Tuesday Linkage

Donald Devine on John Locke the philosopher, and the problems he has caused 20th century philosophers.

The economics of the minimum wage, in Hazlitt fashion.

This week’s episode of Communio Sanctorum covers the Eastern-Western split in the Christian church.

Francis Beckwith on abortion and the ethics of consent. A sample:

What makes chattel slavery morally wrong? [ . . . ] “The slaves didn’t consent” is the answer I get from virtually all my students. But as they quickly learn, that answer is not capable of truly capturing their deeper intuitions about chattel slavery’s wrongness. After all, as I often respond, what if historians discovered a group of former American slaves a few years after the Civil War pining for their former life on the plantation? How we would react to such a revelation?

Would we say that this state of affairs could have developed into a case of morally permissible chattel slavery, if the former slaves had subsequently consented to return to their prior state, to become yet again under the law nothing more than another man’s property?

If you answer “yes,” then you believe chattel slavery is only conditionally wrong, that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the practice. So, even though you may continue to condemn the institution, the grounds on which that condemnation rests – consent – implies that there is nothing essential about human beings that entails that we are not by nature property.

So, under this analysis, the wrong of chattel slavery depends not on who the victims are, but rather, on what the victims want. It suggests that the absence of volition, and not the presence of dignity, is doing the moral work in our condemnation of chattel slavery.


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