Pros And Cons Of Utilitarian Ethics

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The Utilitarian Ethics Approach to Widespread Unwarranted Domestic Surveillance in America
Big brother: the notorious name we've given our government in attempt to characterize its seemingly invasive presence in our lives. Ever since Edward Snowden's reveal of NSA classified information on domestic surveillance, the public has speculated numerous ways in which their privacy is being invaded. From covering laptop webcams with tape, to withholding certain information over text, America is in a state of panic and mistrust. How do we know that "Big Brother" has our best intentions in mind? There is an ethical conundrum over the invasion of citizens' privacy: if it's to protect and serve the people should it be allowed or is this overstepping a
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It is an approach to ethical decision making that provides the most good. Ultimately, there are two different outcomes to a situation: good and bad. The utilitarian approach will select for the decision that is going to bring the most good to the most people. This method does not remove all negative consequences of a decision, it simply weighs the pros and cons and if the pros can provide more benefit, not just to the decision-maker, but to all those affected, than the cons can provide harm, then pros make the decision "ethical". For example, Edward Snowden's revelation of top-secret government information to the public can be weighed on the ethical scale. What is the benefit of revealing this information? Telling hundreds of millions of citizens that their government is secretly spying on them, so they can take necessary measures to combat this invasion of privacy is good, and it's good for a lot of people. Snowden deciding not to reveal this information, would benefit the high-ranking officials of the government because they can continue domestic surveillance without public knowledge and uproar. However, if Snowden had not revealed the documents, more harm would've come to the public because of the violation of their rights in this unwarranted surveillance. Additionally, the benefit of the over 300 million American citizens outweighs the benefit of the select few in the government operating this program. Thus, by the Utilitarian approach,…show more content…
The expansion in surveillance went relatively unnoticed. The reason for Snowden's outcry was largely because he had just been exposed to it after its movement into U.S. territory; as Sam Harris, author and philosopher, says, "Of course, the liar often imagines that he does no harm as long as his lies go undetected". This slow transition is what lead to dangerous normalization and widespread acceptance in upper level government. Governmental officials failed to realize their gross invasion of privacy of regular citizens because the rules were slowly being bended and every step further was met with the excuse of ending terrorism. With the government's capabilities, microphones and webcams of any electronic device could be accessed and turned on without the device itself being on. This direct and blatant spying could happen at any time if there was any minute connection between you and a person of remote suspicion. Therefore, this surveillance is being extended for use not originally intended and consequently abusing the trust and the rights of the public, the act of domestic surveillance is proven unethical by the definition of Utilitarian ethics. Not only does the government spy, but also actively inhibit the creative thought of innocent people like Luke Harding, "I was writing my manuscript and I wrote
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