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Saturday, March 19, 2005

George Orwell might say returns

I had a short lived unviewed blog entitled George Orwell might say. The idea is that, in spite of the disadvantage of having been dead for 54 years, George Orwell could probably make more of a contribution to current debate than living pundits. In the post above George debates Eugene Volokh.

Orwell's experience is of interest to me because I believe two contradictory things some of the time. I am both sympathetic with swinish Benthamite utilitarianism (maximise pleasure minus pain and forget about being true to our better natures) and absolutely opposed to using the criminal justice system for revenge. Yet if I accept all pleasures as valuable, why do I reject the pleasure of revenge.

Maybe, deep down, I don't believe revenge is sweet. Personally, I rarely want revenge for anything (this reflects the fact that the world has been very very indulgent with me). I am fairly sure that if I ever had reason to avenge something any brief pleasure would be outweighed by a permanent sense of guilt.

Of course it is more likely that I have semi convinced myself that I believe two contradictory things.

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