Case of a Ruritanian Philosopher

The following post is another one "from the vault," written in 2008. I figure it's nuts but hilarious at the same time; hence, reposting.


Let there exist two countries or territories bordering each other, Ruritania and Waldavia. Let the Ruritanians be "smart" and let them have developed a high civilization. On the other hand, let the Waldavians be "stupid" and remain primitive hunters-gatherers.

Finally, let a Ruritanian philosopher (and there are philosophers in Ruritania, so sophisticated its culture has become) publish an article in which he advocates a wholesale genocide of the Waldavians, which he justifies on the following grounds.

The Waldavians, he says, are a pathetic people; for goodness' sake, they walk around practically naked in their forests. They are barely rational and therefore barely human. They should be ashamed of themselves and of their own disgraceful way of life. Let us, that is, the Ruritanians, put them out of their misery.

It may naively be objected that it is wrong to commit murder. But, our philosopher counters, once the Waldavians are gone, the Ruritanians can take their land, develop it, and consequently civilize it. The glory of Ruritania will be spread far and wide.

Crucially, the Ruritanians will colonize the land and have many children, until the total population becomes equal to the combined total of the Ruritanians and the Waldavians prior to the genocide. The population will then be the same, but the total and average happiness will be far greater. (Even more, since a modern capitalistic society can support far more people than a primitive one, after a while there will be many more Ruritanians in Waldavia than there were Waldavians in it before the war, boosting total happiness even more.)

Being a good utilitarian, the philosopher argues that it is the Ruritanians' duty to wipe out the Waldavians.

Where is he wrong?

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