Epstein on Haidt
Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein's column this week is about Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind. Professor Epstein writes:
Haidt does not address the reasons why moral intuitions break down in complex social institutions. Instead, he puts forward the view that it is a good thing to agree to disagree when people fundamentally differ about the relative importance of what he thinks are the six values that undergird our morality: care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority, and sanctity. Haidt's insight that liberals tend to rely on care and fairness, while conservatives rely on all six values equally, is meant to tip his hat, however slightly, to the conservative side of the line.
...The right question to ask is how people with fundamentally different views can coexist in relative peace. ... What is needed is a system of strong property rights so that people who differ on how they wish to live their lives can do so without getting permission from the dominant faction. ...The key issues are for government to control force, fraud, and monopoly, and to create public institutions, including infrastructure (which it is easy to mess up). It ought to achieve these ends without making government the supreme sovereign in the area of individual rights, so that every election does not become an invitation for a major flip-flop from one extreme to another.
Jun 19, 2012 at 11:24 am
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