Our default assumption should instead be that people who make choices different from what we make or would have made must have their reasons, even if we do not know what they are. Our default principle should be, therefore, to respect their choices and recognize them as reflective of their equal moral agency. That does not mean that others are infallible or that we should regard them as such, or that others should be immune from criticism. But it does mean that we should exhibit humility when we judge others, because we only infrequently know the whole story.
DBx: Such humility today is especially lacking. It’s almost as if success at expressing short, barbed thoughts on Twitter works as a hallucinogen to create the sensation of possessing god-like powers, with an accompanying duty, to lord it over fellow human beings.
I was pleased, but not surprised, to see in the Wall Street Journal a favorable review by Barton Swaim of Jim’s book. A slice:
James R. Otteson’s “Seven Deadly Economic Sins” (Cambridge, 305 pages, $27.95) is a fine effort to introduce readers to the basic principles of market economics. The hamartiological framing—the “sins” are bad assumptions about how markets work—is part of the author’s effort to make the subject more engaging than a typical treatise on economics. It works. Mr. Otteson, a professor of business ethics at Notre Dame, writes with an apt combination of casual wit and rigorous logic.