Most People Are Consequentialist???
By Bryan Caplan
How bad an action is, from an ethical point of view, depends primarily on:
5.3% How bad the consequences of the action are for myself
62.7% How bad the consequences of the action are for other people and for society
17.5% The extent to which the action infringes upon someone else’s natural rights
10.6% The extent to which the action violates what is natural
3.7% The extent to which the action violates Christianity according to the New Testament in the Bible
0.3% The extent to which the action violates the rules given by any other religion (such as Islam or Buddhism)
I detect serious bias. The main deontological option uses obscure jargon (“natural rights”?; why not just “rights” or “freedom”). And there’s no fairness option, such as “How fairly everyone has been treated.” There isn’t even an equality option, which I suspect would be quite popular in Sweden.
Worse still, the main conclusion hinges on responses to an extremely abstract question. When you pose specific moral questions, Jonathan Haidt and others show that almost no one is remotely close to pure consequentialism. Swedes’ true commitment to consequentialism is as illusory as Americans’ commitment to free markets.