“Morally Right”?

So this from the new Representative from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

I think there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than with being morally right.

This is a clear attempt to seize the moral high ground with an “oh, you’re just worried about those uncouth facts when I’m talking morals here!” implying that those of us worried about factual accuracy aren’t concerned about “morals.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, I submit that something cannot be “morally right” unless it is first factually correct.  If your “moral” position requires two plus to to equal five, then it’s not either:  not equal to five and not moral.  And all the wishing in the world won’t make it so.

One might think that providing unlimited healthcare to every single individual is “morally right” but wishing for that does not render healthcare immune to the economic principle of scarcity.  There is never enough of any good for everyone to have all they want.  No matter how much you make available, someone will want more.  And the resources being used for that then become unavailable for alternative uses. (Really, this is basic economics–one would think someone with even a Bachelors in economics would understand this.)

One might think that something should be “low cost”, available at an “affordable” price however one defines “affordable” but that does not make the laws of supply and demand go away.  Price controls that force prices to be less than the “free market” price invariably cause shortages as potential suppliers look at the price and decide, instead, to turn their resources elsewhere and people who would use less of what is made under those price control conditions than they would under free market prices, leaving less available for others.

Thomas Sowell and the late Milton Friedman were both fond of saying how dangerous it is to judge a policy on its intentions rather than its results.  This is where you end up with “moral” without factual accuracy.  Or, as the late Robert Heinlein put into the mouth of his character Lazarus Long:

What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!

You can’t even begin to discuss “morally right” until you have the facts correct.  Once you have the facts right, you can then consider what, within the constraints of those facts will make the overall situation better or worse, what tradeoff (and it’s always a tradeoff, there are no ultimate “answers”) will be the “best.” Indeed, until you have factual accuracy, you can’t even decide what “best” might be.  Anything made without factual accuracy is nothing more than a pipe dream, a poorly written fantasy story that need not even be internally consistent.

Get the facts correct first.  Only then can we discuss what is “morally right.”

3 thoughts on ““Morally Right”?”

  1. “How Dare She Attempt To Force Her Morality Onto Us!”

    Note, I’ll agree that “knowing the facts” is very important but I find it ironic that a “Liberal” wants to discuss something in terms of how “moral” it is.

    “Liberals” have been Shouting “Don’t Force Your Morality Onto Others” when it comes to non-Liberals wanting to discuss their ideas. 😦


  2. While it doesn’t negate anything in this article, I’m thinking that someone who sincerely advocates for a sociopolitical ideology that’s killed over 100 million people has precisely zero standing to talk about being “morally right”.


  3. Morally right can only work with accurate facts.

    A “morality” like socialism, killer of millions, is not morally right.

    Magic thinking doesn’t really work on Earth.


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