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Steven T. Byington, "On Interference with the Environment"

Now available thanks to Shawn P. Wilbur at From the Libertarian Library:




I WANT to start a discussion which may be of some length, especially if I get replies from those who disagree with me, as I hope I may, and I think it will pay if first I lay down, like Euclid, a few of the axioms and postulates with which I begin.

I observe that men universally hold that certain types of action are to be approved and certain others are to be disapproved. They differ as to what actions should be put in either class: Herodotus noted this in the case of the nation where it was a disgrace to eat one's father, and the other nation where it was a disgrace not to eat one's father. They differ as to what names should be used for the classes: most people say right and wrong or good and bad, but some object most strenuously to these terms and prefer to say high and low, noble and base, fine and sordid, and I know not what. But everybody has some name for some sorts of actions that he thinks well of, and another name for those of which he thinks ill. The question whether it is well to speak of "right" or "wrong" is a very dry dispute about words; but the question whether a given action belongs in the black class or in the white class is a question of intense interest wherever there is a difference of opinion about it. Look at any book that has been written to prove that there is no such thing as moral good or evil, and see with what a relish the author will stigmatise the moralist's attitude by the names of such vices as he recognises ...

Read the whole thing at From the Libertarian Library.

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