Strong opinions, weakly held

An alternate take on personal responsibility

Matthew Yglesias has a different take on the question of personal responsibility that I wrote about the other day. Here’s his argument:

But if I look at America today, what I see undermining any meaningful notion of work ethic is a kind of run-amok ethic of moneymaking. The old Calvinist idea about money, as I understood it, was that hard work, discipline, and prudence were moral virtues. They were also things that are more likely than not to lead to personal prosperity. So prosperity shouldn’t be stigmatized as ignoble, it should be rather seen as something likely to flow from virtuous behavior. But this equation assumes that morally speaking what matters is the hard work, the discipline, and the prudence. Cutting corners, lying, cheating, or stealing to make a quick buck doesn’t fit the bill.

Read the whole post.


  1. Link to Yglesias post?

  2. Perhaps if you linked to the post…

  3. Leaving out the actual link is one sure way to get some reader feedback …

  4. Doh, just a little too late.

  5. Somewhere along the way we’ve flipped the bit in our culture, and our laws, from belief and pursuit systems that promote enlightened self-interest, to belief and promotion of unenlightened/rational self-interest.

    Worst yet, we’ve accepted it as okay.

    I don’t know if you are following the news of Penn State recently, but it reflects this line of thinking in a real stark way. Everyone performing CYA (“I’ve done what I was legally bound to do.”) and those who are most vulnerable, are hurt the greatest.

    (apologies I had thought I was posting this here, when I saved it on a different post originally)

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