Utilitarianism: an exam prep essay

I’m using this in my exam essay since I can bring in a page of notes. I just want other people to tell me their views.

In 2007 under the Bush Administration, US military forces eliminated journalists in Iraq under the orders of higher up command while understanding their actions. A Blackhawk helicopter targeted, received orders to eliminate, and eventually massacred a group of journalists. In order to justify their actions they claimed that the camera equipment was shaped as a weapon and that they were perceived as insurgent forces. The footage of the attack was hidden under military encryption in order to secure it from public eye. After it leaked it was clearly evident that the orders were to take out the journalists. Innocent reporters and photographers working to document the war were eliminated in order to prevent further embarrassment for the US society to endure. Over a dozen were killed and 2 children were severely injured after a Blackhawk shot out a van with the visible children inside that were trying to help the reporter escape from the sprays of gunfire.

The atrocity lies in the justification. Utilitarianism isn’t just a concept, but a frame of mind that people take and societies mold around. The idea of Utilitarianism is for the moral worth of an action to be determined by the happiness it provides amongst society, and the individual.  People will live to make good decisions and act morally so that the greatest happiness is allowed, while societal structure is to protect the moral people from the destruction of their morality. Empirically, societies will create extreme moral codes that citizens follow for the sake of nobility and purpose, but the society itself will be immoral. Moral people will be willing to destroy other moral people who represent an opposing ideology of moral fulfillment. Unwittingly, good people fight other good people on different societal planes (ex: national, religious, and regional) for the betterment of utility.  The inevitable truth is that Democratic Peace Theory, or Perpetual Peace Theory, or any utilitarian experiment to lead towards peace is responsible for causing the continuation of violence and unhealthy dispositions amongst equally moral people with similar values.

When a leader, like George W. Bush and/or his staff (responsible for the events that transpired), want to protect the American Populous by silencing reporters and then hiding it from exposure so that Americans can continue to feel omnipotent in moral standing, Utilitarianism justified those decisions. There aren’t leaders of nations who do things without some sort of justification for their decisions. Although it probably wasn’t ideal, the administration went with what created the most beneficial consequence. Utilitarianism is responsible for the destruction of some of the noblest professionals in their field, and we are the ones to blame. All of the moral people of these immoral nations idolizing the concept moral happiness to the point that its better to kill groups of people than to comprehend and reject the flaws of an idea that we give into out of ease.  The insignificance of human being, already small enough in the enormity of the universe, evaporates into the metaphorical fog of disillusionment when it is lost to the concepts on the metaphysical creations of man.

The irony of Utilitarianism is what should lead to its ultimate demise. Consistent contradictions in its goals aren’t all of its faults. Utilitarianism, which strives for a benevolent world through consequential decision-making, acts as the major conductor of global peril because of its consequential decision-making. In searching for positive consequences, societies adhering to Utilitarian ideologies act in non-consequential ways that lead to sprouts of pleasure that, like a weed, deteriorate the world into something as bare and unnourished as Haiti has been over the last 100 years. Since no one ever acts to combat the doom that sprouts of happiness create, eventually our barren lands of good will won’t be able to support our global foundations of morality and, like in Haiti, we can be damaged by something so outstandingly unsuspecting that we perish on our pitiful land without the hope for survival.

This is my fear, and it only gets worse as time goes on.

—If anyone wants to ask (Winfield People), I did not use a dictionary to write this so stop pretending that I don’t know what I’ve written and if you have questions about what it means just ask. This is directed towards Zavier and his outrageous accusations that he knows aren’t true. Thanks

-Tait

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Just so we all know…

I’m in college and what not so I feel like a real grown up.  Seeing as how I might need help I’ll put down my classes and see if anyone can help me out.

PHIL 180 Intro to Social and Political Philosophy.
(Emphasis on the death penalty and Affirmative Action)

POLS 150 Intro to Comparative Politics

GERM 104 Intro to German

COMP 101 English in the most boring way possible

MATH 101 College Algebra that we all learned in High School but don’t remember

And if anyone wants to help me with any of the classes I have, I would be appreciative.  I’m not the biggest fan of my discussion groups for my Philosophy and Poli Sci classes.  Anyone who wants to talk about anything it could really help me.

Just putting it out there
-Tait
Thanks

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Upcoming Attractions.

I apologize that I haven’t been posting lately. I’ve just been living it up in D.C. trying to get accustomed to the city life before I go back to Kansas to spend my days in boredom.

I was going to try to volunteer for the Democratic National Party while I was here but I have no idea how to do that on my own, I had a friend who I was going to have help me but that idea fell through.

On Friday I’m going back to Kansas.  My goal is to get another review post in before I leave, but right now I need to figure out how to get to Georgetown so it will have to be later.

Live Long and Prosper
-Tait

P.S. If you’re both reading this, and you’re the giant prick that keeps spam bombing me, I hate you. That is all.

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Emailing an old Bhuddist Guru

I was lucky enough to get my awesome trust fund check today.  In the past I’ve seen it as all of the child support money I’ll ever get after my father fled to Brazil to avoid jail or whatever it was he had to get away from here in the states.  Its a whopping $4,770.74.  Fucking huge I know, you don’t have to remind me.

I decided to email my dad saying thank you after I got it.  It seemed fitting at the time.  This is the email that I sent.  I thought that it would be better to share it, not because I was proud of it, but because I’m weak on the inside so if I put it out there for the world to see than its easier to distance myself from my problems.

“Dear Randy,

Today I had a very strange day.  I know that my day/life doesn’t really hold any significance in how your day/life goes by, and usually it goes the same for me, but today I finally got my trust fund check that held as the last connection between you and I.  After over a decade of interest collecting I have $4,770.74 to have as an ode to my father.  It makes me feel like I somehow was given a life without a true father, and received a small fiscal reward as my gift for doing so.  As if the years of self loathing, the fear of getting close to anyone, the endless “what if” thoughts, and the sever depression was all allowed with roughly five grand as an acceptable payment for ensuring such behavioral traits.

To be honest it is amazingly upsetting.  Not only do I feel as if I was cheated in life by some of the conditions that you put me under, but I also feel like you put a price on surviving it.  A price that I would sacrifice infinitely in order to have that life where survival wasn’t the way I portrayed living.  Its like you actually put a number on the hardship I’ve gone through.  I understand better than most that I ought to be grateful that I lived the life that I did and was able to receive anything at all, but the fact that you wanted to ease your guilt by giving this much to the someone is insulting.  I honestly can’t believe that after everything you’ve done that this is how you signify your guilt or whatever it was you were trying to accomplish with this trust fund.  I have no idea what your reason is for taking the actions that you did, therefore I must assume the reasoning for myself.  Know though, that no matter what it may be, I am ashamed to know that I am your son.

The last time I emailed you I told you that you have been dead to me for a couple years now, and things do not return from the dead.  My life has been lived to this point and I do not need some old man reminding me that I was able to be abandoned.

Thank you for money, I’m sure it was your grandest gesture of outstanding moral character.  Also I put on some pictures like you had asked.
-Tait Hawk Oren White-Rasmusson

PS I read the email you sent to my mom and so its clear
1.) I am not Gay, and I am not struggling with my gender identity.
2.) My English teacher was not raping me in his spare time, or even thinking about doing so.
3.) The astrological chart doesn’t conform with who I am. Also it was off by an hour.
4.) I’m an Atheist not a “God fearing Christian” and that’s why I have a hard time living in Kansas.
5.) For the record I am not that interested in Buddhism, and I don’t give a shit about karma.”

That was it, I hoped you liked it. Please note that the PS is based on an email my dad sent to my mom saying that I was gay and didn’t know it yet, that my English teacher was raping me, and that my astrological chart said I was someone who would go through that thereby making it truth.

At this point I want to pretend that I just am, rather than thinking I came from a pile of craziness.
-Tait

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Reading Ridiculousness Goes On

I’ve had a ridiculous day today, it all started with reading the Dennett book…

I’m still reading Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell.  I have a habit of reading in phases because I get too involved with what I’m reading about.

Reading chapter two of Breaking the Spell was a scary experience for me.  For me the underline theme of the entire chapter revolved around Dennett’s argument that mankind is ignorant of its own ignorance.  This argument was made based on the fact that people cannot see color in their peripheral vision.  That correlated into people not breaking the taboo against studying religion because we haven’t really looked into how much we do not know about religion, how we see what we feel is the truth and remain ignorant to what we do not know.  And even though every person I talked to about this had somehow already learned about our grey peripheral vision, I was still shocked that it was true.  I now think that this fact goes beyond a metaphor for our ignorance to the unknown.  I can’t help but wonder if we as people on the most basic level create a psychological block against observations that do not conform to our desired notion of the truth.  If that is the case than it seems that every individuals behavioral traits are based on creating perfection (Perfection because it all has to be based on what it is that we desire to be true), that maybe at the core of every person is a selfish desire to be perfection based on our preconceived notions of what perfection is.  Modesty and “altruistic actions” must then be a self-serving behavioral trait thats purpose is to glorify a persons perception on their self.  And to a scarier length, the concept of “God” is a manmade creation that serves the purpose of glorifying our actions/intentions since we are made in the image of God and base our decisions on being the most perfect decisions possible, even though it is just an artificial way of creating the satisfaction of believing we are perfect…or at least on an individual basis.

But not seeing color in my peripheral was bothering me much more than just because of what it made me think about the human psyche’s lust for God, it also made me want to realize what the truth was.  All day I’ve been trying to grasp the concept that everything to my side was grey, maybe thats why I like grey things since they create a sense of true uniformity throughout all of my vision.  Needless to say I’ve been experimenting with my own vision all day and it has lead to something very peculiar.  I learn that something isn’t as I perceive it is so I must come to understand the truth, but that desire to to see what is factually true forces me to assume that my peripheral vision is grey even when I feel like its not.  I then think I am overcompensating something that is very simple.  Feeling like I am overcompensating leads to me cycling back into the original concept that I understand the colors in my peripheral because I can actually see them.  This cycle repeats itself continually but thats not the important part. What is important is that this cycle occurs for a reason, possibly that I need to feel that I understand what is true, but if I have some idea of what the truth is than I have to make it fit.  My desire to understand something, as I feel it ought to be understood based on its prefect truth, stems from my selfish desire to be perfect.  And even though I can admit to not being perfect my admittance is a sign that I wish to be perfect and I therefore only make decisions on my desire to be as perfect as possible.

The last thing I started to think about while I was reading the second chapter of Breaking the Spell was how much I hate mankind.  I want to think that the ultimate goal of man is to become the Nietzschean Superman.  But that is impossible because we grow further and further from that goal constantly.  Literally our self-serving nature destroys the possibility.  I think I just hate people in general.  But I feel like I finally lost all hope in humanity today, I had a bad experience with little Mormon guy.  This guy had posted an insulting remark about liberalism, as an angered liberal I felt it was necessary to inform him that what he had done was a sign of his ignorance.  The response I received was that he had already looked into it and it was stupid, then he blocked me so I couldn’t respond to how hypocritical his remark was.  Now why I hate people…This guy is a Mormon obviously, and not only that but also he is an Asian Mormon.  Mormonism was created as an American religion that glorified the actions that people made during the movement west.  The underline theme of Mormonism is that the American man is supreme, and that the American man is a white, land owning, family man.  Anyone who didn’t fall under this mold of the American man was a second class citizen, or in the case of Native Americans or any person who was any degree of brown, a descendant of the Devil.  Thats why the Mormon Church was classified as a Hate Group for years.  But if its not enough that he’s already an abomination to his religion, he feels like he is better than any other person or culture.  When he took a trip around the Mediterranean he was only able to talk about how he had fun but how the other European and North African cultures could never hold a candle to the vastly superior American culture.  My hatred for humanity stems from this, as long as there are ideologies such as this one there will never be a possibility for a progressive future.

Thats pretty much it, I guess I kinda suck at conflict resolution but whatever

Sorry it was so long
-Tait

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Reading Ridiculousness

Breaking the Spell. Chapter One

I started reading Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell.  As I was reading a few things made me start to think (as it is meant to).  I only finished the first chapter, but even for how little I’ve read I feel I have to question a part of it.

Can all of the conclusions made in the introductory portion of the book be taken as absolute?

I completely agree with Dennett about everything concerning humans as animals.  I understand that there is almost a parasitic dependancy that we have to ideas, how religion is that parasite that we’ve created in order to create a sense of what to do with our lives (just like the ants climbing to the sheep because the parasite forces the decision to do so on their brain).  I have to agree with Dennett about his argument that we need to study and understand religion in general since it is a major part of the lives of most people in society, and even though I have a blatant disagreement with religion and spirituality in the most general sense of its being, I still feel like learning as much as possible about it is of utmost importance in order to benefit society.  But I disagree with Dennett on a few issues not concerning what religion is but who the religious are.  I feel like his argument that there is a paradox between religious people is flawed. I believe that religious people who pray for peace and feel that their religion is the beacon of said peace, and religious people who feel like their religion will bring dominance and power are the same, and not separated by different idealistic views.  The basis of both ideas is to create a uniform idea of absolution for all people, like monopolizing the individual understanding of the greater picture.  Both the peace prayers, and the war makers are searching for the same Kantean idea of perpetual peace via religion.  This idea is what makes me feel like some of the simple observations on religious people that Dennett addresses are false.  I cannot say that if I agree with the statement, “we others have no right to intrude on their private practices” as a virtuous statement with the best intentions and say that some religious people simply looking for peace are also holding good intentions.  Religious people are part of a monopolistic system which contrasts greatly with the protections of minority right or individual liberty.  I guess to sum this argument up I feel like there is a generic mold of the religious person, that every religious individual does shares the same view in mind and does so without good intentions.  As a person I have never encountered a religious person who is not generally concerned with the way other people think, and I have come to believe that they don’t exist.  But then I’m from Kansas so the probability that I would be exposed to such a person is slighter here than almost anywhere else…well maybe not as badly as Utah but that’s not the point.  The point is that the argument by Dennett is that even religious people with good intentions are not enough, but I disagree.  The overall outcome is the same I suppose but its still a slightly different means to that end.  

I could be wrong, please tell me why if I am.  Honestly I absolutely love the book so far, I’ve underlined at least a fifth of the text I’ve read, but I probably will need some help figuring it all out.
-Tait

BTW what is a Bright exactly?  All I know is that its supposed to be how Dennett characterizes himself but I still don’t have an absolute definition.  Its just a little confusing.

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