This will be my last post on this blog (at least for the foreseeable future). There are basically two reasons for this. The first is rather straightforward, namely the lack of interest out there in what I am writing. I have managed to write a lot just because it is interesting to myself and without any hope of reaching more than a handful of persons; but this gets harder and harder without any input, feedback and suggestions from readers. One could, of course, reply something like the following: “Just write when you feel like it. Wait until you find the inspiration and energy”. My principle, however, has been that a blog like this should be updated with new posts with some regularity (my goal has been at least a couple of posts per month, preferably more), and if I can’t keep up the regular schedule I might as well pack it in. To me, it should be clear if a blog is active or not. Anyway, I must confess that I did not have high expectations about reaching a big audience in the first place, since utilitarianism is so out of fashion. So it does not feel very sad for me to wrap up this effort, or experiment, as one might call it.
The second reason for quitting is broader and has to do with my personal disillusionment about ethics in general and its place in society. I have come to realize that ethical arguments – at least analytically rigorous arguments – will not change the world to any noticeable degree. Most people (we’re talking at least 99%) have no interest whatsoever in “academic” ethics, and this figure is not about to change anyway soon. And those who have some interest mostly use ethics as window dressing for an ideology they were instinctively drawn to before they had scrutinized the arguments for or against it. The usual route is that people are drawn to, for instance, socialism, anarchism, conservatism, or libertarianism when they are young (or youngish), and then they (or at least a few of them) look for an ethical theory that will verify their youthful choice; and if they can’t find one they will probably disregard ethics and keep on with their ideology anyway. In short, one does not change politics, or society at large, by appeal to philosophical argument, but rather to feelings and other crude rhetorical devices; and I have no inclination or interest in the latter.
Someday I hope to be a part of a network of people who adhere to hedonistic utilitarianism and want to influence politics on the basis of that philosophy. But at present no such network exists (at least none that I am aware of). Right now the “Alt-Right” and similar right-wing groups are pumping out content on YouTube and other social media. There are also some “classical” leftists (Marxists, etc.) who try to keep up in this contest, although I think they have fallen behind considerably – and perhaps irreparably. But when it comes to utilitarianism, there is nothing (except maybe for a few interviews and speeches by Peter Singer), and this is not bound to change anytime soon.
Nevertheless, even if I would be more than willing to do more in the future, I feel like, for now, I have done my part for the promotion of hedonistic utilitarianism. I have written one philosophical book (albeit only available in Swedish) which answers the most common objections to hedonism, as well as a short book (in English) that draws out some political implications from hedonist ethics. Now I leave it to others to continue this arduous work. If I may wish for something to happen it would be the creation of a podcast devoted to hedonism, since any movement needs podcasts (or YouTube channels) to achieve anything these days. I, however, do not have the skills for that.