Five For One

Unless one believes there is a categorical moral duty to allow healthy patients to live, something that to my knowledge only a few people believe, one must consider all the costs and benefits when deciding whether or not hospitals should kill healthy patients in order to harvest their organs for transplantation to unhealthy patients.

Update: The friend who tipped me off to the Volokh post responds:

Even if your post wasn't a joke, the cost of killing a healthy patient would far outweigh any benefit.

I ask, how can you be so sure? Five lives saved is greater than one life lost, no?

A good utilitarian can point to the social costs associated with patients refusing to go to the hospital out of fear that they will be killed for their organs. But then, a good utilitarian isn't a nationalist bigot, and doesn't ignore or discount the utility to the immigrants themselves of immigration. When we take the immigrants' own utility into account, the cost of keeping immigrants out far outweighs any benefit.

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You might be making either

You might be making either one of two possible arguments:

1) There is in fact a categorical moral duty to allow healthy patients to live, and immigrants to enter.

2) There is no categorical moral duty to allow healthy patients to live or immigrants to enter, but the conclusion still does not follow because [insert utilitarian argument squeezing out of the the seeming implication].

Which is it?

2, personally, but 1 is a

2, personally, but 1 is a valid argument if one grants the existence of categorical moral duties.

Hopefully Anonymous does in

Hopefully Anonymous does in fact endorse this policy. It's possible I could as well, though I haven't though much about it. We're both egoists rather than utilitarians. We just adopt some utilitarian (consequentialist, really) when proposing deals for others, since they can't be expected to prioritize us over them.

You are making the argument

You are making the argument for a Catholic theocracy.


Thanks for the link!

I actually think your post could go a step further. Even if the utilitarian was a nationalist bigot and disregarded the utility of the immigrants, I still think a strong case could be made that the benefits far outweigh any costs of letting most, if not all immigrants stay.

That's actually why I oppose any form of immigration law that restricts migration of labor. I believe that for most, if not all cases, restricting immigration is irrational--benefits far outweigh costs of allowing them to stay.

Of course, modifying our welfare state could increase the distance between the benefit and cost curve, increasing the efficient amount of immigration.