Monday, September 14, 2009
On Blond Beasts
Richard Layard apparently thinks that there is "no nobler ideal" than crude utilitarianism. Let us do him the charity of assuming that he actually means what he says. Presumably then he thinks it noble to discount the suffering caused by injustices, like say rape, against any pleasures that those who inflict them gain, or that if I could make myself happier by stupifying myself, doing so would be noble. Whatever one might say in favour of crude utilitarianism, the thought that treating all pleasures, regardless of what they are pleasures in, as equally significant would be noble is not usually one of them. Assuming that Richard Layard doesn't actually think that it's better if child molesters enjoy themselves whilst molesting children, perhaps he should leave doing philosophy to philosophers, rather than economists who are apparently neither familiar with the rather long history of philosophical critiques of crude utilitarianism nor capable of understanding the basic implications of positions they advocate.