‘I like/don’t like Fred, because he’s a good/bad guy.’
‘I agree that he’s a good/bad guy, but I [respectively] dislike/like him anyway.’
Basically, my affections seem to work like this –utilitarians get a free pass. For everyone else, it’s pure emotional compatibility – the degree to which I like/dislike them corresponds to how much I enjoy passing the time with them, which is unrelated to (or occasionally even seems inversely correlated with?) their social conscience.
No-one else ever seems to feel this way – whenever I’ve asked people, they describe their affections and sense of other people’s ethics as being closely related. I figure part of the reason is that as a utilitarian, I have a near-infinite potential to be better or worse, and see other people as having the same. Since we all tend to be pretty selfish most of the time, what most people think of as being fundamentally good, I think of as doing slightly better than the mean. I encourage my friends to support utilitarian causes when I think they might be interested, but I don’t particularly find people who are already seen as good tend to be any more interested in behavioral shifts than people who aren’t (quite often the former will have pet causes they’re very attached to and which I think of as low value, whereas the latter. So I don’t feel like I have any ethical reason to prefer the former. Meanwhile, I’m spending time with the people who make me happiest…
Any of this rings true for other utilitarians?