Utilitarianism and Libertarianism

What is Utilitarianism?

Utilitarianism theory is associated with Jeremy Bentham and John start Mill. According to the theory, man is a social being whose motivation in life emanates from his desire to achieve happiness and shun pain. It premises on a hedonistic assumption that man is a sentient creature with feelings and sensibility. As such, it advocates for the greatest happiness of the greatest majority. Therefore, desirable actions are those that bring the greatest happiness to the most significant majority.

Utilitarianism appears to be a sound theory since it advocates for what many people desire—happiness. However, its application has far-reaching adverse implications in the society. The theory suggests that an action is correct if it denies one person or a few individuals their rights so long as the act brings greater happiness to the most significant majority. Such a situation is difficult to imagine since every person has an inherent dignity, which ought to be evaluated and accorded on an individual basis. The theory disregards the idea of human rights as well as subordinates justice to the utility.

What is Liberal Utilitarianism?

Liberal utilitarianism, as propounded by Mill, is an improvement of Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism. According to Mill, the maximization of utility is not a denial of liberty, but its expression (Riley 341). The theory advocates for equality for individuals’ private lives, self-realization, and the pursuit of satisfaction (Riley 341). The postulates value individual rights.

From the foregoing, libertarianism is an ideal theory since it values human rights and defends self-autonomy. All human actions are meant to be voluntary, with little or no government meddling. However, liberty should not be the only mode of determining justice because man has an ingrained propensity of selfishness, which may lead him to abuse the freedom.

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