Someone finally says it: “Huge houses are morally wrong”

If you read enough about McMansions or mansions, you might get the idea that there is a moral dimension underlying the critiques. One commentator finally just comes out and explain this moral view: “huge houses are morally wrong.”

Which is to say, the rich are welcome to live well, but not ridiculously well. Aside from the hundreds of lives of poverty-stricken Bangladeshis or whatever that likely could have been saved had our nation’s billionaires deigned to downgrade from a massive mansion to a mere McMansion, the people, eventually, just won’t stand for it. Your monuments to excess will become beacons for the pitchfork-wielding mobs, rich folks.

Don’t be stupid. Or too greedy. Huge houses are immoral just like gold plated cars are immoral and massive private jets are immoral. Because you don’t need them, and the money you waste on them could actually save people’s lives. This is an ideal towards which we all need to strive; not buying a mall-sized home is the easiest possible way to adhere to it. You can save those starving peasants and afterwards you will still be rich. So do it. Or don’t complain when the raging poors finally rage onto you.

The moral basis of this argument is attributed to Peter Singer. The argument seems to be this: that money that was put toward the giant house could have been used for more good if it had been given to those who truly need it. It’s too bad we don’t see what Singer thinks is the “maximum wealth” someone should be able to hold onto. Interestingly, the argument cited above in the two summary paragraphs seems to be a little different: you shouldn’t have a big house because the masses will resent you and come get you. You can’t appear greedy as people will hold it against you. The difference in tone is between being able to help more people with the money you saved by not buying the huge house (positive) versus you had better not buy that big house because it will be taken away from you (negative).

Morally, what’s the biggest house you can/should have? Is this house too big while these houses are morally superior? Can the size or price of your house be mitigated by its features or what you do with it? Does it differ by region to adjust for cost of living? Does your profession matter or whether you acquired the money yourself or it is “old money”?