The Borders of Morality

TO PHILOSOPHY STUDENTS: You will see “morals” and “ethics” used interchangeably in this articles…  Get your grumbling out of the way now…  Okay let’s proceed…


I recently posted a quick tweet addressing a question that nags at me, especially living here on the Arizona / Mexico frontier…

If #povertyprograms are #moralimperative (vs #voterrecruitment), then shouldnt govt welfare first go to the 5B pp FAR poorer than any in US?

I was challenged on this from several fronts but primarily it came down to, in assessing government policies, what is the appropriate Control Volume.

Control Volume means, generally, “a mathematical abstraction employed in the process of creating mathematical models of physical processes.”  More specifically the above statement touches on the Control Volume concept in that a person’s opinion of our enacted policies depend on who and what they care about.  Do you draw the Volume around the U.S, around the individual, around the state, around the World?

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What Does “Ownership” Mean?

I just saw a news article (Pima County Board of Supervisors Votes to Approve Smoking Ban) and it reminded me of those PBS brand commercials built around something like, “You Own This…”?

Basically the gist was that the camera went swooping over the National Mall in DC and then the words would pass over the screen “You Own This…” The shot then faded to helicopter shots of Mt Rushmore and Yosemite followed by “You Own This…” It went through a couple of iterations on this theme, ending finally with a slow fade-in and light flare across the PBS logo and then a last drop in of that phrase, “You Own This…”

How patriotic, right?

I was always really offput by those… In my mind, we don’t own ANY of that. The US federal government owns those assets (PBS being a public-private partnershipy thing). We are given some access to those places and assets, but we don’t OWN them in any meaningful way.

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