Utilitarianism Justice Essay

Published: 2020-02-01 01:32:16
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Category: Murder

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A person who is a utilitarian believes in one principle of utility, which is to opt for an action that will bring the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people (Ronsenstand, 2013). It is not a decision made with selfish intentions, as it does not matter who benefits from the decision, as long as it is for the greater good. The utilitarian belief can be a solution to certain moral problems, but there are also problems that may arise from it. One of the problems of the utilitarian theory is that it is hedonistic and ignores individual rights (Sandel, 2009).

Utilitarians will often look at the big picture to determine the course of action that should be taken. If the decision is made in favor of the happiness of the greatest number of people, then what happens to those who are in the minority group? One example is the death of 6 months old Isis Charm Vas who was thought to be murdered by her babysitter, Ernie Lopez in 2011. Medical examiners failed to take into consideration that the child might be suffering from a rare blood disease.

It is often found that in cases concerning the death of children, the law is quick to convict a person just to close the case as it impacts the society emotionally. Similarly, William Dillon served 27 years in prison for murder before he was exonerated from the crime he did not commit. It is not unusual for the law to convict innocent people just to provide closure for the family of the victims and also to give a sense of satisfaction or justice to the society.

Society will naturally demand justice for these murders, thus putting pressure on the law to act quickly and often, make costly mistakes on behalf of innocents in the process. These people might sometimes be considered as scapegoats. Based on these cases, a utilitarian might argue that in general, it might bring a greater good to the vast majority if such criminal cases were brought to a closure, no matter if the person is truly innocent or not. Sacrificing one person is better than the unhappiness of a whole society.

Closure reduces the hype around a particular case especially if it concerns children, which plays with the sympathy and anger of the society. The theory of utilitarian might argue that it is more important to restore the faith of the people in the law. If too much time is spent finding exact evidence pointing to the right offender in a case like Isis Charm Vas, the community might lose faith in the law thus creating even more problems in future. If no one trusts the law to provide justice, people might stop abiding the law altogether.

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