Moral Relativism and Moral Fanaticism

What exactly is moral fanaticism?  Like moral relativism, moral fanaticism is a meta-ethical theory – a theory about moral facts and moral reasoning.  Moral relativism says, roughly, that there are no moral facts, and moral “reasoning” is just thinly-veiled emoting.  Moral fanaticism, in contrast, affirms that there are moral facts, but pretends that thinly-veiled emoting is ironclad moral reasoning.

Orwell for Socialism

In a reflective moment, George Orwell wrote, “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.”  Yet if you actually read his oeuvre, you’ll find a striking disparity: Orwell’s anti-totalitarian writing is massive, but his pro-socialist writing is wafer thin.

Social Desirability Bias vs. Tourism

Economically speaking, there’s a straightforward win-win case for these Mexican resorts: Not only do they make the tourists happier; they make the Mexicans happier by providing them with better opportunities than they have elsewhere in the Mexican economy. If you reconsider this verdict through the distorted lens of Social Desirability Bias, though, a radically different picture appears before your eyes.  Once you forget economics, you could easily describe the resort experience in the following sordid way.

What I’m Doing

Most smart people aren’t doing what I’m doing.  Shouldn’t I be worried?  Only slightly.  Even smart people are prone to herding and hysteria.  I’ve now spent three months listening to smart defenders of the conventional view.  Their herding and hysteria are hard to miss.  Granted, non-smart contrarians sound even worse.  But smart contrarians make the most sense of all.