Prioritize structural violence in your impact calculus: it’s the only thing that certainly exists and that we can certainly change.
Taylor, ‘09 (Janelle S. , Prof. of Anthropology, Univ. of Washington, http://depts.washing...er/taylor.shtml, Explaining Difference: Culture, Structural Violence, and Medical Anthropology)TB
Structure sounds like a neutral term “ it sounds like something that is just there, unquestionable, part of the way the world is. By juxtaposing this with the word violence, however, Farmers concept of structural violence forces our attention to the forms of suffering and injustice that are deeply embedded in the ordinary, taken-for-granted patterns of the way the world is. From this follow some important and very challenging insights. First, the same structures that render life predictable, secure, comfortable and pleasant for some of us, also mar the lives of others through poverty, insecurity, ill-health and violence. Second, these structures are neither natural nor neutral, but are instead the outcome of long histories of political, economic, and social struggle. Third, being nothing more (and nothing less!) than patterns of collective social action, these structures can and should be changed. Structural violence thus encourages us to look for differences within large-scale social structures “ differences of power, wealth, privilege and health that are unjust and unacceptable. By the same token, structural violence encourages us to look for connections between what might be falsely perceived separate and distinct social worlds. Structural violence also encourages an attitude of moral outrage and critical engagement, in situations where the automatic response might be to passively accept systematic inequalities.
Without absolute side constraints against violating human dignity such as the affirmative, utilitarianism becomes a justification for slavery, torture, and murder.
Clifford, 11 (Professor of Philosophy @ Mississippi State University,Michael, Spring, “MORAL LITERACY”, Volume 11, Issue 2, https://webprod1.uvu.edu/ethics/seac/Clifford_Moral_Literacy.pdf, Accessed 7-6-13, TB)
As for fairness of application, here the waters are muddy. On the one hand, utilitarianism prides itself on fairness, since everyone’s happiness (i.e. pleasure/pain) must be taken into account when determining what will produce the gr eatest happiness. Fairness is part of the very justification of utilitarianism in that it assumes, correctly I think, that everyone wants to be happy; thus it is incumbent upon any ethics to promote this, as far as is possible. In fact, it was this “democratic” aspect of utilitarianism which prompted James Mill to champion it as a model for political and social reform. On the other hand, one of the most enduring criticisms of utilitarianism , especially the sort advocated by Bentham, is that it may require us to trample upon individual rights if it will increase the pleasure of the majority. An example I like to use in my courses to illustrate this is black slavery in Mississippi. There was a time when Mississippi had more millionaires per capita than any other state in the union. Of course, it achieved th at distinction through the institution of slavery, the evidence of which can still be seen in Rhode Island, where the estates of former cotton barons line the shores of Newport. Now Mississippi is among the poorest state in the nation. Suppose some savvy economic consultant suggested that we could bring prosperity back to the South by reinstating the institution of slavery. The population of African-Americans being only about th irty percent, the majority would certainly have their happiness increased. Of course, we would immediately object that such happiness would be achieved by the most atrocious violation of individual rights. What can the utilitarian say to this? Even Ja mes Mill’s son, John Stuart, was very concerned about this troublesome possibility. He advocated a form of utilitarianism in which we are obligated to promote the “higher pleasures” of justice and equality. However, Mill would not allowan appeal to individual rights, because he did not believe that such rights exist. His defense of individual freedoms in On Liberty is not based on the idea that human beings have rights, but because of the good consequences for society that comes from such a recognition. “I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions,” says Mill. 14 If this is the case, then a utilitarian, even one as enlightened as Mill, must entertain the possibility that the greatest happiness could only be bought at the expense of individual freedoms. 15 Whether or not you believe in individual rights, whether or not you are convinced by arguments one way or another about the metaphysical grounds of rights, we can all appreciate the idea that any ethics should recognize thefundamental dignity of human|||s||| beings. This is precisely what worries critics of utilitarianism, that it may require us to violate that dignity, for some at least, if doin g so will promote the greatest happiness. But to violate human dignity is to ignore or to misunderstand the very point of ethics. For the deontologist, such as Kant, we have a duty not to violate human dignity, even if it causes us pain, even if the consequences fail to maximize the overall happiness. The inviolate character of human dignity is expressed most practically by the idea that we have certain basic rights (whatever the source of rights are, whether natural or by convention). John Locke defined rights as “prima facie entitlements,” which means that anyone who would restrict my rights bears the burden of proving that there are good reasons for doing so. For example, the right to private property is sometimes trumped by the principle of eminent domain, provided that I too sta nd to gain by seizure of my land. My right to free speech is limited by the harm it might cause by, say, shouting “fire!” in a crowded theatre. There are times when we feel justified in limiting or abrogating certain positive rights for the common good, but even here no social outcome justifies torture, slavery, murder, or any action which violates my fundamental human dignity. Deontological ethics assumes there to be a line that cannot be crossed, regardless of the consequences. Thus, Kant’s type of ethics would seem to fair best with respect to the fairness of application criterion beca use it requires, as intrinsic to the Categorical Imperative itself, that we treat all persons, at all times, as ends and not merely as means to an end. This is not due to any good benefits that may stem from doing so; in fact, respecting the dignity of others may actually diminish overall pleasure. But we have a duty to do so, regardless, because reason demands it. It demands it because to do otherwise is irrational given the requirements of the Categorical Imperative, which are (arguably) three:
Even if we should evaluate consequences, there should be absolute side constraints on deliberately harming innocent people.
Fried, 94 (Professor of law @ Harvard,Charles, Absolutism and its Consequentialist Critics, ed. Haber, p. 74)