Hit & Run

Sheldon Richman Says the Moral Case for Freedom Is the Practical Case for Freedom

The division of human life into the moral and the practical is of recent vintage.


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If one says that a government activity—"public" schooling, perhaps, or the war on selected drug merchants and users—helps turn the inner cities into hellholes and otherwise makes people's lives miserable, is that a moral objection or a practical (utilitarian or generally consequentialist) objection? Some libertarians are inclined to say it's a utilitarian objection, but Sheldon Richman has long been uncomfortable with this answer. For one thing, as he points out, utilitarianism is a moral theory, so utilitarian objections cannot be excluded from the realm of moral propositions.