"For some unspecified, greater good"

published Oct 17, 2016

Sometimes, the greater good doesn't happen. Sometimes, a greater evil happens in its stead.

"For some unspecified, greater good"

One argument which comes up a lot in the discussions about the mass influx of migrants from the Middle East, is a particular version of the argument from consequences that goes more or less like this:

Well, you know, it's a good thing that government of is accepting and financing indiscriminately many migrants, as per policy P, because it will enrich and benefit people of .

I'm writing about it today in order to put that argument to rest.

Let's assume that there is a good chance that policy P will bring some future benefit to people Q in X.  at some present cost to people R in X.  We know this cost today — P has in fact led to some mass rapes in Cologne.

One can't really tell R girls in Cologne who got raped and molested "oh, but don't worry, because all that was for some unspecified greater good for Q in the future".  Or, to be fair, I can't.  I can't say such a thing and I won't.  The negatives of policy P are borne by people who do not have any say in the decision of the negatives that befell on them, and do not enjoy any of the alleged future benefits from P.  That is in no way just to R.

Now let's go further and steel-man the argument.  Let's assume that the allegations of enrichment and benefit have been deemed certain by an omniscient oracle.  Let's assume the (almost miraculosly impossible) future that the influx of those specific rapy migrants end up resulting (as a necessary precondition) in every German person getting a million more EUR 30 years down the road, which they would not have gotten if those specific migrants did not arrive.

Even in this case, the (let's call it) "sacrifice" endured by those girls in Cologne would still not be worth such a miraculously prosperous and certain outcome, for it was unjust under any modern theory of justice.

In general, promises of "a greater, future good after P is achieved" sound real nice... when one isn't being subject to the costs of P — that is, one gets deprived of one's money to fund strangers, or one gets mugged, or one gets axed — things actually happening in the now, as a direct and necessary consequence of the policy P: mass migrant influx policies in Germany.

A proper, long view of policies like P requires us to ask ourselves this: similar promises have also traditionally been used to pretext for great injustices all the way up until today.  What if the sacrifices politicians impose on people as they enforce their policies, never actually have any reward?  What if the sacrifices must continue, or even worsen, in perpetuity, until those politicians are forced to revert course? That could happen just as well — as it did during the numerous Communist revolutions, and as it continues happening in Venezuela and Cuba today.  Given enough evil and lies, the promises of any policy can be made to sound just around the corner, right after the next sacrifice.

To be clear: those Germans who are living, right now, what they perceive to be great injustice at the hands of their taxing government, and some of the people their government have financed to come in, are perfectly justified in rejecting "for an unspecified, greater, future good" as a pretext to endure their current woes.