Your editorial headline on the promising partnership between Geisinger and Montour County for high-speed internet access (Nov. 11) refers to the greater good. This ethical concept harkens back to the utilitarian tradition in philosophy holding that “the moral end of all action is the greatest net sum of happiness of all sentient beings,” and to the ancient Greek’s fundamental ideas of The Good and good and just leaders.
Modern liberal (in the philosophical sense) societies have come about due to the practice of an ethics of the greater good, and the efforts of good and just leaders. Now this nation is questioning, as did the ancient Greeks, whether tyranny or democracy, a just ruler or an unjust one, is best, testing whether strength and power trump our fundamentally moral disposition and belief in the doctrine of the greater good.
Donald Trump’s enabling of the barbaric Saudi prince and his denials of the catastrophic effects of global warming violate the ethical standard of greater good and reveal the nation’s leader as the antithesis of Socrates’ good and just one. The murderous prince’s thinly-veiled scheme to produce nuclear weapons is a step toward nuclear war, the ultimate violation of the greater good. Human beings share one household: a planet rapidly overheating, destroying lives of rich and poor alike, a dire reality which our leader brings closer for everyone.
Montour County’s partnership for the greater good reminds us that prioritizing human lives is the ethical and practical path to the future.