Melanie Phillips in the book, The World Turned Upside Down wrote,

The sense of the sacred and the concept of intrinsic worth were all but destroyed by the prevailing utilitarianism, which elevated the achievement of the happiness of the greatest possible number to the highest virtue. Outcomes thus came to trump motives. Moral agency was negated when actions were judged only in light of consequences, without regard for intentions. So there was said to be no difference between a doctor administering pain relief to a dying person, which might have the unintentional consequence of hastening that death, and administering a drug or removing feeding and hydration tubes with the intention of ending the life of someone who was not dying. All that mattered was that the consequences of all these actions—that a person would die—was the same. As a result, the debate about legalizing euthanasia, or “mercy killing,” became reconfigured as a debate about “allowing someone to die.” But it wasn’t. It was about whether there were circumstances in which the law might agree they could be killed.


No the idea of intrinsic worth does happen under utilitarianism but in another way. You may say it is warped. To say happy people matter as it does shows it thinks of intrinsic value in its own way.

Utilitarianism however can be seen as a way for rewarding how rotten you are inside as long as your actions have good consequences. Such a scheme cannot do good for long. It is dehumanising and dignified to treat you as a mere agent as if your conscience and heart do not matter. There can be no true compassion for the persons who are sacrificed or helped in the name of good consequences.

Against that you will say that Utilitarianism does not intend that. But it simply says that it is about results so what it intends or does not intend does not make it good or right.

Faith, prayer, God, life, chastity, promiscuity - they don't matter. Only the outcome does. If you have the right to choose to end your life for you have a crippling permanent depression then surely in principle at least another should have the right to eliminate you for your living makes them miserable? We are not talking about what can be done but the principle. The value of all life is denied even if in practice we cannot start destroying undesirable people. This is fundamentally an atheist morality. Religion says it is not a morality at all. It is the end justifies the means. The end is not certain but even that does not matter! So it is the expected end justifies the means.  One serious problem is HOW expected and HOW certain the end is! 

Take these three approaches when you are assisting a suicide.

# I am forced to give John the drugs to end his life for he is in such pain.

# I choose to give John the drugs to end his life - I choose compassion.

# I choose to give John the drugs to end his life - my intentions good or bad are totally irrelevant.

None of these matters if ending John's pain by death is all that counts. There is no concern if you feel compelled and you can be compelled by terrible circumstances. There is no concern if you have compassion or good intentions. There is no concern for choice. Why should John's choice to die matter if my choice does not? It does not look like real respect for either me or John. This unpacking of the end justifies the means shows us what it is really saying.

In what way though could we are argue that those who oppose consequentialism are also making the end justify the means but in a different way? Is it not true that the person who will not steal for God bans it and ends up being slain for refusing and causing great devastation to his people and family? That is putting a rule or a good intention before all else.

Even if that were not necessarily what was happening the person can intend, “I could just be about honesty but I want to make this about the end justifies the means.” You cannot see a person’s intention.

In the religious world, you might find a story of a martyr who would not break God's command, "You shall not steal" and who was murdered for doing so.  The end justifies the means tells him to steal instead of ending up dead.  The religion says it is the killer's choice that killed him not his refusal to steal.  But he still intended to die rather than steal.  He intended to be murdered rather than steal.  This is just an end justifies the means of another kind.

You cannot win. The end justifies the means always fills a vacuum. Suppress it and it appears in a different and more subtle way.

Every day we fight the battle every moment not to be making the result justify how we get the result. In that light, it is best to assume that everybody most of the time is giving in and hiding it.

We are not really about God or loving God. We are not the good creatures we pretend to be. Good is not our natural state. Instead of loving sinners and hating sins, we want to fight the evil we hate with an evil we like.

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