James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Progressive or Classical

My latest at the Partial Observer. Excerpt:
The progressive would say that the discovery of right and wrong is an evolutionary process. We used to believe some cultures were better than others, now we believe all cultures are equal; we used to believe slavery was fine, now we believe it is wrong. Likewise, we used to believe dogfighting was fine, now we believe it is wrong. True, there is hypocrisy about prohibiting some forms of animal cruelty while tolerating others, but that's because society as a whole hasn't evolved to the point of outlawing all animal mistreatment. In the meantime, we should do what we can. Democracy is the means by which we evolve.

The classical liberal position on Michael Vick has been courageously advanced by Ilana Mercer over the past couple of weeks. Classical liberalism holds that everyone is equally free, so long as they respect the equal freedom of others. Cultures that respect individual freedom and private property are superior to those that do not. If more and more people become persuaded that something is wrong, they will stop doing it, but they shouldn't forcefully prevent their neighbors from doing it. It may well be true that morality and ethics may further develop through an evolutionary process, but individual freedom, not democratic coercion, is the means.

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