The fallacy of good intentions

Good intentions have a long history of disappointing results.  Politicians and pundits often invoke the "good intentions" caveat to justify or soften the blow of failed social policies.  The time has come to discard this cognitive crutch. We can trace the fallacy of good intentions to a misunderstanding of the great 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who influenced modern ethics with his "categorical imperative" and "good will."  Kant recognized that ethics involves a conflict between reason and passion, between duty and desire.  Because humans are flawed and conflicted, and therefore in need of ethical principles, the true measure of moral value is the goodwill of the individual who performs the action, not the consequences of the action. Consider two individuals who enter an orphanage to make a donation.  The first person has a low-wage job and limited savings but sympathizes with the...(Read Full Post)
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