First, Do No Harm

Primum non nocere, or, in English, “first, do no harm,” is a venerable maxim often traced to the Hippocratic Oath. It has long served as an important admonition in the ethics of physicians and other healthcare providers. It seems an eminently sensible rule. In a way it resembles the provision in Catholic moral teaching that one must not do evil in the hope or even the expectation that good will come of it.
The idea merits much wider application. Indeed, it would be a godsend if governments applied it to all their actions.
However, if applied consistently across the board, it would

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