In his book, Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, Simon Blackburn takes the reader on a semi-structured tour of various ethical topics. He tackles a variety of bad ideas that have made their way into the ethical arena and spends the majority of the book focused on putting them down. Blackburn mostly refrains, however, from developing or advocating any particular ethical theory.
Surprisingly, given the title, the book is not overly friendly to the uninitiated. The reader is often expected to already be familiar with major ideas, figures, and schools of thought in ethics and philosophy. While in the beginning Blackburn does do a good job explicitly motivating why ethical systems are important, by spending the bulk of the work on focused on flawed systems, the book might be discouraging to individuals looking for an ethical system to live by. Blackburn does drop a few hints at what he thinks a good ethic might look like, but sadly it seems to be some sort of democratic socialism.
Ethics and Economics have always been the twin goddesses of the libertarian movement. Some find their way to libertarianism through Austrian Economics and others find their way to free market thinking from a conviction in personal freedom. In either case, for most of those who enjoy a libertarian state of mind, ethics and economics are always close at hand.
Economics shows the power of human cooperation. Immense cities, microscopic computers, abundant food, advanced medicine and flying machines are just some of the bounty derived from applying economic principles like division of labor and catallactics. They are the result of having a free market.
Ethics explains the difference between peaceful cooperation and criminal conflict. One might think that the difference should be obvious, but it is precisely the opposite in today’s state dominated society. Conflict is rained down like fire Continue reading →