So here\’s a depressing calculation.
War in Korea is still unlikely but not as unlikely as it was.
But let us apply some Benthamite utilitarianism to the problem.
Start with this:
1) The 24 million odd North Koreans are being vilely oppressed by their own government. Millions have died in famines caused by the State\’s idiocies. Hundreds of thousands (millions?) more are in Gulags.
There is therefore, to put it dryly, some disutility from the continued existence of the North Korean regime.
Yes, of course, we\’d all prefer that this end without war. But just for the sake of argument assume that it won\’t. That the regime is sufficiently stable that power will pass on to the third generation and that matters will be much as they are for another few decades yet.
Then, again for the sake of argument assume that war does break out. Further, that the south wins.
No, South Korea is not an Elysian state itself. But I think we might all agree that it\’s not as bad as the North?
So, the utilitarianism. The depressing calculation.
What\’s an acceptable butcher\’s bill for this liberation of the people of the North? In abstract of course: no fair saying well you go and do the dying then.
We\’re playing Bentham here: what is the good of the greatest number?
Is one person dying too many? 100,000? Whatever the number who will die from the continuation of the North but will live if liberated? What value freedom, liberty, in lives lost over lives available to enjoy such?
Anyone even want to try working this out?
Finally, does the difficulty we have with this sort of calculus tell us anything about utilitarianism itself?