Dear [International Ethics Professor],
Below is my term paper topic proposal. If you would prefer this be submitted on paper rather than electronically, please advise. I will happily provide a paper copy at next class.
"Survival of the Rightest: The Necessary Ethical Dilemmas of a Collective"
Overall, my paper will contrast national ethical principles with personal ethical principles, and show that they are wildly different things, with different origins. I will also argue that they are incompatible with one another in many ways, meaning that a person may be forced at times to choose national-ethics over personal-ethics or vice versa.
The paper will start by examining the origins of the ethical principles governing nations. I will argue that these principles have been subject to a natural selection process (similar to the familiar natural selection process which has driven biological speciation). This position means that:
- Every nation's ethical decisionmaking must allow for its own survival and continuity (the national equivalent of survival and reproduction)
- A nation is more likely to achieve long-term survival (i.e., to "flourish") when its ethical schema goes beyond merely allowing for its survival and continuity, and instead, actively encouraging its survival and continuity through expansion and other means.
With the above in mind, I will argue that national survival and continuity will always inevitably conflict with several maxims of individual (personal) ethics. Killing "innocent" civilians, for example, is (generally) very contrary to personal morality, and yet it is necessary and ethically permissible when viewed through the national ethics lens.