On Utilarianism

There are many ideas about the notions of Utilitarianism,  it appears to be the most popular of the “isms”, simply because it refers to the notion of the ‘greater good’, how everyone actions should reflect that notion of systematic application of coercive societal values. This is the underlining understanding of utilitarianism. The core reading for this article will be On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. However other works will also be looked at in order to gain a better understanding on the points raised in the book.
I strongly believe that Utilitarianism and Liberty to paradoxes a really good example of this the roots of morality are on opposite sites. The first being that liberty is a product of the enlightenment or the “romantic period” where the majority of people were looking for new and innovative ways of growing and becoming a society filled with opportunity. On opposite end of the scale Utilitarianism was born from religion.

The notion of religion is built on the idea of the greater good. In the peak of Italian imperialism, there were mass killings of entire of woman who were accused of practising activities tends and committing various different offence against the Churches agenda therefore they were either beheaded or hung. There were also many prisoners who were imprisoned for their political beliefs for example those humanitarian Marxist such as Antonio Gramsci who gave his writings to his wife to publish and he later died as a result of the prison conditions that he was in for a long period of time (Gramsci, 1971). These writings were later published as the Selection from Prison Notebooks, which are probably the most valued writings the oppression of the Italian Church and the oppression that even Humanitarian Marxist had to endure during this entire period
In it really interesting that language used in the book, On liberty “By liberty, was meant protection against the tyranny of political rulers… They consisted if a governing tribe or caste, who derived their authority from inheritance or conquest; who at all events, did not hold it at the pleasure if the governed, and whose governed, and whose supremacy men did not venture, perhaps did not desire , to contest, whatever precautions might be taken against the oppressive exercise. (Mill, 1859).

This in many respects looks at these occupations currently taking place in Syria, Iraq, Somalia, and Libya. There are many different parts of this quote that sounds so familiar like we have heard it before. An example of this would be when a person in that House of Lords is given their position by inheriting it, from those before them and representing the interests of a hand full of people from the elite class. Yet create and implement decisions of an entire nation. When he talks about “Caste” I find it very relevant, because I do not know many people who are black ethnic minority people in the House of Lords. I am very sure that it is an entire room of, wealthy, elite class and white men. I do not see anything that does not fit that description in the House of Lords.

The notion of utilitarianism is the idea that it is a one size fits all ideology, whereas the majority of us do not fit that description, as we are different as individuals. All essence of individuals is sniffed out and dismantled and replaced with utilitarian ideologies of “Though society is not founded on a contract, and though no good purpose is answered by inventing a contract in order to deduce social obligations to it, one who receives the protection of society owes a return fir the benefit, and the fact of living in society renders it indispensable that each should be bound to observe a certain line of conduct to the rest” (Mill, 1859,63). Therefore this points out that if any individual unjustly expresses, prejudice, society has the right to interfere. However In society, today we can see people such as Donald Trump, running for elections and openly expressing hate in order to become the president of the United States.

Another really good argument that just intrigues me that Mills brings up is the “liberty of the press” (Mills, 1859, . 13). The liberty of press in a complete myth, it is what we are told that we can speak about whatever we feel however that notion is very difficult to believe as reality as if this was really the case we would spend less time questioning our own thoughts and spend more time interacting with other people about them. Voltaire once said, I do not agree with what you speak however I fight to death for you right to say, my question to that is why does he have to?

I really hope that you have found this material useful. I am currently, also uploading videos on my Youtube channel and keep up to date with new books, and my video log and everything interesting that I find that I believe others can benefit from.


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This article was inspired by #Boromas Orphans to make donation at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=KAPQ8VTDGNRW4


Gramsci, A, (1971), Selections from the Prison Notedbooks, London, Lawrence & Wishart Limited

Mill, J.S., (1859), On Liberty, London, J.W. Parker



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