Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by JBeukema, May 11, 2010.
Thought I'd mirror this guy's post here, as it should make for interesting discussion
The individual is not bound to act in the greater good.
The only constraints on an individual's actions are in so exercising his liberties that he does not violate the rights of another individual. Whether or not his actions benefit some undefined greater good is a nonissue.
The perfect government affords us freedom to act in our own best interests right up onto the point where such individual freedom creates a tragedies of the commons.
We don't have that perfect government by a long shot, but that's, in theory, what this nation stands for.
The problem as I see it is this...who decides when an individuals freedom to do as he chooses becomes a tragedy of the commons?
And reasonable men can disagree about that issue, too.
Pollution is a good example of that.
We ALL pollute the earth just by being.
But some of us pollute it more than others.
At what point does society have the right to say to one person or group of people:
What you are doing, the mess you are making, is effecting everybody else, ergo, everybody else (acting through the government) has the right to make you stop?
This is not as easy as question to answer as the radicals (of the libertarian or of the collectivist persuasions) would like us to think.
But individual FREEDOM often does not serve the greater good. Often individual freedom actually is a malignancy to the commonweal. (Crime is perfect example of uncurtailed freedom, for example)
And so we creates laws to curtail our personal freedoms in defence of the collective good.
No society can exist in a state of absolute freedom.
Not even the most wild eyed libertarian would want to live in such a state of anarchy.
But total freedom IS anarchy.
If freedom doesn't serve the great good it's because people are ignorant to what's in their best interest. And such people will destroy themselves whether they are free or in bondage. So it's better to be free.
Freedom has nothing to do with a societies greater good. We are not free in the US because that is for the greater good. We are free because it is the right thing to do.
The US has never been a collective and claiming one must be for the greater good and that freedom must serve the greater good is all about collective.
I have a right to be as free as I can be so long as my freedom does not harm another's freedom. That right was bought and paid for by our Founding Fathers, numerous wars and lots of dead and maimed soldiers.
No one has the right to remove my freedom because of some Greater Good. And I will fight to protect my right be free from anyone that tries to take it, even claiming it is not for the greater Good.
What is freedom?
I would like to have the freedom of living on an un-polluted shoreline but apparently I don't because some think that the greater good means drilling off my coast.
-because that is good?
I love how people say you shouldn't have to do that which is 'good' or 'moral', yet they then claim that their anarchy is good and moral and claim the moral highground for their arguments.
It's not good for a society to be free? It's not moral and just?
save for the whole federation thing...
like roads, police, and a common military defense?
say the anarchist and the murderers.We lock up rapists and deny them their freedom and liberty for the greater good of the community.
No. it simply is.
The individual good does not necessarily have to be the greater good. The term greater good usually implies that one act not with one's own individual wants and needs at the forefront but rather works for another's benefit.
An individual has no obligation to work for the benefit of another. His only obligation is to not violate the rights of any other individuals.
Maybe you should start by defining your terms.
What exactly do you mean to be the "greater good"?
Separate names with a comma.