Monday, March 5, 2012

A reply to Weedwackr: On claim to act upon the "greater good"

Weedwackr had the concern of what to make of an argument similar to one of this form: "IF the not-sharing of 'r' (where 'r' is the product of the labor of 'Y') with 'X' would result in some significant negative outcome (unhappiness and/or social/economic collapse) THEN would 'V' be justified in serving the 'greater-good' by applying force/coercion/extortion against 'Y' to compel the sharing of 'r' with 'X' until such time that 'Y' seeing the positive result of sharing 'r' with 'X', would do so willingly."

Weedwackr, I would like to thank you for sharing your concerns. Certainly, we hear such arguments often; that something must be done over the objections of individuals because it would be in the best interest of those individuals; but I think that this argument may have some serious defects (ethically unsatisfactory conclusions).

If 'V' claims for himself or their-selves, the sole right to make a determination of what is in the best interest of 'Y' or 'W', OR that 'V' claims for himself or their-selves the sole right to determine the "greater-good", THEN the claim of 'V' is non-reciprocal (which is to say, that 'V' does not extend this same principle to 'Y' or 'W', to allow 'Y' or 'W' to determine what is in the best interest or "greater-good" for 'V').

THEREFORE 'V' claims a right or ethically-legitimate-power-to-act which is not universal, but particular to 'V'.

THERFORE the claim of 'V' must imply that 'V' has some significantly different quality that justifies this non-reciprocal assertion of principle (ie. a different kind of person/people in possession of some substantially greater-quality: greater knowledge, greater virtue, greater race, greater wisdom), such that 'V' must force/coerce/extort 'Y' and 'W' to do 'v' (some wish/desire/command of 'V') so that the "best interests" or "greater good" can be accomplished.

IF 'V' claims the sole power to determine the "best interests" of 'Y' and/or 'W', and/or the "greater good" of all, THEN the the "best interests" of 'Y' or 'W' and/or the "greater good" of all, is THEREFORE materially equivalent to whatsoever is desired by 'V'. THEREFORE, the claim that 'V' has the right or legitimate-power-to-act for either the "greater good" or in the "best interests" of 'Y' or 'W' is materially equivalent to the expression, that: 'V' has the right to do, whatsoever 'V' desires, regardless of the thoughts, objections, life, liberty or property of any other person(s).

THEREFORE, the claim of 'V' is materially equivalent to the claim of the tyrant. "Might makes right; whatsoever I desire is justice."

This derivative from the premises is ethically unsatisfactory and completely counter-intuitive for myself and as the premises seem dubious at the outset, I feel justified in denying the assertion of any person or persons ('V'), such that 'V' has the sole right OR ethically-legitimate-power-to-act for any "best interests" or "greater good" that 'V' determines such that it would violate the life, liberty or property of any other person.

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