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Happy Clappy Positivity Vs A More Holistic Approach.

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As a general principal, being positive is most often, a good thing. However, sometimes people do not consider the wider picture, and while they act positively towards one element of a wider group; they give little thought to how their actions impact and affect everything (or everyone) else within that group.

 

I lean towards the kind of ethics that emphasise the impact of our actions, rather than the goodness of our intentions. I think people are often in situations where they intent to do good, and may well impact on one or two people in a positive way, yet, impact on several other people negatively (a fact which they did not consider, and may well be oblivious to).

 

I'm curious, what do people think about this? Is it more important that we have good intentions, or, that we have a good impact on other people?

 

As an example, I've just read there is a petition to get the Covid vaccine out to people working in the emergency services. Of course, that's a great idea, and they for sure deserve it; but we can't just magic extra vaccine out of thin air, and also the infrastructure to deliver it. Inevitably, if we give the vaccine to these people (many of whom will be young and so less risk of death), we will be taking it away from people currently on the priority list, the elderly. Do people factor this in when they decide to sign such a petition?

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The JCVI decided the top 5 priority groups on age and vulnerability to the virus and their care givers to prevent transmission, deaths and severe illness and resulting impact on the NHS. From what I’ve heard they will be considering all front line workers when the next cohorts are decided. As with the pandemic the vaccine programme has brought out the best and worst in people- I’ve heard so many older people complaining about so and so who’s a year younger getting the jab  before them. I would imagine the governments eagerness to get kids back to school will give the teaching unions a bargaining tool for inclusion in the post February groups 

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'The road to hell is paved with good intentions'

Don't know where that saying is from but it's true. Good intentions are no good without actions to match.

I agree actions have to be considered from different angles, but the trouble with that is that it can paralyse people into doing nothing at all. We are human, not perfect and will always be heir to doing the wrong things for the right reasons and the right things for the wrong reasons. But surely the real evil is not to try. That is what I believe is our reason for being here; to help others where we can. 

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'The road to Hell.....etc,' is a saying of Dr Johnson recorded in Boswell's Life, entry for 16 April 1775.  Earlier, George Herbert gives it as 'Hell is full of good meanings and wishings' in Jacula Prudentum, 1633.  (Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable). I bet you're all glad you now know that!

 

I'm more inclined towards the utilitarian view of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832): 'The morality of an action should not be measured according to religious criteria but by 'utility'- its effect on people.'  The problem with the vaccine of course is one of supply and despite Boris Johnson's positive claims about its distribution the reality is grim due very much to his ineptitude and mismanagement of the pandemic from start to where we are now with record numbers of people dying daily.  He should resign and a National Government formed of people with the knowledge, skills and experience to fight this war against the invisible enemy.   He likes three word slogans: BORIS SHOULD GO!

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On 22/01/2021 at 23:20, Waldo said:

As a general principal, being positive is most often, a good thing. However, sometimes people do not consider the wider picture, and while they act positively towards one element of a wider group; they give little thought to how their actions impact and affect everything (or everyone) else within that group.

Thats why I have a big problem with charities. The voluntary efforts of many well intentioned people ease the problem, enabling the Government, of whatever colour, ignore their responsibility. Lets face it Noblesse oblige just dosn't solve any problems , aside from the fact that being, or appearing to be, patronising is an ever present danger.

 

On 23/01/2021 at 00:35, Anna B said:

That is what I believe is our reason for being here; to help others where we can. 

??? Is there a higher power putting us here to do something? I think not.

Sure, helping each other where we can is admirable but lets not get into 'the meaning of life'. ;0)

Edited by Flanker7
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One of the main rationales for the prioritisation ordering, is the likelyhood of preventing death.

i.e. vaccinate, first, those most at risk of dying if they catch the virus.

 

That is different from vaccinating those most at risk of catching the virus.

 

Someone has to make the choices and, whilst I would like to be vaccinated now, I appreciate that the current prioritisation makes good sense.

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3 minutes ago, enntee said:

One of the main rationales for the prioritisation ordering, is the likelyhood of preventing death.

i.e. vaccinate, first, those most at risk of dying if they catch the virus.

 

That is different from vaccinating those most at risk of catching the virus.

 

Someone has to make the choices and, whilst I would like to be vaccinated now, I appreciate that the current prioritisation makes good sense.

We have lost sight of vaccinating the vulnerable first, because we are trying to vaccinate millions very quickly.

The vaccine was available at Elland Road football ground last week, which means that instead of doctor surgeries having all the vaccines, its shared between 100s of different vaccination centers.

A few more weeks and this may be forgotten, but we should be vaccinating 100% of the vulnerable, twice.

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On ‎23‎/‎01‎/‎2021 at 10:20, Waldo said:

I'm curious, what do people think about this? Is it more important that we have good intentions, or, that we have a good impact on other people?

 

Well that's one of the biggest questions in ethics, which I don't really propose to delve into on the Forum.  But here is a cartoon that makes the point that most theories, other than right-libertarianism, do come up with the same answer a lot of the time:

 

https://existentialcomics.com/comic/258

 

On ‎23‎/‎01‎/‎2021 at 10:20, Waldo said:

As an example, I've just read there is a petition to get the Covid vaccine out to people working in the emergency services. Of course, that's a great idea, and they for sure deserve it; but we can't just magic extra vaccine out of thin air, and also the infrastructure to deliver it. Inevitably, if we give the vaccine to these people (many of whom will be young and so less risk of death), we will be taking it away from people currently on the priority list, the elderly. Do people factor this in when they decide to sign such a petition?

It does seem to me that the utilitarian/consequentialist approach that you prefer is the one that stands the best chance of being able to answer this kind of question.  Even then you've got the problem of defining what the utility is that you want to maximize, or the disutility that you want to minimize.

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3 hours ago, CaptainSwing said:

Well that's one of the biggest questions in ethics, which I don't really propose to delve into on the Forum.  But here is a cartoon that makes the point that most theories, other than right-libertarianism, do come up with the same answer a lot of the time:

 

https://existentialcomics.com/comic/258

 

It does seem to me that the utilitarian/consequentialist approach that you prefer is the one that stands the best chance of being able to answer this kind of question.  Even then you've got the problem of defining what the utility is that you want to maximize, or the disutility that you want to minimize.

Love the cartoon - probably also explains why it takes so long to do the bleedin' obvious or do nothing at all. (just my opinion)

 

People are getting very hung up about all sorts of existential problems these days, when they should be applying a bit of common sense and/or giving it their best shot, which seems to be what you are advocating here. 

It wouldn't be suitable for every problem of course, but in this instance I think you're right. 

 

AKAMD: Thanks for the info, I'm sure it will come in handy sometime.

Re Boris: You'll probably know how I feel about him, but in this instance I think he's between a rock and a hard place.  I'm just glad I'm not the one having to take responsibility for it all.

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Anna B, I just wish he wasn't the one!  He will deny responsibility for it anyway.

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3 hours ago, AKAMD said:

Anna B, I just wish he wasn't the one!  He will deny responsibility for it anyway.

That's true. We'll have to see what the eventual enquiry makes of it. Mind you it'll be too late to make any difference.

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It just niggles me; how some people, don’t seem to appreciate the value of considering the negative or unwanted consequences of things. To do so isn’t to be ‘negative’ (I would argue, that being negative is when you ONLY consider the negative side).

 

Sadly, some internet forums have a problem with this, where only positive aspects of a thing are allowed to be expressed, and the expression of potential negative aspects (or potential undesirable consequences) of that same thing are suppressed. Such a scheme of things is intellectually dishonest, and potentially dangerous.

Edited by Waldo

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