Two Alienated Questions
By Bryan Caplan
I am deeply alienated from the society in which I live. I regard our policies as criminal, and politicians of both major sides as evil people. My assessment of our society’s opinion leaders is similar, though milder and less categorical.
Many thoughtful people I know regard my rejection of our society as childish. Rather than defend myself, I have two questions for all such people.
1. In what actually existing societies would my alienation be morally justified? Nazi Germany, I hope. North Korea, I trust. How about Saudi Arabia? Putin’s Russia? Napoleonic France? The antebellum South?
2. Look at your answers to Question #1. Now ask yourself: If I grew up in a society in which, by my own account, alienation would be morally justified, would I in fact be appropriately alienated? In how many such cases would I at least inwardly damn my damnable society? And in how many cases would I take the path of least resistance, accepting the status quo as morally tolerable or even laudable?
Inquiring minds want to know. And yes, thoughtful people, it does go to credibility. But don’t let that bias your answer!