Re: Utilitarian Contradiction ?

Michael Lorrey (
Sun, 24 May 1998 14:12:58 -0400

Ian Goddard wrote:

> Daniel Fabulich <> wrote:
> >> 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.
> >
> >They are not contrary at all, if you agree with me that libertarianism is
> >more conducive to net utility than any other political scheme (except
> >possibly anarcho-capitalism, but I believe anarcho-capitalism will arrive
> >at a libertarian system of laws).
> IAN: If we say there is "no possible way to construe
> utilitarianism as a 'me first' principle," we say
> the sets of "me first" (M) and utilitarianism (U)
> are disjoint, such that the intersection (^) of
> M and U is the null set(/), ergo: M ^ U = (/).
> If a libertarian society (L) is a society defined
> by the free market where individuals act according
> to their own measure of what is in their best in-
> terest, there is an intersection of L and M.
> Therefore, if L = U (as we agree), then there
> IS an intersection of U and M, such that the
> cited claim that M ^ U = (/) would be untrue.
> I think that M and L intersect, but not by 100%,
> which is to say, as you've articulated, that not
> all things that can be defined as "me first" can
> be defined as libertarian. I think that L is either
> equal to U or all of L is in U, such that no L is
> external to U (which I think we agree). I believe
> that L may be defined: "me-first + nonaggression."

I would agree with most of this, however, not with the total concept of
nonagression. Personal Caveats vis a vis nonagression:

a) no first strike policy against those who espouse and practice the same.
b) maintain a first strike policy against those who fall into a utilitarian or
communitarian subset which has in the past demonstrated a high likelihood to
practice first strike agression.
c) maintain and practice skills and equipment for first strike preparedness, as
the threat of instant retaliation seems to be the only deterrent which agressor
type sets respect.

> No question this may be open to improvement, and
> does not constitute any deeply imbedded analysis.
> >Take this thought experiment: You have the opportunity to steal something
> >you want; you know that you will not be caught. Your utility will
> >increase if you steal it, while the owner's utility will decrease more
> >than yours increases. An egoist, acting to maximize agent utility, will
> >steal; a utilitarian, acting to maximize net utility, will not steal.
> IAN: Or a libertarian adhering to the
> nonaggression principle. I think that
> "utilibertarianism" is egoism under
> the principle of nonaggression.

While I have found that in some cases, even returning property which had been
lost and the owner had given up on can reap benefits, however not in all cases.

   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
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