Objectively assigning moral blame is a difficult thing to do, and when victims are involved it gets that much harder. But luck should be separate from morality.
We should think about our charity as carefully as we reflect on our work life and as responsibly as we strive to manage our personal relationships. We can do better than The Stanford Fund wants us to. Helping the very needy is a more admirable legacy for a Stanford education.
An argument that relies on this rhetorical ploy--that gets to avoid defending its weakest points, and obscures differences and logical links between different beliefs--is exactly what we need to avoid. In order to formulate intelligent policy, we must seek to elevate reason over rhetoric--and always be wary of the motte and bailey.
We seek to highlight the fact that at the university undergraduate level, at least at Stanford and likely outside of it, there is shamefully little ethical pushback against the use of stories instead of science to try to prove points about the world.
Not eating animals should not be about having lots of rules or having an annoying diet, it should be about not causing animals to suffer and not damaging the earth.
Instead of just encouraging a better-educated population of science enthusiasts, we need to give people the training to engage with the science in a productive, critical manner while holding scientific institutions to the standard of excellence we need.
Giving students (especially freshmen) the option of living in dorms without RFs provides them with an opportunity to experience dormitory life and their newfound independence without having to worry about disturbing the RFs and their families.
While the growing market of animal products should be encouraged for their moral and health benefits, the market is also interesting for its potential to spark one of the greatest changes to the human diet in recent history.
In the end, the political situation is a familiar one: big business and the U.S. government allying to dupe, or at least not protect, the American consumer. Hopefully these new dietary recommendations represent a reversal in this trend, but if they do not, we need to ensure that our health guideline are based on science, not the wishful thinking of Big-Ag.
We should not ridicule or ignore shoddy journalism, but rather reward accuracy and thoroughness. We need a strong, active bulwark against the spreading of misinformation and flimsy reasoning. And those with the expertise must provide that bulwark, on behalf of everyone still trying to learn.
A dangerous rift is forming between what technology enables and what law enforcement needs. Thus, we must reconcile our protective instincts towards our personal data with our protective instincts towards ourselves and our country.
We need policies that eliminate perverse incentives and disincentivize free-riding. Otherwise, the mundane, selfish shortcuts, like littering and cheating and carelessness, snip away at the foundations of a healthy society.
Stanford students have a special opportunity to strategically channel their high earning careers and make lasting social change. It is our duty to the world to consider these unconventional paths to helping those in need.