Why Serge Faguet sees cutting in lines as morally right:
Both cutting, and even admitting to it publicly, makes me uncomfortable on some animal level. Which means that (a) there is some kind of strong norm being violated here (b) I am not a psychopath, so this norm violation makes me feel a strong emotion. I would rather not feel this emotion.
From both a rational and a moral viewpoint I consider cutting the correct choice. I take away a little time/energy from people I have no relationship with. And I can invest some of that time/energy into people/causes I value a lot (e.g. my friends/family, my company/employees/investors, writing articles for people with similar interests).
This is the same thing as making a tax-deductible contribution to a non-profit I care about. I redirect resources from a large group of people (all tax beneficiaries), to a much smaller group of people/causes that I care about more.
We do these kinds of trades all the time because many things in life are zero-sum. Helped your child get into a good university? You just reduced the chances of other children getting in there. The number of spots is limited.
Also there is no way I will ever feel “fuck yes” about standing in line. In fact I feel not cutting in line is inconsistent with the rest of my value framework, and thus lacking in integrity. As a reminder “integrity” means “a personal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards.”
So why does cutting in line make me uncomfortable at all? I suspect it has to do with being a social animal and violating a tribe norm in front of a large group of other social animals.
This is the kind of internalized norm that I really would like to remove. It was planted there by society without my consent, and it constrains my decision-making freedom. No thank you.
Going forward when I go to places where I can anticipate lines (e.g. airport) I will take beta-blockers to reduce feelings of stress and de-train my brain from caring about this. This is how phobias or public speaking anxiety are cured. Guessing there are similar mechanisms at play here. Plus I’ll offer some cash to whoever I am cutting in front of — I remember reading about studies that claimed this works nearly all the time.
Ultimately lines, traffic etc should be based on markets for rights of way. It is already slightly that way — e.g. if I fly business class, I subsidize tickets of other passengers and should have priority in all lines because I paid all other participants for it. It needs to be more explicit though.
Open to hearing arguments why I am wrong to do so,given my life goals. I see it as morally correct to redirect my time/energy from people I have no relationship with to my family, employees, investors, friends etc.
After reading How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, it's allowed me to look at social norms like this differently. Morals are what you make of them.