Deseret News
Letter to the editor

The Sunday edition (Jan. 13) had several excellent thought-provoking articles about honesty and trust. A welcome theme.

I particularly liked Doug Wilks' contribution, "Fighting a 'moral imperative' to deceive." I'd like to push his ideas just a bit further.

I believe that Jeremy Bentham's greater good philosophy is responsible for much of the current evil in politics. We are justified in any act as long as it bring a greater good for a greater number.

10 comments on this story

The core problem is that human beings are tremendously flawed at predicting. An economics study out of UCLA found that FDR's New Deal, while well-intentioned and aimed at greater good, clearly prolonged the Depression by several years. LBJ desired good for all with his war on poverty programs, but prior to that, poverty in America had been falling steeply for years. Prosperity was winning. The Great Society slammed the brakes on that progress, and today, poverty is exactly where it was in 1964. Thanks to well-intentioned programs, we lost the war on poverty.

Humility would require we admit that we haven't the foggiest idea what will happen when we enact big programs. But that would mean our politicians would have to renounce their grandiose ideas. I have no hope they will ever do that.

Lynn Johnson