Thursday, January 05, 2023

Tolerating evil isn't ever "good"

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” is one of the nastiest, slimiest sayings imaginable. It's a warning to anyone with principles.

I’ve never seen anyone use it for anything other than to justify their tolerance of evil or excuse themselves for not doing the hard work. 

It's like insisting that slavery can be improved ("the good") to make it less horrible instead of calling for abolition ("the perfect") which they believe is unattainable in the current situation.

I saw a guy advocating a "flat tax" this way, and saying that the true statement (which he even agreed with) that taxation is theft and thus is never ethical gets in the way of incremental improvements.

It doesn't even hold up to scrutiny anyway: Nothing is perfect and the thing being justified is almost never good.

Usually, it is said in conjunction with being pragmatic or utilitarian-- another couple of things I tend to despise in this context, for the same reasons.


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