The problem with people who don’t exist

… is that so much of what we do is for them, and it’s not clear why we should.

For example, we recycle – to “save” the environment for future generations to come. But there is no certainty that these future generations will actually come. Nor is there any certainty that they will actually want the environment the way we leave it. (OK, they probably won’t want toxic playing fields and acidic seas, but that’s another discussion).

But that’s not the only problem with this hypothetical people – there is the apocryphal man on the Clapham omnibus, the everyman, the Joe Soap, Joe Public…

But he’s an avatar. Not a real person. So why should the average opinion matter? Good question. And the stock answer is “democracy”.

But why is “democracy” so highly touted? It’s really an appeal to the lowest common denominator in any society, and is the tyranny of the majority. Just because people – even most people – want something, that doesn’t mean it offers the best outcome for the greatest number of people, does it?

So, in summary – let’s stop worrying about aiming at the middle, or equally bad, aiming for some indeterminate point of mediocrity in the middle distance,  and instead focus on enlightened self-interest for the here and now.

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