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Social & Political Philosophy

Good and Right- Zoe and Keagan

Who decides what is right in society?

There is the good, and there is the right. What is good is what we find to hold value in and of itself, the things that have an intrinsic value. It would be good not kill people. The good however is not always a shared concept, people don’t value the same things. Therefore not everyone is good to everyone else because of this what some people perceive as good may not be good to someone else. This discrepancy is the reason why we have extremists, wars, and frivolous protests shutting down our economy.

On the other hand, we have what is right. What is right is what will eventually achieve what is good, and in our imperfect world that isn’t always the nicest.

Who actually gets to decide what is right, then? If there is a tough moral decision, who gets to make it? If the outcome of the decision is something that will affect the whole country, should it be the majority of people? Or should it be a small group of well-educated people? Or just one person? What changes when you need to make the choice quickly, and there isn’t enough time, or if it’s a complicated situation and some of the people who want to vote are also ignorant?

In the ideal version of democracy, it is the rule of all by all. That is, every decision would be made by consulting every person. Practically, there is neither time nor ability to consult everyone before any major decision. Theoretically, we get around this by getting people to make one decision every four years, that best represents the core values they feel are the most important. The majority of people can then spend their time going about their lives, while a smaller group of people make the many small decisions that governing a large group of people requires. These decisions can be based on what has been voted by the majority of people as the most important value to adhere to. The decision of what is right is made by a (relatively) small group of people, taking into account what the large group of people think is good.

 

 

 

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Discussion

One thought on “Good and Right- Zoe and Keagan

  1. Guys, you made some good points. But there are some things I disagree with, as well as some I’d like to respond to.

    1. “The decision of what is right is made by a (relatively) small group of people, taking into account what the large group of people think is good.”

    Firstly, the decisions these people make aren’t always about what is right. Remember, our government today practices a form of pragmatism, and often what is right is compromised to what is practical.
    Secondly, they often don’t take into account what the large group of people (who voted them into power) sees as good. Quite often, they dictate the ideals of their party rather than the ideals of the majority.

    Now, I understand that an ideal democracy would practice this, but will we ever reach an ideal democracy? If not, we should define democracy with a sense of realism, shouldn’t we?

    2. “The good however is not always a shared concept, people don’t value the same things”…”In the ideal version of democracy, it is the rule of all by all.”

    Clearly, the first statement denies the second validity – if all hold different viewpoints, the ideal rule by all would be hindered. Of course, you probably disagree with this. You might say that opposing viewpoints would bring about a happy medium, the perfect society. While this may be good in concept, it has its struggles. The current state of democracy in the United States is a result of this – rather than having a middle ground, you have two polarized sides.

    Overall, good starting thoughts,
    Jonathan

    Posted by JonathanToews | January 18, 2013, 7:11 pm

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