Rebuttal to Shane Killian's "Ustupidtarianism in 4 Stupids"

Rebuttal target:

Ustupidtarianism in 4 Stupids, by Shane Killian

Preface: I'm not a utilitarian, I'm a consequentialist with a more intricate value system that that. The guy Shane responds to says a lot of stupid stuff; he's definitely a horrible representation of consequentialism, but that doesn't excuse Shane's stream of fallacies and contradictions.


My axiology

Shane accuses him multiple times of wanting central planning, but he never says that; his thesis is just that it's more moral to do something that causes more total happiness. Believing or practicing this doesn't require believing in any individual or group having authority:

The Department of the Difference Principle

(3:40) But if everyone sacrifices themselves, you won't have the maximum happiness you say you want.

Completely false. "Sacrifice" didn't even mean dying in this context, it meant doing a favor, so when someone makes a sacrifice, other people can receive more benefit, and the original sacrificer can later receive a compensatory benefit from someone else's sacrifice. (or not; it's also possible for some people to make sacrifices for others and not get repaid and for this to still result in more total happiness).

Also, this "what if everyone did that" is itself a fallacy, since one's own decision is independent of other people's.

What if everyone did that is one big fallacy

A strict libertarian like Shane of all people should recognize that the truth of an idea doesn't depend on the consequences of everyone believing it.

(5:30) Does the person being an asshole make a difference? Only if you believe it's morally justifiable to have the death penalty for the crime of being an asshole in the subjective judgement of whoever's in charge of this collective!

Wow, talk about fallacies.

Disputed premise

"This is how you can spot an authoritarian: they always treat their subjective opinion as if it's the one true objective fact".

Let me correct that for you... "This is how you can spot a nihilist: every time they're losing an argument they fall back on claiming its subjective, even when they obviously don't really believe that."

"But a principled libertarian ... can easily explain why switching the track is the right thing to do: because it's a difficult situation and you're just trying to minimize the damage. As long as you do only what's necessary to minimize the damage and no more, and you weren't the one who created the situation to begin with, then none of it is your fault."

... What?!? This exact same argument justifies the murder scenario described in the beginning. Didn't you say earlier that switching the track is no different from shooting the one person to save the others? You were right! If you can justify this, why can't you also justify the afore-described murder? You're doing only what's necessary to minimize the damage and you weren't the one who created the situation to begin with.

The same argument also justifies UBI. If neither scenario is about preventing an intentional murder, there should be no difference of kind between the "damage" of some number of people dying a few decades sooner and the "damage" of many people going hungry when others could easily feed them.

Obviously, as a consequentialist myself, I'm in full support of switching the track or whatever other scenario you want. My principles acknowledge that, but for the argumentation ethics-adhering Shane Killian, it's blatantly inconsistent.

His video on argumentation ethics

His quote at the end (these are usually clever and good, so of course, this one is clever and bad):

If the only thing that matters is maximum happiness for all, why not just hand out free heroin?

What an intentional strawman. A utilitarian would respond that heroin only provides short-term happiness and causes far more unhappiness in the long term, hence handing it out is against utilitarian principles.

Proxied content from gemini://yujiri.xyz/argument/shane-utilitarianism.gmi

Gemini request details:

Original URL
Status code
text/gemini; lang=en
Proxied by

Be advised that no attempt was made to verify the remote SSL certificate.

What is Gemini?