In order to avoid conflicts, a universal objective ethical standard should guide political policy-making. It should be an ethical standard that is not based on subjective utilitarian ethics but on objective deontological ethics.
If politics is based on subjective utilitarian ethics, the government would coerce individuals to work together in order to achieve what the government thinks is “the greater good”. It sounds good at first, but in reality, it will give room for disagreements, conflicts, and eventually, political crises that would ultimately result in violence and war. How? It’s because the definition of “greater good” is subjective. Each individual has his own definition of “greater good”. In a collectivist government, whoever controls the government will have his own idea of what “greater good” is, and he has the power to use government force to coerce everyone to work towards what he thinks is “the greater good”, whether people agree with it or not. History has proven over and over again that that is the perfect recipe for conflict. That is why in history, political ideologies that disregard individual rights in favor of forced collectivization (such as Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Totalitarianism, Nationalism, and others) have always led to violence and wars. If you look at history, you can conclude that many conflicts resulted from man’s desire to enforce his will on everyone else.
As I’ve said, in order to avoid conflicts, politics should be guided by an ethical standard that is based on objective deontological ethics (i.e. the Non-Aggression Principle). What does that mean? It means a standard that gives each individual the right to live according to his own principles without being coerced into following or supporting a way of life that he does not agree with. It means a standard that protects the individual’s fundamental and non-negotiable rights (the rights to life, liberty, and property) and allows any individual to have the freedom to do whatever he wants, as long as he is not initiating an act of aggression against another individual’s fundamental and non-negotiable rights. It is a standard that gives the individual the freedom to choose the path which he believes is “best” for him, and be fully responsible for whatever consequences his actions might have. It is a standard that allows the individual to choose to voluntarily work with other like-minded individuals not as a result of coercive collectivization, but as a result of volunteerism and desire for voluntary teamwork in pursuit of what they believe is the “greater good”.
The Non-Aggression Principle is a principle based on deontological ethics. What does “deontological ethics” mean? It simply means that the end does not justify the means. Wrong is wrong even if it produces “good” results. Any act of aggression or coercion against any individual is wrong no matter the result. In contrast to that, “utilitarian ethics” is an ethical standard that looks at the results instead of the act itself. Utilitarianism teaches that an act is ethical if in the end, it produces “good” results. But, as I’ve said, the problem with utilitarian ethics is that the definition of “good” is subjective. That’s why utilitarian ethics (i.e. “pragmatism”) usually ends up in conflicts.
Only a government guided by the principles of Classical Liberalism (Rational Individualism and the Non-aggression Principle) ensures that every individual has the freedom to live according to his own principles, to choose to voluntarily work with other like-minded individuals in order to pursue what they think is “the greater good”, and to be fully responsible for whatever consequences his actions will have.
It is said that Democracy is the ideal form of government. I agree. But Democracy ain’t just the rule of the majority. It involves the protection of the rights of the minority as well. The smallest minority is the INDIVIDUAL, and a truly democratic society is a liberal society that ensures that INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS (the rights to life, liberty, and property) are protected.
-Thomas Adrian, Submitted May 28, 2017 at 9:16 am