Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.
No phrase has been uttered more often to excuse the most heinous of crimes than, “for the greater good.” It works as excellent cover because good is subjective, so everyone imagines their own good, and they want more of it. It entered the lexicon from philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the early 19th Century as part of his ideology of Utilitarianism, and has been propagated by other famous philosophers, notably John Stuart Mill. For the greater good is the basis of socialism, but it's not a condemnation of Capitalism because it's demonstrable that Capitalism has been for the greater good, so fits comfortably into the Utilitarian ideology; whereas Marxism, which is based on egalitarianism, puts equality over good: it is better for all people to be equally barefoot than only some to wear shoes.
Corollary sentiments are “for the common good,” and “the most good to the most people;” which have repeatedly been used to justify Elites making decisions contrary to the liberty of others. Unfortunately, all of these concepts require perfect knowledge and the ability to predict the future; as well as the hubris to claim to know what's best for everyone. But even with these obvious deficits, “the greater good” remains an alluring prospect to many people, especially to the youth with little life experience to recognize that they have no idea what's good.
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