Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I love Aristophanes

I was reading Timothy Sandefur's blog Freepace and his post Sam Harris, anti-reason where his discusses some of Harris's fundamental misunderstandings of economics, and I came across this paragraph:

Is a person’s beauty morally unjustified because she didn’t earn it? Is it just only insofar as men get to lust after her? Or have intercourse with her? Certainly they would gain value from this. What right does she have to hoard her body to herself? If the answer to this is that she owns her body and that principles of dignity entitle her to herself and guarantee a presumption of liberty around her—in other words, that she has a moral right to herself which nobody may infringe so long as she respects the same right in others—then why is wealth not analogous to this? The mere fact that I would enjoy consuming a value belonging to you is not sufficient to justify taking that value from you. In short, a person is “allowed” whatever belongs to him or her so long as he or she has harmed no person with it or to acquire it.

I immediately thought of Aristophanes and how all red-blooded males think of this problem working in the way that Sandefur describes, but that it would really be much, much worse.

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