Thursday, November 19, 2015

Is There Pure Good?

Even ISIS's horrific acts have a silver lining. They remind idealistic policymakers that one of their foundational assumptions is wrong: that everyone is well intentioned.

That dose of realism may ultimately improve policies so they better incorporate the full range of humankind's behavior.

So if even such base evil as ISIS has an upside, can there be pure good?

As a thought experiment I listed 10 things that, at first blush, strike me as a pure good. For each, I've tried to think of how even they aren't a pure good. To the extent I was able to do that, I strike a blow for relativism, for embracing the gray-areaness of most things and a blow against absolutist black-white thinking.

I've ended up concluding that six of the ten aren't pure goods. I describe my thinking about all of them in my article today.

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