though seemingly huge, are starting nowadays to suffer from the tragedy of the commons," as I write in my book.

There is no economizing here, since everyone tries to snatch as much as possible, before others get their hands on it; and moreover, no economy, because an economy, in order to be rational, has to serve the consumers, and overexploitation does not serve the consumers in long run.

Tragedy of commons also tends to feed on itself. The fewer fish remain, the lower the supply, the higher the price, the greater the incentive to catch the remaining fish.

Again, this formidable problem exists, because no one as yet has figured out how to privatize expanses of water, watery depths, and the seafood in them.

Since there cannot be a true market without rights to private property, this again is the illusory sense of market failure, because the market does not exist and therefore, cannot fail. (SAtK, II, 9)

So, privatizing oceans is our next big challenge.

2. We should be careful not to wipe out species of living things as wholes for two reasons. The first one is a bit abstract: a species of animals, unlike an individual creature, is sort of immortal; not as a human soul is immortal but still. For that reason alone, a species is valuable.

Second, if a species is gone, it seems that it is gone forever. But we may find a species useless now, but it may well turn out in 20 years that it can be made extremely delicious or cure cancer. Some reasonable care needs to be exercised.