EppsNet Archive: Morality

A Couple of Thoughts on Student Loan Debt

 

I’ve taken out mortgage loans, auto loans, acquired some credit card debt . . . am I forgetting anything? But I’ve never acquired debt and not paid it back. It never occurred to me to do that.   Transferring student loan debt seems like subsidizing irresponsibility. What happens when you subsidize something? You get more of it.   I saw the Secretary of Education being interviewed and although I don’t remember his exact words, he seemed to blame the whole thing on the COVID pandemic. He said it was his job (or the government’s job) to make sure that people can bounce back from that and not be crushed by their student loan payments. I’d like to ask him where he got the idea that it’s the job of the federal government to make sure that citizens don’t suffer financial hardships. In the early days of our country, many people… Read more →

Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?

 

I do not myself think that the dependence of morals upon religion is nearly as close as religious people believe it to be. I even think that some very important virtues are more likely to be found among those who reject religious dogmas than among those who accept them. I think this applies especially to the virtue of truthfulness or intellectual integrity. I mean by intellectual integrity the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive. This virtue, although it is underestimated by almost all adherents of any system of dogma, is to my mind of the very greatest social importance and far more likely to benefit the world than Christianity or any other system of organized beliefs. — Bertrand Russell, “Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?” Read more →

How Can You Do Good With Someone Else’s Money?

 

The essential notion of a capitalist society is voluntary cooperation and voluntary exchange. The essential notion of a socialist society is fundamentally force. If the government is the master, you ultimately have to order people what to do. Whenever you try to do good with somebody else’s money, you are committed to using force. How can you do good with somebody else’s money unless you first take it away from them? The only way you can take it away from them is by threat of force. You have a policeman, a tax collector who comes to take it away from them. Whenever you use force, the bad moral value of force triumphs over good intentions. — Milton Friedman Read more →

Government Should Be a Referee

 

Government has three primary functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property. When government — in pursuit of good intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the cost comes in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player. — Milton Friedman Read more →

The Moral Compass Oscillates

 

Following up on the college admission scandal . . . Now that we have faces and names, sums of money, and details on specific subterfuges, the level of anger, shock and indignation is much higher than I would have expected regarding what I thought was already taken as a truism: that parents with money and influence can get their kids into colleges that they couldn’t get into on their own merits. Everyone also knows that students are routinely admitted to colleges based on various forms of diversity rather than on academic achievement. Moreover, virtuous Americans agree that tilting the system in this way in favor of academically unqualified individuals is a good thing. I would have thought that the moral question is whether it’s right to tilt the admissions process at all based on non-meritorious criteria such as demographics, including the demographic of having rich parents. If everyone agrees that… Read more →

Who Will Scold the Scolders?

 

Oh my! Pants! Are around my ankles! Of all the smug moralizers in the world, I can’t think of one offhand who can out-smug George Takei. He’s gay, you know, which gives him an elevated moral perch from which to sermonize and pontificate. You don’t like it? Are you a homophobe? The recent surge in sexual harassment accusations among celebrities and media members, who are themselves usually the ones most likely to be dealing out the admonishments to our nation’s deplorables, is a schadenfreude booster, but it does raise the question of who will be left to scold the scolders? Read more →

What Would You Charge for an EpiPen?

 

I don’t mean hypothetically, I mean I literally want to buy an EpiPen from you right now. My kid got stung by a bee, his face is swelling up like a balloon and his lungs are about to shut down. I see a lot of people are mad at Mylan for charging $600 for EpiPens but they don’t seem to be mad at everyone else in the world who won’t sell them an EpiPen at all. Not to mention, $600 for a life-saving treatment seems like a pretty good bargain to me. Hillary Clinton has called for reducing the price of EpiPens. Hillary Clinton has never lifted a finger in a productive enterprise in her life. She will not sell you an EpiPen no matter how much you want or need one. If the amoral profiteers at Mylan have an obligation to sell cheap EpiPens, why doesn’t Hillary Clinton? Why… Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

 

Washington Post editorial board calls on GOP to reject Trump as nominee — CBS News “Morally, there is no other option,” according to the Post. Yes, the problem is that most of us are not as morally enlightened as the Washington Post editorial board because if we were we would think and act exactly as they do. What a crock of shit . . . Read more →

Who Do They Think They Are?

 

View image | gettyimages.com If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? — Barry Goldwater, 1981 Read more →

I’m Done With the NBA

 

I’m choking to death on all the pious platitudes re Donald Sterling. I hope that TMZ will make a recurring feature out of providing glimpses into the private lives of NBA executives, coaches and players. The level of sanctimony amongst these juvenile moralizers will drop off a cliff. To cite an obvious example: The Clippers are currently in a playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. The coach of the Warriors, Mark Jackson, describes himself as “an African-American man that’s a fan of the game of basketball and knows its history and knows what’s right and what’s wrong.” He goes on to encourage people to boycott Clippers games and says, “We cannot allow someone with these feelings to profit.” Jackson is an ordained minister. He and his wife run the True Love Worship Center in Reseda, Ca. Jackson was also, a couple of years ago, the victim of an extortion… Read more →

You Say Anarchy, Sir, Like It’s a Bad Thing

 

Frankly, one of our political parties is insane, and we all know which one it is. They have descended from the realm of reasonableness that was the mark of conservatism. They dream of anarchy, of ending government. — Bruce Bartlett My fellow Americans — I’ll tell you who’s insane: anyone who’s not dreaming of anarchy at this moment in history is insane. People forget that this great nation was founded by anarchists, born out of an armed revolution against a corrupt government. As I said at the time, “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” I assure you, though, that regrettably neither current political party dreams of anarchy. They both dream of exactly the same things: self-aggrandizement and rewarding their most powerful supporters with political spoils. The well-known liberal cartoonist Ted Rall wrote a book a couple… Read more →

Morality is Insignificant

 

Fidelity to a personal code of morality would seem to fade in significance as the public sphere, like an enormous sun, blinds us to all else. — Joyce Carol Oates Read more →