Thursday, October 28, 2010

Curiosity in the Question of Utilitarian Morality

Just watched a segment of Fringe and got interested in a question. The scene was as follows:

A politician drives to a lemonade stand run by children gives them 10 dollars and buys a lemonade. He is really kind and probably will be portrayed as a Democratic senator.

Now, he obviously is a nice guy that loves to help people (or at least appear as such, though for the poor guys this distinction is moot because help is help no matter the cause). Yet his policies might destroy the lives and the wealth of many people (poor and rich) despite his better intentions (I rarely believe that people willingly want to ruin other people).

Now, is this one small gesture of gratitude worth the hundreds of lives that will be ruined by his actions? If yes, then immediate action is always more important for you than the rescue of the social welfare, which brings you at odds with most of your thoughts about state and society. If no, then you have to explain why you still vote?

I literally haven’t seen many laws or actions by the government that did not entrail a negative net worth for the citizens. So, why do so many people still believe (and it is nothing else than pure believe) in the function of strong statehood?

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