Thursday, August 23, 2012

Alex Epstein on Reframing the Moral Narrative

Well worth a listen to, particularly if you're interested in any form of activism or advocacy.  I personally wrote in my writing notebook a few years ago: focus more on aspirational values.  My idea was aimed at other issues, particularly how capitalism makes society more harmonious and allows people to rise to the level of their ability, but it applies in many other areas.

The importance of the issue became much more apparent to me after listening to a lecture Onkar gave at USC during a seminar focusing on the issue of individual rights. In a nutshell, life requires us to think and produce in order to have success; rights protect that ability in a social context.  So even though rights are defined in a negative way, i.e. the prohibition against the initiation of force, one should never lose sight of their purpose which is that they allow men to live better lives.  (Another reason I have so much disdain for the Mises Institute type libertarians, is that they go out of their way to use things like drugs and prostitution to make the case for rights, while in reality those are just  a consequence of the fact that the freedom to choose and to learn implies the possibility of going wrong, while retaining the mechanism to then correct the mistake.)

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