The Two Principles

Fri, 8 Oct 2010 | norman

Humanity and the individual
  1. What is good for humanity is good.
  2. What is good for the individual is good for humanity.

I hold that the first principle ought to underlie all our actions and laws.

The second principle is a generalisation, in that although it may apply to individuals who are not good for humanity, if it is impossible for them to be good for humanity, it may not apply to them. However, it needs to be a guiding principle nevertheless, because without it, policies like slavery, which is bad for some individual but could be argued to be good for the greater humanity, might be logically supportable, and I don't think that is acceptable.

I think the second principle is self-evident in that long-term, systematic oppression of the individual will usually result in unrest and the violent destruction of the oppressive order (with few notable exceptions). So the converse also holds: What is bad for the individual is bad for humanity; and what is bad for humanity is bad.

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