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grand_admiral
Con (against)
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The Contender
Strategery
Pro (for)
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The good of the many outweigh the good of the few

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/12/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 660 times Debate No: 73326
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
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grand_admiral

Con

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."
A dictum in logic, a very useful one at that. It is one which helps make tough decisions, the sacrifice of one soldier to save the squad and such. But I say it falls apart very early on, and one cannot base their morality on this at all.

the soldiers and squad example is a simple one. but how many soldiers would you sacrifice to save a civilian? one? ten? a thousand? an army? at what point is it right to say "no more". what if that civ was bill gates? how many then? how many if it was a reformed inmate? or if it was a city? or a family with several children of all ages? or what if every one of those children were prodigies?

"The good of the many" is a philosophy which has contributed to genocides and mass exterminations. what does it matter if you make 50.1% happy if there are 49.9% unhappy? I say that though some of your actions can be based on it, your morality cannot be based on it. let us take an example:
you have a disease rampaging across the world, everyone is dying of it and it has destroyed civilization. but the world is getting back on it's feet, people are restarting the old power-stations and recreating society, though always curbed by this disease as it is infectious. The you come across a child, say 15 year old, with a parent who is immune. you could kill the parent, take the child kill the child and have a 10% change of getting a vaccine, but you know that it would be very well distributed and could cause more chaos, but could potentially shave 100 years off the rebuilding period if it all goes according to plan. You don't know if there will be more immune, or if she can pass it on to her children, your choice.
does this potential good of the many make this killing any more just? any more richeous?

of course the good of the many is a good solution, but I feel only if it is in a dire situation with every other avenue possible explored. Why? because in the case above, for saving humanity, one has forgotten what it means to be human. If humanity was completely doomed, then yes, survival at all costs, but otherwise...

there is a similar case with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I completely disagree with them, why? because of options, the Empire was ready to accept all USA demands under the condition that the emperor still had the title of "God Emperor.", did that title require the deaths of so many thousands? In retrospect, it probably was a good thing in the sense that it ensured that no one would ever use them again, for now; but that solution could have been reached another way.

My philosophy would be "the good of all, at all costs" or the "no one gets left behind" philosophy, in normal situations. moving to "self defense at almost any cost" in times of danger, "intelligence and thinking straight can get us out of any situation" in times of dire need, and only going to "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" in the the face against overwhelming odds, almost never being used.
Strategery

Pro

Unfortunately, the needs of the few do not morally outweigh the needs of the many for three very good reasons:

1) promoting the needs of the few leads to selfishness.
2) promoting the needs of the few is undemocratic.
3) promoting the needs of the few enhances social & economic inequality.
.
Selfishness
Promoting the needs of the few indisputably leads to selfishness - which is a very immoral quality that is quite synonymous with greed, power, obsessive pride, pathological narcissism, and overarching ambition for furthering one's ego and class standing at the expense of taking advantage of somebody else's wants and needs. Take for example, LeBron James.
LeBron James (#23 Cleveland Cavaliers) is quite possibly one of the most egotistical and selfish professional ball players I have ever seen! This guy is so greedy and so incredibly lustful for fame and fortunate that after his first seven beginning seasons in the NBA, having won no ring at all, he went on national TV and told the entire city of Cleveland, his home state of Ohio, along with his 2009-2010 Cavalier teammates, coaches, and fans in a ESPN Decision Special; "Y'all suck! And I'ma take my talents to South Beach!" Whereas history will remember that it was only by teaming up with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami (only the two other best players in the league) that LeBron was finally able to win an NBA championship and his coveted NBA paid trip to Disney World. This guy is so greedy, so freaking selfish, and such a twisted malevolent bastard and ball hog, that even after returning to Cleveland from Miami, he is expected to rip up his current contract at the end of the season just so he can sign a new max deal once the NBA finally agrees to raise the salary cap (http://www.businessinsider.com...). This guy, LeBron James, clearly then only cares about earning money for himself and furthering his own legacy. Putting LeBron James's needs and stats over the needs of the many, aka "the team" (and in a team sport!) is completely immoral and should not be emulated by millions of kids and young adults who someday hope to be inspiring citizens, moral leaders, or team-oriented professionals. Our role models (especially professional athletes) should also embody a virtuous "can-do" competitive spirit that rally people together when the going gets rough. Running away from your hometown just so you don't have to deal with a bad situation and win a ring for yourself only demonstrates a lousy work ethic along with betrayal to the people who supported you and were in the same boat you were. Because of greedy people like LeBron James, who put their own selfish needs first, we can believe The good of the many does in fact outweigh the good of the few.
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Undemocratic
Promoting the needs of the few over the needs of the many is inherently undemocratic in any republican society. And though democracy is expressed as "rule by the majority," it is infact the only form of government that allows every member of society an equal say in their government; whereas the constitution along with national sovreignty comes only explicitly from the people's permission (no divine right, elite body, or dictatorship). In a democracy therefore, everyone has the right to vote along with equal rights to freedom speech and freedom of expression. Because of this virtuous and universal quality that recognizes that government serves people and not the other way around; and that every citizen's voice has equal value, we can believe that democracy, and the good of the many does in fact morally outweigh the good of the few.
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Inequality
Promoting the needs of the few enhances social & economic inequality and should not be prioritized over the good of the many. In isn't fair nor morally acceptable that 5% of the US population should control over 50% of the wealth, or that the %1 of corpate CEOs on Wall Street should exploit the 99% for low wages and unfavorable work conditions. The Holy Bible says "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" (http://www.openbible.info...) Proving that promoting the good of the few isn't very Christian like at all and isn't just to us who are trying to help others, spread charity, and make the world a better place. Corporations are NOT people, and for this reason we can believe the good of the many immorally superior to the good of the few.
Debate Round No. 1
grand_admiral

Con

I didn't say that the need of the few should outweigh that of the many, just that the statement was invalid. We should respect individuals and groups, no matter the size. In passing judgment in a normal situation, the size of the group should not be taken into consideration. your example is not someone looking for maximum good, just someone who places his good above that of others, not taking into account anything else.

I can almost agree with this; however, this system of electing leaders "democracy" is flawed. if it were perfect, we wouldn't have so many problems nowadays, we wouldn't be dumbed down by so many bureaucrats and officials. It is a system which must change and evolve. It is only a stepping stone, And so it isn't a completely moral system. When we forget the rights of the minority, things like the Native American Genocide can happen, and Slavery, "the good of the many vs the good of the few" and so on. now if it was a matter of life and death, say that Mexico was very expansionist and threatened the USA's survival, or the tribes did that in some way, sure... but that did not happen. It would have been difficult to coexist, yes... but not impossible. the USA didn't try "because it was for the good of the American people. This is not a perfect system. A perfect system would not condone this.

Unequal. You are correct, there is inequality, but this is taken to the other extreme. The good of the few should not impede on the good of the many. If one man has a billion dollars... why not? but if his billion is preventing others from getting health-care, and welfare, then his actions need to be for the good of all. He must either use his billion in ways which will help those in need, or get rid of it. This would be the moral thing to do. If none of his actions can feed those people, then his billion is useless. The last argument is obviously not the case in the real world. I personally don't care if there are ten people who control 80% of the economy, as long as the people at the bottom get what is needed.

Essentially, when dealing with extremes, the sentence at the top is good 1/2 of times, once true when minority have power, other times false when majority has power. It should not be a factor in deliberations.

Strategery

Pro

Strategery forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
grand_admiral

Con

grand_admiral forfeited this round.
Strategery

Pro

Strategery forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
grand_admiral

Con

grand_admiral forfeited this round.
Strategery

Pro

Strategery forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by grand_admiral 1 year ago
grand_admiral
fix:
2) would you kill 1 or 10 or 1000 children to save the human race. does it really matter in these sittuations?
Posted by grand_admiral 1 year ago
grand_admiral
1) if someone has an Idea, please enter the debate so we can do this properly and get all our ideas out

2) xremoebius, This is meant to be a bit ambiguous because I don't have a "right answer" which is why my point rests so much in speculation. I wanted to engage in this debate to hear opposing points of view to clear up my own ideas. "10%" could be replaced with "low" odds of finding a cure the number doesn't really matter as that might change from person to person, the overarching concept does matter however.
One must predict the future as much as possible, but (I'm not religious) the Qu'ran says "if you kill one, it is as if you kill a people" (don't quote me on this), the number shouldn't really matter, it is the fact that this is a child. would you kill 1 child if it meant salvation for the human race?
I would gladly die if it meant saving humanity, I wouldn't be so hasty if it was for making humanity's life a bit better, I would probably say yes, but I cannot ask anyone else to make the same choice.
In Star Trek I would argue that I am Kirk's rebuttal to Spok "The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many"
3)flewk
I believe that "many vs few" is a moral argument and one which should be addressed more often in politics. I agree that putting quantifiers is problematic for such an abstract theme, but I am horrible at expressing myself and so must express the slightly more complex scenarios in terms of quantities, though those quantities I find help to imagine scenarios.
the immune child I find is valid. to simplify the situation, imagine that every possible alternative has been explored (blood samples, tissues, etc..., you need lots of brain tissue or something on that line)
"the good of all at almost any cost" then if you prefer; "almost" would be any resources which is not responsible for the well being of you or those close to you. of course morality changes slightly in cases where you're close to the person in question
Posted by flewk 1 year ago
flewk
This seems to be an argument regarding morality rather than the concept of many vs few.

Your whole argument falls apart if you just include quantifiers. You are just arguing for unquantifiable notions like morality or the value of an individual.

Your example about an immune child is null. Take some blood samples and study it. You don't have to kill the child.

"the good of all, at all costs" makes no sense. We are resource limited. No such thing as all costs.
Posted by xrmoebius 1 year ago
xrmoebius
First thanks for posting this it is interesting. Utilitarianism and Star Trek and all that :).
I think your argument will be contingent on a few things. First your definition of "Dire Circumstances". If the good of the many does not outweigh the good of the few unless the Dire Circumstance condition exists then it would appear you are only partially Con and at the base of it a Pro under the right circumstances. Being able to predict the future is also an issue. It might seem like a good moral idea to kill off the child if it would give you a chance to save the human race, but at what percent would it be worth it? How is this calculated. .00001%? don't kill him.. 75% kill him? If you get me here.

I think you have to take into consideration also what effect losing an individual that could have other benefits more valuable to humanity later on if allowed to live. Can you predict how much good or bad you are causing with your actions in the future?

Consider the idea.. Good for all except if you are the one that has the genetics and must be killed to "save humanity" Now make that person that has to die you, and how do you feel about it?
Posted by grand_admiral 1 year ago
grand_admiral
Yes, except under exceptional circumstances where we attack a critically immoral country or society, even if those people are in a minority. If that is the case (Libya, ISIS, WW2 Germany) We must help those who have been cheated on, or those whose justice has been forgotten. In these wars, I would support an invasion as long as it is done as bloodlessly and as cleanly as possible and where we can support the country to stand back on it's feet as correctly as possible. "maximum good, at any cost"
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
vi_spex
hm war is only good when its about self defence, so in any other case any act of war is evil, and war is negative thoughts and ideas about others or self
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