Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Anarchy

The Starks are Not the Good Guys: Morality and Game of Thrones

I’m a big Game of Thrones fan (both the books and the show), but there’s something that sets me apart from other fans–I hate the Starks. It’s my view that they are without question the most villainous family in Westeros, far worse than the Lannisters. This is a controversial view, but hear me out. I think I have a pretty strong case.

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Don’t Blame Putin for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17

On July 17, 2014, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine by a Russian-built SA-11 surface to air missile. The tragedy killed 298 people, the majority of whom were Dutch, as well as a handful of AIDS researchers. In the wake of this terribly unfortunate incident, many in the west are blaming Russia for having supplied the pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels with the sophisticated weaponry necessary to carry out the deed.  In so doing, however, they are missing the forest for the trees, choosing the simple, cathartic narrative of Russian villainy over the reality.

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Keystone Pipeline: To Build or Not to Build

An interesting new report is out from the US state department about the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed oil pipeline running from Canada’s tar sands to the United States. Key to the report is this line in particular:

Project is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development of the tar sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area.

This may have some interesting implications for the question of whether or not the pipeline ought to be built. Let’s discuss them.

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Can We Be Moral Without the State?

I noticed an interesting consequence of the moral theory I outlined yesterday–if it’s true, it is not possible to be moral beyond a limited scope in the absence of a state. Let me explain what I mean. Read the rest of this entry »

Am I an Egoist?

There was a very interesting tension pointed out to me yesterday in my moral philosophy. As regular readers know, I am broadly utilitarian–I think that we should try to promote the general welfare. I am concerned with the consequences of moral decisions rather than their motivation, and I do not think hard, fast rules forbidding given behaviours without regard to situational consequences are good ideas. I have, however, recently seemingly changed a position somewhere,  because I now find myself embracing, in some situations, what looks like an egoist view. The egoist position is that a person should do what is good for them, not what is good for society at large. So how do I square this circle? Let me see if it can be done.

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