John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
  Fake Winners and Consequentialism
The link is to the story about fake winners on Children in Need and Comic Relief. This is a relatively mild example of consequentialism where the ends justify the means.

I have always accepted that the means are part of the ends in the sense that one has to consider the whole. However, we should not lie and cheat even to achieve a good objective (in this case charity).

Another area where this is an issue is, of course, child protection. We should not accept lying and cheating by professionals even if their intentions are the good intentions of protecting children. The fact that they fail as a consequence is not surprising, however.

The debate about opt in and opt out for organ transplant is similar. The problem with opt out is that if the system failes then the state owns your organs. If you cannot be found on the register as someone who objects then things change.

The consequence of consequentialism is a harsh nasty society where people are maltreated with the best of intentions.
 
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