Tyler Cowen on moral principles and the margins at which we should give them up

Cardiff Garcia: Do you think that most or all public intellectuals should write a treatise like [Stubborn Attachments]?

Tyler Cowen: Only if they want to. But I think they all ought to want to. And if you don’t want to, then how can you believe anything? This is foundationalist Tyler coming out again. So you hear all kinds of claims about utilitarianism, about inequality being important or about meritocracy being important, but people never address the question: at what margin am I willing to give up this principle?

That’s a great defect in current political discussion. People have a lot of arguments for why their margin is good but they rarely have any arguments for why they stop at that margin. You wanna redistribute? Well maybe, but why don’t we redistribute even more? And if the people who oppose the redistribution you favour are evil, why aren’t you evil for not proposing even more?

https://thevalmy.com/26 // https://www.ft.com/content/4803dd39-9c14-3a4c-90e4-c9630999660f

December 23, 2021