1
   

"Greater Good" versus Individualism

 
 
Reply Wed 19 Aug, 2009 06:01 am
What is the most important thing: the "personal good" or the "greater good"?

How far society may interfere in one's freedom for this "greater good"?

I would like to know your opinion.

Here is mine:

I'm an individualist. I think that any actions aiming the "greater good" of society must EVER respect the freedom of its members. The "greater good" is no excuse to interfere in someone's freedom of choice or expression, and can not impose any obligation that may prohibit one from doing something "honest" within society's framework. ("getting rich" is a good example). Likewise one's hability to overcome barriers can not be supressed for some law. The "greater good" must limit itself to offer equal opportunities so people can own, create or accomplish whatever their personal limitations allows them.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,859 • Replies: 16
No top replies

 
RDanneskjld
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Aug, 2009 06:42 am
@Douglas M,
Im an Individualist, I believe it's the Governments Job to protect the populations negative liberty, meaning restricting the size of the state rather than aiming for the provision of positive liberty's such as social equality, which entails an larger state. The problem is that while aiming for the provision of Positive liberty peoples individual liberty is lost, through Government coercion. This is can be clearly seen in writers such as Rosseau a strong proponent of a kind of Positive liberty, where the state would adopt the role of the interpreter of the 'General Will' of the population and I think it should be fairly clear what kind of dangers could arise from the state taking on this kind of role.

I agree with Isaiah Berlin in his Lecture the Two Concepts of Liberty, that by aiming at protecting the rights of the Individual we achieve a type of pluralism which helps prevent the rise of the coercion & state tyranny. This pluralism he argued can help prevent tyrannys who offer us with a final solution to human problems (Marxism being a fine example) which has often lead to disgusting consequences. The history of the 20th Century has been riddled with such events. This is why I believe we should aim for pluralism within society with starting protecting Individuals rights.
0 Replies
 
William
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Aug, 2009 07:28 am
@Douglas M,
Douglas M;84293 wrote:

What is the most important thing: the "personal good" or the "greater good"?


Hello Douglas. If you don't mind, let me ask you how a personal good and a greater good could be separated? What is good for one, IMO, cannot be considered "good" if it is not good or complimentary to all.

Douglas M;84293 wrote:
How far society may interfere in one's freedom for this "greater good"?


If there is interferrence, then there is "conflict" and that negates good, IMO.

Douglas M;84293 wrote:
I'm an individualist.


I will agree, we are all "individuals" that represent US-male/female/children-or the collective of humankind.

Douglas M;84293 wrote:
I think that any actions aiming the "greater good" of society must EVER respect the freedom of its members.


I understand and agree. Now, why, in your opinion, don't we have that?

Douglas M;84293 wrote:
The "greater good" is no excuse to interfere in someone's freedom of choice or expression, and can not impose any obligation that may prohibit one from doing something "honest" within society's framework.


How can the greater "good" interfere, if it is "good"? That would imply the personal good is wrong, right? For your statement to have equiliberium, one or the other must be bad.

Douglas M;84293 wrote:
("getting rich" is a good example).


Please, what is your definition of "rich"? For it can be interpreted from our present construct of our understanding of duality, to be rich means someone has to be poor.

Douglas M;84293 wrote:
Likewise one's ability to overcome barriers can not be supressed for some law.


Then ideally, the greater good would need no laws if there were no confict or interferrence in a persons desire to be good and that greater good.

Douglas M;84293 wrote:
The "greater good" must limit itself to offer equal opportunities so people can own, create or accomplish whatever their personal limitations allows them.


Please forgive the interrogation, but what, in your opinion, would constitute those limitations of the greater good, in regards to the personal good if indeed they are both "good"?

Thanks Doug,
William
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Aug, 2009 08:00 am
@William,
Hi Douglas,

I think we are all entangled with each other and it is almost impossible to make a distinction. The consequences of any action reverberate so what is beneficial for some part of the group may be very beneficial for the individual - or not. And vice-versa. You might do something that you find very beneficial for yourself (e.g. scamming for money within the law) which is not beneficial to the group, which then comes back to haunt you since the group that you live in becomes very unstable.

So, actions reverberate throughout, and who knows what unintended consequences might develop. I personally try to take as much into account as I can when I choose I given direction - both of the potential effects on myself and on others.

Rich
0 Replies
 
Douglas M
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Aug, 2009 08:56 am
@William,
William;84303 wrote:
Hello Douglas. If you don't mind, let me ask you how a personal good and a greater good could be separated? What is good for one, IMO, cannot be considered "good" if it is not good or complimentary to all.


Actually it is quite simple. This "greater good" is a benefit or something important for the majority of society, not necessarily for whole society. I desagree when you say that we can not consider a thing "good" if it is not good to all. "Good" is a relative conception, thus each one of us may have a different idea of what it is. The "greater good" is an idea conceived by adopting the "General Will" as the fairest one.



William;84303 wrote:
If there is interferrence, then there is "conflict" and that negates good, IMO.


I think here you assume that "there is no good if it is not good to all". Thus I guess that the answer above is enough for both questions.

William;84303 wrote:
I understand and agree. Now, why, in your opinion, don't we have that?
William;84303 wrote:
How can the greater "good" interfere, if it is "good"? That would imply the personal good is wrong, right? For your statement to have equiliberium, one or the other must be bad.


As I've already said, what is good for one is not necessarily good for others. Such values are relative.

William;84303 wrote:
Please, what is your definition of "rich"? For it can be interpreted from our present construct of our understanding of duality, to be rich means someone has to be poor.


Perhaps one can say that: "if one is rich, someone else (actually lots of people) is poor". By "rich" I meant: "people who have material wealth". When I talked about being rich, it was just an example of how one is free to do whatever he/she wants (within the limits, of course).

William;84303 wrote:
Then ideally, the greater good would need no laws if there were no confict or interferrence in a persons desire to be good and that greater good.


Hypothetically yes. But being "good" relative, that is almost impossible (being optimistic).

William;84303 wrote:
Please forgive the interrogation, but what, in your opinion, would constitute those limitations of the greater good, in regards to the personal good if indeed they are both "good"?
0 Replies
 
urangutan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 07:56 am
@Douglas M,
The arguement has so many facets of confliction, Douglas M, that I would develop whiplash simply by trying to encounter a reasonable outcome in any discription. Take the Amazonian rainforest for example. It is for the greater good that you Brazilians do not cut it down for the farming land you need. It may well be for the personal good for a poor person to deforrest their tract of land, so to feed the family.

You cannot argue this concept without compromise from either side and both sides would be wrong and right in either arguement. I am a member of the whole, though I would stand behind the individual who claims they must feed the family.

Without the control of governments over the individual choices we can make, no let me rephrase that, we need governments of goodwill that will control that which individuals, should not need to concern themselves with; sustinance, shelter from the elements, educational opportunities and recognition for personal sacrifice. We need individuals to support this and buisness must comply to its whims.
Belial phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Sep, 2009 06:31 pm
@Douglas M,
Douglas M;84293 wrote:
What is the most important thing: the "personal good" or the "greater good"?

How far society may interfere in one's freedom for this "greater good"?

I would like to know your opinion.


I believe both are equally important.
Without allowing the personal good, maintaining the greater good is pointless as nobody will be happy anymore.
Without the greater good, the personal good diminishes and nobody will benefit.
There must be a balance.
Idealistically, we should find a way to work for the the greater good and everyone's personal good at the same time.
However, that would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible.
0 Replies
 
TheSingingSword
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Sep, 2009 08:20 am
@urangutan,
urangutan;84495 wrote:
The arguement has so many facets of confliction, Douglas M, that I would develop whiplash simply by trying to encounter a reasonable outcome in any discription. Take the Amazonian rainforest for example. It is for the greater good that you Brazilians do not cut it down for the farming land you need. It may well be for the personal good for a poor person to deforrest their tract of land, so to feed the family.

You cannot argue this concept without compromise from either side and both sides would be wrong and right in either arguement. I am a member of the whole, though I would stand behind the individual who claims they must feed the family.

Without the control of governments over the individual choices we can make, no let me rephrase that, we need governments of goodwill that will control that which individuals, should not need to concern themselves with; sustinance, shelter from the elements, educational opportunities and recognition for personal sacrifice. We need individuals to support this and buisness must comply to its whims.


You started off well enough here, but I must take exception to the highlighted part. How can you say that an individual need not concern himself with these things? Take some of the American Indian tribes for example: There is no wealth, everybody chips in, but anyone of sound mind and body who doesn't do their part was expelled from the tribe. This is the closest to justice that any society I know of has come. The greatest roadblock in the modern world may be sheer size of countries and governments. Only those who operate locally can ascertain what kind of effort an individual is putting forth. Blindly offering everything to all is simply unfair.
0 Replies
 
khalid10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 01:17 am
@Douglas M,
But it depends on what the greater good is and how will it effect with someones freedom for example like money isnt a greater good but the stopping of war is.But if you deny someone theyre freedom in the future they might seek vengance and cause a bigger problem then the original problem

Burying a problem is easier then solving it-Ludwig Witggentsein
0 Replies
 
Doubt doubt
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 01:26 am
@Douglas M,
The greater good is to leave people alone.
Kielicious
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:02 pm
@Doubt doubt,
Sorry but the 'greater good' almost always comes before the individual. However, not in the sense that you are probably thinking of right now. The 'greater good' is used as a means to keep individual freedoms from being violated and deteriorating. After all, where do you think your freedoms come from? They definitely arent god-given; although, some would argue against that.

The common critique of Liberalism (i.e. the various forms of liberal egalitarianism and libertarianism) by Communitarianism started as an attempt to show how liberal individualism was unable to account for various communal sentiments and the maintenance of any feasible democratic system. Since the two were unable to reconcile, Citizenship Theory looked to end the opposition between individual rights and community membership. However, some say that theories of citizenship are just rehashed forms of theories of justice because any promotion of civic virtues and political participation inherently stems from principles of justice. "Indeed, 'new' debates over citizenship are often 'old' debates over justice dressed up in new clothing." (Kymlicka, pg. 287)

Nevertheless, democracies depend not only on the function of justice in its basic institutions but also on the qualities and attittudes of its citizens, especially in such a pluralistic society as ours. After all, to use an example we're probably all familiar with: the regulation of the economy can be undermined by its citizens if they continually demand excessive salaries and borrow immoderate amounts of money. And this only touches upon economic virtues. General virtues like law-abidingness, social virtues like civility, and political virtues like public discourse and performance evaluation, are all needed to avoid the degeneration of democracies. The democratic system needs to avoid aggregative models and become pro-deliberative to not only steer clear from 'the tyranny of the majority' but to also meet, what some would say, that 'critical threshold'.

So it seems some form of civic republicanism is required, but what form is up to you. Aristotelian interpretations seem both unrealitic and idealistic at the same time, while Instrumentalism seems to entail and implement some adaptation of Paternalism, but that may not be the case.* In the end though (like with most of politics) the debate is far from over, but what this does show is that there is a 'greater good' or standard that society needs to meet in order to maintain itself and to maintain the rights and freedoms of its individuals.

*Is there such a society that doesnt involve some degree of Paternalism?
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:09 pm
@Kielicious,
Kielicious;163238 wrote:


*Is there such a society that doesnt involve some degree of Paternalism?


Since a paternatlistic society is one that overdoes paternalism, the answer is obviously yes. Unless you think that all societies overdo paternalism.
Kielicious
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:20 pm
@kennethamy,
I wasnt refering to ones that 'overdo' paternalism, just any degree of paternalism.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:23 pm
@Kielicious,
Kielicious;163251 wrote:
I wasnt refering to ones that 'overdo' paternalism, just any degree of paternalism.


Yes, but for Libertarians, all paternalism is too much of a bad thing. Else, it would not be called, "paternalism".
Kielicious
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:28 pm
@kennethamy,
Good thing I am not a libertarian Very Happy
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 11:37 pm
@Kielicious,
Kielicious;163258 wrote:
Good thing I am not a libertarian Very Happy


Some are, though. The point is that "protecting children from themselves" is not paternalism, since those we are protecting from themselves are children and need parents. But, since adults are not children (by definition) when is the protection of an adult from himself not paternalism? I am supposing that the adult is not constructively a child (retarded, etc.).
Rwa001
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:17 pm
@kennethamy,
I agree with one of the earlier posts that the 'greater good' is in fact where we get most of our rights and liberties. However, in a utilitarian paradigm where we attempt to balance harms and benefits quantitatively and qualitatively, we end up ultimately making judgment calls on what is in the benefit of the 'greater good'. This is where most individualists tend to just have different interpretations of what is beneficial.

One might say that having heroin illegal is for the greater good because it limits its availability to children, and stops a significant number of people from trying the incredibly addictive and harmful drug. But for the individualist, this is a loss of personal freedom, which is a great harm to the population.

The other problem arises from the lack of qualitative and quantitative exploration into the consequences of any particular judgment-call legislation. My favorite example (since it's the topic of my senior dissertation) is statutory rape law and strict liability (as used criminally). These laws are an incredible injustice in the face of jurisprudence, and yet they stand because of our intense emotional attachment to the issue of rape, particularly involving minors. We make too many of our legal decisions based on passion and fear, rather than rational investigation into consequences.

For the betterment of society has become a blanket excuse to take away our freedoms, and this has been predicted by too many legal theorists to count.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
DOES NOTHING EXIST??? - Question by mark noble
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
  1. Forums
  2. » "Greater Good" versus Individualism
Copyright © 2019 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 09/20/2019 at 04:16:06