By Justus Atuti
In a society full of self seekers, in a society that the late Nyerere once referred to as a man eat man society, when is wrong, wrong, and when is right, right? What is the yardstick used to measure a right and a wrong? When are we wrong and when are we right? We all know from the famous philosophers that, not all right things for right things are right, given that at times they can be the worst possible options that can happen. However, in a society, we can’t be right by doing wrong, just as we can’t be wrong by doing right. But, what is right in the society? What is wrong in the society? Is there a degree of measurement? Who is charged with the responsibility of determining right from wrong, if our leaders are the ones practicing evil?
Utilitarian and Kant are two philosophical concepts whose aim is to analyze and define what morality and order should be in our society. They both stand on the two sides of the divide, bringing two dissenting views, though with one common view; to bring wellness and order to humanity.
Kantians on one side believe that, we should all act in line with duty. Wrong or right, moral or immoral are determined by duty, regardless of the circumstances, reasons or the consequences. An act is wrong if it doesnâ€™t conform to the line of duty. Regardless of the circumstances, lying is wrong, no matter how much pain it may cause to the recipient. Kantians believe, all of us have an obligated duty to act .
It is a command, according to Kant to act in accordance with duty, as laid down by the concept of categorical imperative. Always act in such a way that you promote humanity, not only as only a means, but as an end too. It doesnâ€™t matter who is involved, whether it is yourself or any other person. Only do something if you think it will be a good thing to do by everyone all the time, regardless of the consequences. Do to others what you would wish they did to you. According to Kant, is tribalism practised by Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as leaders of a nation, justified?
Is their nepotism, corruption, sectionism, favoritism, etc be considered a right or a moral act in the society in conformity with the concept of categorical imperative? Is it the law?
Philosophers Jeremy Bantham and James Mill in their view of morality, generally agree in the concept of the greatest happiness to the greatest number, in their believe of utilitarianism. It is not the action that counts, but the outcome which bears a great benefit to a greater number of people. Utilitarians believe in the principle of utility and consider this principle to be the yardstick for measuring right and wrong, moral and immoral in our society.
According to utilitarianism, an action can be right or wrong only after thoroughly exhaustively considering all the other available options and generally concluding that the action was the only one amongst them all that could produce or bear the highest utility. An act is right or wrong by balancing happiness and pain. The right or wrong of an act by considering, not the process, but the consequences, as happiness is at the peak of reason. According to consequencialists, who are actually utilitarianists, there is no act that is right or wrong, moral or immoral. If it brings more happiness to more people, then it is right and moral. If it brings more pain to more people, then it is wrong and immoral.
Murder, lying, cheating, nepotism, tribalism, depriving, corruption, insecurity created by leaders, tyranny of numbers, and all anomalies in our society can be considered right and moral if they bring more happiness to more people, but immoral and wrong if they bring more pain to more people.
Is jubilee’s practice of tribalism, tyranny of numbers, tribal appointments, tribalized security system, nepotism, lip service,pride, arrogance, hate speech extended to the opposition, grabbing,inicaparcitation of delivery of services, lies,broken promises,etc, moral or immoral? Does it conform to the principles of utility? Yes, this brings happiness to the tribes they come from. But does it bring happiness to a nation and the majority of the people? Is their leadership style bringing a desired outcome to a nation so ethnically polarized like ours? Are the irregular constitutional mutilations in the name of amendments bringing more happiness to the people of Kenya?
As more and more KENYANS are feeling the heat of insecurity on the ground and paying the cost of corruption and nepotism, is the forceful removal of Kenyatta from power in conformity with the principle of utilitarianism and that of Categorical Imperative? YES!
Sometimes it can be hard to determine what action brings more happiness to more people, as circumstances are never the same, given that people do not share the same values. But according to conservatives, it is a direct consultation to individuals that will ascertain their actual preferences, rather than rely on intrinsic value, then rank their preferences by most valued to least valued. This is where Raila Odinga’s referendum call comes in handy.
But is the referendum a solution to a polarized nation like Kenya? YES and NO. YES, because it is the last resort for a desperate nation. It is the last solution for a nation so divided and fatigued by sectionist fundamentals. It is the last solution for the so desperate a nation in need of a fresh beginning, so desperate for a future that looks oblique right now. NO if the referendum does not include evicting Jubilee from power. KENYANS right now are seeking for the removal of Jubilee from power as a desperately desired outcome. A continued stay of jubilee in power is a continued insertion of anarchy and poverty on the majority as the minority enrich themselves.
What do KENYANS say?