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Utilitarianism And Omelas Applying John Stuart Mill's "Utilitarianism" To Ursula Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas"

1330 words - 6 pages

Through the course of this paper the author will try to demonstrate, depicting both sides of the argument, the reasons in which a follower of John Stuart Mill's "Utilitarianism" would disagree with the events taking place in Ursula Le Guin's "The One's Who Walk Away from Omelas.""The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness" (Mill 55). This is how Mill first presents the idea of Utilitarianism. If it promotes happiness it is right, if it promotes the reverse of happiness, then it is wrong. If one were to ...view middle of the document...

The only thing people should strive for is happiness and pleasure; which is all the people of Omelas were doing. Unfortunately, when a deeper analysis is taken of Mill's "Utilitarianism", one may discover many statements contradictory to this belief.Every one who has this moderate amount of moral and intellectual requisites is capable of an existence which may be called enviable; and unless such a person, through bad laws, or subjection to the will of others, is denied the liberty to use the sources of happiness within his reach, he will not fail to find this enviable existence (Mill 62).This appears to describe the position that the young child who must suffer is in. The child is being subjected to the will of all others and therefore is being denied his/her own liberty to use the sources of happiness within his/her reach.Mill now goes on to proclaim that "it is universally considered just that each person should obtain that (whether good or evil) which he deserves; and unjust that he should obtain a good, or be made to undergo an evil, which he does not deserve" (89). The child surely did nothing to deserve the torture that he/she is being put through. Consequently, it is unjust that the child should be made to "undergo an evil" which he/she did nothing to deserve. Emphasizing the above statement is the universal admission that it is "inconsistent with justice to be partial; to show favour or preference to one person over another" (Mill 90). This is once again affirming that no person can favor the rest of the population in Omelas over the young child merely because there are more people in the population than just one child.Mill next makes the point, in relevance to the situation in Omelas, "do as one would be done by, and love one's neighbour as oneself" (64). Mill says that this alone constitutes the "ideal perfection of utilitarian morality" (64). If the people were doing to the child what they would want being done to themselves, then they would most definitely not be allowing the child to be tortured.These past two points, however apparently sound, must be, in the end, negated. The basis for both the Golden Rule, and the "betraying a friend" points, is Utility. Both must be decided upon the greater good. While it would not be doing to the child as the people of Omelas would have done to themselves, it is doing for the people what the child would want to have done to himself.The teachings of Mill on page 57 state that a highly endowed being would always find that any happiness he searched for...

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