Saturday, October 24, 2015

what is a bad person?

there are a number of concepts running through my mind at any given time and one of those is what makes a person "bad".

as much as i want to make it objective, meaning true beyond my opinion, i'm going to define it subjectively (because that's my prerogative ;)).

the problem is that it's not obvious when you see a bad person. very few bad people actually think, "yeah, i'm a pretty bad person". they don't have "BAD" tattooed on their foreheads. they might seem very normal in every way, likeable, even. no one thought, "wow, that hitler sure is a bad person. let's vote for him!".

it wasn't obvious to most folks.

the difference between a bad person and a not-bad person, in my definition, is very subtle and easy to rectify. a bad person speaks out on issues that affect others while in a state of ignorance on those issues. murray rothbard once said, “It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.” 

even though i'm not really talking about economics here, the point remains. i see people all the time on social media, praising presidential candidate A or B. it's ok if you want another man to force you to do what he says; it's not ok for you to advocate that he do the same to me. we live in an age where the greatest repository of information in human history is literally at the tips of our fingers at virtually all times. there's no excuse except intellectual laziness or uncontrolled emotion that keeps you from using logic, based on correct premises, to understand the world around you.

victor pross said, "in the age of information, ignorance is a choice". he's right. like rothbard said, it's ok to be ignorant. there's nothing wrong with that. being ignorant doesn't make you a bad person by any means. what does make you a bad person is advocating that innocent people suffer because of your ignorance.

look, i'm ignorant about all sorts of stuff and i always will be. but, i have the intellectual integrity to undertsand that and to avoid advocating that others suffer because of my poor understandings. 

for instance:

if you don't know why minimum wages cause others to suffer, that's ok. if you don't know why minimum wages cause others to suffer and you advocate minimum wages, you're a bad person. 

if you don't know why gun control is both practically and philosophically wrong, it's ok. if you don't know why gun control is both practically and philosophically wrong and you advocate gun control, then you're a bad person. 

if you don't understand why taxation is theft, no problem. if you don't understand why taxation is theft, and you advocate taxation (or any of the things funded by it), you're a bad person.

if you don't understand how to tie your shoelaces, but you advocate that shoe laces be tied, you're not a bad person - because that will not cause anyone to suffer. 

all of those examples make you a bad person because all of those things require that someone use violence against someone else. all of those examples require that someone initiate force against someone else.

if you don't understand why, well, you're already on the internet, so...

Non-aggression principle

the good thing is you're not doomed to be a bad person. simply take responsibility for your intellectual conditioning, develop a little integrity, and either learn or learn to keep quiet.

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