Seat Cheats

Dalrymple’s purchase of a budget airline ticket occasions thoughts on how relying solely on the law can crowd-out social custom and encourage duplicity.

Sharp practice, if not outright dishonesty, is bound to grow in a society in which personal trust and honour are replaced by law and the legal adjudication of obligations. Everyone then does what he can get away with, for a reliance on the law as the sole determinant of the permissible destroys all sense of shame. It is small wonder that “Cheat, that ye be not cheated” seems increasingly to be the rule by which we live.

Read the essay in Standpoint magazine (hat tip: Michael Greenspan)

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