Utilitarian Contradiction ?

Ian Goddard (igoddard@netkonnect.net)
Sat, 23 May 1998 14:14:09 -0400

Daniel Fabulich <daniel.fabulich@yale.edu> wrote:

>...EGOISM, the philosophy that each agent should make choices
>in such a way as to maximize his-her OWN utility, as opposed to
>utilitarianism which argues for greatest utility for greatest number.
>...there's no possible way to construe...
>[utilitarianism] as a "me first" principle.

IAN: You say that utilitarianism is anti-
thetical to "me first" and you also said:

>...I am a libertarian: because it is the direct
>logical conclusion of utilitarianism.

IAN: I agree that libertarianism results in
the greatest good, but I detect a contradiction
in saying that utilitarianism is antithetical
to "me first" AND implies libertarianism.

I think it's indisputable that market activity
is defined by a "me first" principle. Yes, people
do things for others, like provide services for
them, but they do it for "me first." Let's be
realistic, nobody (or close enough thereto)
opens a business because they want to in-
crease the "greater good," they do it to
make money for me-first and my family.

Ayn Rand has very accurately, in my opinion,
mapped the me-first nature of libertarianism.
In effect, the greatest good is served by the
me-first principle with the only constraint
being the prohibition of the Initiation of
Force, Theft, and Fraud. So we could say,
I believe, that the logical utilitarian
principle is: "me first" + (-IF.T.F.).

>THIS is the philosophy you have so maligned....

IAN: I believe that any given philosophy
or proposition must be tested by seeing
how far it can stretch, such as, "Does
it support Nazism?" being an agreed
upon worst-case point of reference.

VISIT IAN WILLIAMS GODDARD -------> http://Ian.Goddard.net

REV. ROGER WILLIAMS ---> http://www.erols.com/igoddard/roger.htm