Utilitarian Consequentialism

Summary:

  • Utilitarian Consequentialism deceptively markets itself as objective.
  • Utilitarian Consequentialism narrowly promotes select values, at the vast expense of all other pursuits.
  • Utilitarian Consequentialism cannot achieve productive ends through destructive means.
  • Utilitarian Consequentialism is focused on destruction, and as such, achieves destruction.
  • Utilitarian Consequentialism should not be confused with genuine discussions of utility or consequence.

Definitions:

  • Utilitarianism defined: "The greatest good for the greatest number."
  • Consequentialism defined: "The ends justify the means."
  • Utilitarian Consequentialism defined: The combination or mixture of Utilitarianism and Consequentialism."

Not Objective

Utilitarianism and Consequentialism often attempts to market itself as objective, which is misrepresentative and far from the truth. Objective statements cannot tell a person what they 'ought' value, only whether X-act promotes or undermines Y-pursuit.

Utilitarianism's implicit subjective value is "greatest good for the greatest number," which is further compounded by undefined/vague/subjective use of the word 'good.' Consequentialism follows a similar pattern but tends to be ill-defined. The pattern of Consequentialism, "the end-X justifies the means-Y", suggests that one ought value X, and whatever means-Y violates ought not be valued, or valued less.

Combining utilitarianism and consequentialism, the concluding value is "the greatest good for the greatest number, ought be pursued regardless any expense to other values and pursuits."

Monolithic Value

By narrowly focusing on the singular monolithic value, "greatest good for the greatest number," utilitarianism implicitly does so at the expense of all other values, pursuits, and goals. The pursuit of utilitarianism may be generally desirable, but is merely one of many values one might wish to pursue.

Values and pursuits taken to an extreme frequently collide with other pursuits; "where does ownership of my fist end, and your ownership of your nose begin." When any singular value is pursued without consideration of other values, even light gains are pursued at vast expense and destruction of other values and pursuits. Instead, productive and balanced 'ethics' (non-destructive human interaction) require consideration of a multitude of values, and consideration of the limits of any singular value.

Good through Evil?

Utilitarianism/Consequentialism asserts that 'good' (productive, beneficial) may be achieved through 'immoral' acts (destructive, harmful, controlling, etc).

Destructive acts do not produce value, but rather expend resources in the pursuit of forcefully diverting value from one source to another. The result is an inescapable net-loss of value. Only by chance or extremely unlikely scenarios do destructive acts actually achieve productive ends.

Alternatively, value may be efficiently created by focusing on production of value, and by pursuing the intended end directly.

Destructive Focus

Utilitarian Consequentialism is focused on destruction, specifically on justifying destructive acts. It is not focused on productive acts, and as such, it not only achieves destructive means, but also destructive ends. Much of history's most destructive and "evil" acts have been committed with awareness of their destructive activities, but justified and obscured behind claims that these acts will eventually achieve some greater good. The historic and predictable result is plenty of success achieving the destructive means, with little-to-no success towards the claimed greater good.

Hypothetical Bait & Switch

Many justifications from utilitarianism rely on unlikely hypothetical scenarios weighted in their favor. The purposes of most hypothetical, such as "what would you do in a hurricane" is most often to promote some alternative form of morality that has limited or no applicability to the real world.

Here's the basic structure:

  • Design an alternate reality
  • Design that alternate reality as to maximize one factor of human interaction, while minimizing another.
  • Use those distorted incentives to demonstrate an apparent "exception."
  • Use that exception to demonize one ethic and promote another within the hypothetical world
  • Use that exception to demonize one ethic and promote another within the real world

This is otherwise known as "bait and switch."

Consequences vs Consequentialism

Utilitarian Consequentialism markets itself as the discussion of utility and consequence, which is highly deceptive.

Utilitarians define utility as "the greatest good for the greatest number." That definition is at best a description of a single type of utility, however does not define utility itself. There are many types of utility one may wish to achieve, even including 'greatest-good,' and as such utilitarianism does not define utility.

Consequentialism is similarly burdened with preconceptions and weighted value systems. Consequentialists notoriously evade the consequences of the destructive acts, and instead try to divert all focus on any gains (even if slight at best) that might be achieved for their intended end. A genuine discussion of consequences includes discussing ALL consequences.

This sets up a bait-and-switch false dichotomy, conflating utility with utilitarianism, and conflating consequences with conventionalism. The mistake being that one who values utility/consequences falls into the trap utilitarianism/consequentialism.

Conclusion

Utilitarian Consequentialism is a deceptive and destructive ideology, and should not be confused with genuine discussions of utility or consequence.

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