Should individuals be required to sacrifice for the greater good?

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Should individuals be required to sacrifice for the greater good? Sacrificing for the greater good is an interesting paradox. I would see that as one of the highest goals of morality, but never an obligation. That is, if anyone choose to sacrifice for the greater good than that is to be applauded to the highest degree. But should someone choose to sacrifice someone else for the greater good then it may be necessary, but remains immoral, because it impinges on the freedom of another. Such decisions may be required in politics, but then very few would argue that politics is an occupation you enter to perfect your morality. Real life involves dealing with less-than-perfect people in less-than-perfect situations, and often the best action or policy is itself less than perfect, though it remains the best choice. Moral philosophy can be a guide to action in politics, but it can also be an impediment if actors feel that each action they take must be morally pure.So no, individuals should never be required to sacrifice for the greater good. If it is not a free choice, then it is not a sacifice, anyway.

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This page contains a single entry by Daniel Hindes published on February 22, 2008 8:34 PM.

Is the "Right to Exit" sufficient to protect individuals from the abuses of groups? was the previous entry in this blog.

Thoughts on Nancy Fraser's essay "From Redistribution to Recognition": is the next entry in this blog.

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