"They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare.... [G]iving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please."
-- Thomas Jefferson
When, if ever, does the end justify the means?
How can the "general welfare" justify violating individual rights?
Individual rights are the moral basis for preservation of the general welfare, for what is the general welfare but the welfare of the individuals of which the "general" consists? There can be no "general welfare" apart from the individual rights upon which it rests. An act which violates an individual's right to life, liberty or property destroys that which it claims to be promoting.
The sacrifice of one human being entails the sacrifice of the very principle of the right to life--whether it is done in the name of helping the poor or saving the environment. Both are worthy goals----but remain worthy only if they are accomplished through means which respect as an absolute the right of each man to his own life----and only to his own.