When someone is trying to persuade you into something, good questions to ask are: Who’s interest are they serving and how will they profit from their proposal? These questions get to the heart of ethical arguments. For example, Jonathan Smith wrote in A Modest Proposal that he receives no benefit from what his suggestion to end 18th century poverty in Ireland by selling their infant children as food.
I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, and relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children by which I propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old and my wife past child-bearing.
-Jonathan Smith, A Modest Proposal
The narrator knows his ideas are going to get anywhere if his motives aren’t addressed. Another example can be taken from the web-site Serious Eats, a food enthusiast site. In this post, the submitter admits in the footnote their views may be biased due to previous work history.
Martha Stewart* has been blipping up on the Serious Eats radar lately. First it was this astronaut meal she chose for her longtime Microsoft billionaire friend Charles Simonyi, “a gourmet space meal of duck breast confit and semolina cake with dried apricots.” Talk about going above and beyond.
Then official word comes that marthastewart.com has re-launched with a fresh new look and new features. The site, which went live in its new form a few weeks before this announcement, is quite an improvement. It seems to load faster, information is easier to find, and the recipes are easier to read- although there are so many brands, magazines, and “omnimedia” on offer that the homepage is a little dizzying at first.
Third, while reading Apartment Therapy’s Kitchen blog, I ran across a review of the...