Utilitarianism can be condensed into the statement:
The right action is the action that produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
As a credo, it works well in many situations, but famously runs up against other key principles in hypothetical situations, such as being forced to murder an innocent person in order to save many lives (perhaps by preventing a riot).
We also have what are sometimes called Kantian intuitions. These intuitions say that we should not use people as if they were mere tools in order achieve other goods, even if those goods are much greater in scope.
In real life (as opposed to philosophy classrooms and Star Trek episodes), these principles don’t come into conflict too often. However…
Chile appears likely to elect its first woman leader (make that, elected), Michelle Bachelet, a moderate socialist. The country has come a long way since Pinochet, and is now considered the region’s “most stable economy”, with “one of
While not as monstrous,
It looks like both
Post Soviet Russia shifted quickly to democratic institutions, then followed with free market reforms. Since then,
From the above, it appears that the most efficient method of transition from an authoritarian government to a free market democracy involves going through an initial phase of capitalist fascism, then bringing in the political reforms later. And, for my liberal-minded friends, remember that not only are these countries transitioning to democracies, but they’re often more liberal-socialist than the
Too bad for you if you happen to be radically minded and living during the transitional period. Of course, if
It does seem that there are some counter-examples:
’s transition was smooth and fast without needing the fascism phase. Czechoslovakia seems to be doing well now. Hungary
doesn’t seem to have benefited much from its fascism. Argentina
If, however, the transition via fascism method is so much more efficient than the alternatives that it outweighs Kantian reasons to ensure liberty first, then we end up with some counter-intuitive, even scary results:
President Bush should trim back on the whole “freedom is on the march” thing. Freedom should sit on the bench, while the people get busy opening their own businesses, exporting and importing stuff, and sending their kids overseas to get engineering degrees then come back and open LCD manufacturing plants – all the while, unfortunately, making damn sure not to say anything that would irritate their leaders.
In fact, Saddam’s regime was just the kind of fascism we too often supported in the past, but which seemed to turn out well despite our blundering. Had the
That might be cold comfort, though, to Ms... President Bachelet and the others who were tortured on the road to freedom.