By Bryan Caplan
I occasionally describe people as “noble.” What do I mean by it? In slogan form: “He would rather be wronged than do wrong.” The noble, as I use the term, hold themselves to exemplary standards of thought, word, and deed. Intellectually, they strive to be reasonable and fair at all times. They don’t seek excuses – like “My opponents did it first” – to be unreasonable or unfair. They apply my recommended remedies for purges and schisms to one and all. And on a deep level, they internalize my admonition against winning. In short, the noble are the puritanically praiseworthy – i.e., people who merit praise given my admittedly unforgiving standards.
None of this requires that the noble substantively agree with me. I have deep disagreements with several of the noblest people I know. And needless to say, people who agree with me on substance disappoint me every day.
The good news is that anyone can become noble. Starting now.