I've long thought that we should understand moral demandingness in terms of mental rather than material burdens. My willpower satisficing paper (soon to be updated!) previously tried motivating this by comparing a "doing demand" vs. an "allowing demand", where the former asked the agent to positively give up half their savings to effective charities, and the second merely asked the agent not to dodge a "Robin Hood" tax that would have the same effect. The intended verdict is an intuition to the effect that the former request is "more demanding", because more psychologically difficult to comply with, despite being equally costly. But it was a messy case, with all sorts of potential confounders. So I now think a better example for my purposes is to contrast similar "opt in" and "opt out" scenarios. Consider:
Opt in: Your local credit union (following the results of a member referendum that you voted against) send all investors with savings accounts, including yourself, optional paperwork to fill out that -- should you choose to submit it -- will transfer half of your savings to effective charities (which can be expected to save several lives, without leaving you destitute). Might you be morally required to do so? How demanding would such a requirement be?
Opt out: Your local credit union (following the results of a member referendum that you voted against) send all investors with savings accounts, including yourself, notice that they will transfer half of your savings to effective charities (which can be expected to save several lives, without leaving you destitute), unless you file some paperwork to opt out of the scheme. Might you be morally required to refrain from opting out? How demanding would such a requirement be?
I want the main difference between the cases to be that "opting in" requires more willpower on your part than refraining from opting out does. So we can further stipulate that you really hate paperwork, and the thought of filling out forms fills you with dread. And although you'd rather keep the money yourself, you do feel some pull towards promoting the impartial good, so you're not horrified by the thought of losing half your savings to this end (even though you wouldn't go out of your way to bring it about). Now, it's important to be clear about the verdict I'm aiming for with this pair of cases: I'm not committed to the claim that you're required to refrain from opting-out while not being required to opt in. Rather, I'm just going for the comparative judgment that a requirement to opt-in seems more demanding than a requirement to refrain from opting out.
Does that verdict seem intuitively plausible to you? Is there a better way to present or tweak the cases to bring out this intuition? (E.g., does it also seem plausible that a requirement to opt in would be more demanding for an agent who really loathes paperwork than the same requirement would be for, say, a contented accountant?) Suggestions welcome!