Mises Review 9, No. It is always agreeable to be proved right.
Posted on December 17, by Scott Alexander I. Some old news I only just heard about: PETA is offering to pay the water bills for needy Detroit families if and only if those families agree to stop eating meat.
Predictably, the move caused a backlash. Of course, this is par for the course for PETA, who have previously engaged in campaigns like throwing red paint on fashion models who wear fur, juxtaposing pictures of animals with Holocaust victims, juxtaposing pictures of animals with African-American slaves, and ads featuring naked people that cross the line into pornography.
Vegan Outreach is an extremely responsible charity doing excellent and unimpeachable work in the same area PETA is. Nobody has heard of them.
PETA creates attention, but at a cost. Vegan Outreach can get everyone to agree in principle that factory-farming is bad, but no one will pay any attention to it. The University of Virginia rape case profiled in Rolling Stone has fallen apart.
In doing so, it joins a long and distinguished line of highly-publicized rape cases that have fallen apart. Studies sometimes claim that only 2 to 8 percent of rape allegations are false.
Yet the rate for allegations that go ultra-viral in the media must be an order of magnitude higher than this. As the old saying goes, once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action. So why are the most publicized cases so much more likely to be false than the almost-always-true average case?
Several people have remarked that false accusers have more leeway to make their stories as outrageous and spectacular as possible.
But I want to focus on two less frequently mentioned concerns. The Consequentialism FAQ explains signaling in moral decisions like so: When signaling, the more expensive and useless the item is, the more effective it is as a signal. On the other hand, a large diamond is an excellent signal; no one needs a large diamond, so anybody who gets one anyway must have money to burn.
Certain answers to moral dilemmas can also send signals.
For example, a Catholic man who opposes the use of condoms demonstrates to others and to himself! Like the diamond example, this signaling is more effective if it centers upon something otherwise useless. If the Catholic had merely chosen not to murder, then even though this is in accord with Catholic doctrine, it would make a poor signal because he might be doing it for other good reasons besides being Catholic — just as he might buy eyeglasses for reasons beside being rich.
It is precisely because opposing condoms is such a horrendous decision that it makes such a good signal. But in the more general case, people can use moral decisions to signal how moral they are.
In this case, they choose a disastrous decision based on some moral principle. The more suffering and destruction they support, and the more obscure a principle it is, the more obviously it shows their commitment to following their moral principles absolutely.
For example, Immanuel Kant claims that if an axe murderer asks you where your best friend is, obviously intending to murder her when he finds her, you should tell the axe murderer the full truth, because lying is wrong.
In the same way, publicizing how strongly you believe an accusation that is obviously true signals nothing. Even hard-core anti-feminists would believe a rape accusation that was caught on video. A moral action that can be taken just as well by an outgroup member as an ingroup member is crappy signaling and crappy identity politics.
If you want to signal how strongly you believe in taking victims seriously, you talk about it in the context of the least credible case you can find.
A rape that obviously happened?The Thomas Sowell Reader () Dismantling America and Other Controversial Essays () rutadeltambor.com: Barnes & Noble: Ever Wonder Why?
() rutadeltambor.com: Hoover Press: Controversial Essays () rutadeltambor.com: Essays in the History of Economics by George J. Stigler, AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW, June ARTICLES IN SCHOLARLY PUBLICATIONS: "A Student's Eye View of George Stigler," Journal of Political Economy, October , pp.
"Jean-Baptiste Say," The New. > Politics & Social Sciences Books > Political Economy Books > Dismantling America and Other Controversial Essays Dismantling America and Other Controversial Essays [Large Print] by Thomas Sowell/5(5). Dismantling America: And Other Controversial Essays by Thomas Sowell in DJVU, DOC, RTF download e-book.
That seems different, though, because it requires rejecting one ideology/ingroup, namely Catholicism. It makes sense that people identifying as Catholic would resent that the Protestants found a way to weaken Catholicism, and apparently people who “took the soup” were ostracized.
5 quotes from Controversial Essays: ‘No government of the left has done as much for the poor as capitalism has. Even when it comes to the redistribution.