Cordial and Sanguine, Part 30: Armistice Among the Bleeding Hearts By Roderick on May 1, 2012 4 Two final posts in the Cato Unbound symposium, one from Matt Zwolinski and one from me. Anarchy, Antiquity, Conflation Debate, Ethics, Left and Right, Left-Libertarian, Personal
Do the BHL crew every define what they mean by “the poor”? The poorest individual or the poorest X%? Those who are voluntarily poor (monks, etc), those unwilling to take whatever work is available, those unable to work, or only the “deserving poor”. It seems a very loose and flexible concept on which to grant oneself the right to enslave and kill one’s fellow man.
Isn’t the point of BHL that concern for the poor is precisely what gives us (additional) reason not to “enslave and kill one’s fellow man”?
Also: do we need to specify among different meanings of “poor” if they all have the same upshot?
In Smithian terms, isn’t concern for the poor a motivation for beneficence and failure to render aid not a violation of justice, therefore concern for the poor would not justify enslavement or murder. As a motive for charity, definitions can be fuzzy and gray moving each of us more or less. As a justification for rights violations, fuzzy definitions are just another “ends justify the means” rationale.
I’m not sure how that addresses what I said.