The parent test
Posted on June 16, 2011
A couple weeks ago, I wrote that Freakonomics author Steven Levitt had fired up controversy on his blog by outlining what he called “The Daughter Test” of morality and law:
… the primary determinant of where I stand with respect to government interference in activities comes down to the answer to a simple question: How would I feel if my daughter were engaged in that activity?
I linked to some discussion of that proposal (1, 2), but weeks later, Levitt’s post is still being discussed. The latest addition to this conversation is on The Economist blog, in which the author proposes a corollary called “The Parent Test.”
I would like to propose a corollary to the daughter test: the parent test. That is, a determinant of where you stand on the moral behaviour of politicians may come down to the following simple question: Would you be ashamed if your mom or dad was caught doing this?