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Bakkot comments on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) - Less Wrong

25 Post author: orthonormal 26 December 2011 10:57PM

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Comment author: Bakkot 01 January 2012 09:27:36PM 8 points [-]

This is definitely the strongest argument I've been able to come up with for making infanticide illegal.

Unfortunately, there's a second slippery slope to watch out for: outlawing things which have the potential to lead to things which are illegal is a dangerous position for a government to take. The children of single mothers are a lot more likely to grow up criminal - should it be illegal to raise a child in a family without two parent figures? Working in retail makes you much more likely to commit violent crimes against the people you work with - should it be illegal to work in a retail job?

Certainly I don't think so, and I doubt you or other reasonable people do either. These things are certainly much less likely to lead to future crimes than infanticide is, but it's a difference of quantity, not quality. The problem is that I don't trust the government enough to make "doing this increases the likelihood that you'll commit a crime in the future" a sufficiently good reason to make something illegal.

Comment author: drethelin 01 January 2012 09:35:07PM 0 points [-]

We're not talking about making new laws, and we're certainly not encouraging the government to make in-discriminatory laws about things that are possibly bad. This is a law that already exists, where changing it would lead to a worse world. Feel free to campaign against those other laws you talked about coming into existence if someone tries to make them happen, but you shouldn't be trying to get baby killing legalized.

Comment author: Bakkot 01 January 2012 09:46:34PM 0 points [-]

Fair point, but if your position on infanticide and the reasons for the illegality thereof were accepted, I strongly suspect the government would start using this as a justification for passing other less savory laws. So this only works so long as the government doesn't make any effort to justify existing laws - which is, I suppose, probably going to be the case for the indefinite future.