by Bill Joslin
The first question of ethics and politics is: “Why shouldn’t I kill you and take your stuff?” The answer to which gives birth to moral foundations.
Of course, “Because I’m too costly to kill when weighed against the benefit of my stuff” represents one of the answers.
The other answer being this: “Because, if we cooperate, I’m worth way more alive than the limited benefits of the stuff I have now.”
To wit – any and all qualities that we consider “virtuous” can be measured. Virtue exists as the signaling and behaviour that demonstrates your ability to be trusted when one is vulnerable to you (i.e. answers the question of “why would I drop my defenses against you in order to cooperate).
…now here the rub.
Our current culture hasn’t solved for this contingent question:
“Why shouldn’t I just lie to you and take your stuff, only the amount of stuff you don’t notice I took?”
Me’thinks this question will be answered soon.