Monthly Archives: February 2014

NYTimes ‘Room For Debate’ Has Brought Affluenza Back Up

What do “affluenza” and Bat Kid have to do with each other? My essay on the moral psychology of empathy is here. I wrote:

The New York Times’ “Room For Debate” feature has brought “affluenza” back into the conversation.

Remember? A Texas judge gave a lenient sentence to a wealthy 16-year old, Ethan Couch, who killed four people while driving drunk. Rather than the 20-year prison sentence the prosecution had asked for, the judge gave Couch 10 years probation and sent him to a luxury rehab facility at the cost to his parents of $450,000. The defense had argued that Couch suffered from “affluenza,” which means, apparently, being too rich to know right from wrong. The defense’s psychologist, G. Dick Miller, seems to think that Couch’s rich parents raised him “without ever setting limits” such that he never learned that “actions have consequences.”

 
Check it out and let me know what you think!