Effective Altruism has had a moment. SBF pretended to be into it for a while in order to pull the wool over investor’s eyes, then dropped it once it became obvious that he is neither effective nor altruistic.
The utilitarian movement tends to attract weirdos. They cannot help but find wordlord justifications for the most atrocious acts, perhaps enjoying the intellectual challenge of arguing that black is white.
People who attempt a utilitarian approach to any given situation – that is, determining the greatest good for the greatest number – will inevitably calculate that the greatest good is achieved by doing exactly what they wanted to do anyway. It is sometimes used deliberately for this purpose, and sometimes unconsciously.
This is not a problem unique to utilitarians. Those who use a theological basis for ethics tend to interpret the Bible in such a way as to back up their own…
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