Moral relativism trickery

"Note that much the same could be said [as was said regarding productivity] regarding my numerous references to the words smart and intelligent and conscientious and talented. Sure, these are good qualities overall, but we don't always need to price them above all other human qualities. How we value them does have a moral implication, but such moral judgments can be left each and everyone of us to make." -- Tyler Cowen, Average Is Over, p. 26

Isn't funny how if we demand that social rewards for cleverness must not enter the realm of public morality, people like Cowen will come out ahead? I'm pretty sure that he does not take a similar laissez faire attitude towards rewards going to the ability to thrash people and take their stuff. ("Hey, it should just be a matter of private judgment what you think of that!")

I am not saying getting ahead by being smart and getting ahead by being violent are the same thing. I am saying that I bet Cowen is very choosy about when morality should be kept private and when it can publicly enforced.

And, in fact, the idea of private morality makes no sense: to declare something is wrong (and not just a matter of personal whim) is to make a claim about reality, not about the state of one's own neurons.


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