Utilitarianism against Common Sense
In our study of Utilitarianism, we concluded that basic intrinsic common sense cannot be trusted. This statement is quite bold and challenging, yet true. The reality of the statement’s accuracy is evident and will be discussed in the following essay. For the students of philosophy, the validity of this statement is the reason a Utilitarian society is impossible to implement. Needless to say, from the point of view of the Utilitarian Theory, it makes sense that basic intrinsic common sense cannot be trusted considering the natural tendency for the individual to choose the actions likely to bring the most happiness to them self.
For the Utilitarian society, intrinsic common sense would interfere with the universal system of what one must do as his or her moral obligation to ensure the greatest good for all. Therefore, regardless of what choice one’s internal compass is drawn to, the final decision is only to be trusted if it falls within the laws of what is best for the majority. For example, the current climate of the legalization of gay marriage may be seen this way depending on one’s position. A fanatical Christian is not likely to support the idea of gay marriage as their own ideal, based on personal religious beliefs; however, the greater good for the majority is honored by allowing complete equality in the unification of two individuals to legally be acknowledged through marriage.
If one were to go against the idea of this historical legal reformation of gay marriage based on basic intrinsic common sense, then the groups that oppose the idea will behave in manners that could not be trusted, which is why according to the Utilitarian Theory, common sense cannot be trusted. Utilitarian’s understand that basic intrinsic common sense often leads the individual toward one’s own happiness versus the happiness of the greatest number of individuals.
Innate human nature will lean towards self-pleasure over pain, which limits the number of overall happiness of the masses. The socio-economic imbalances seen in America and throughout the world is evidence of the result of basic intrinsic common sense, as the wealthy have continued to focus primarily on their own fulfillment without ethical consideration of what is best for the majority. If a universal law of Utilitarianism were to be implemented globally, then the gap between the wealthy and poor would no longer exist. In the Utilitarian society, there would most likely be only one socio-economic class, perhaps the middle-class. The ethical nature of the Utilitarian system could be phenomenal if use responsibly, but the chances of a universally ethical system will always be interrupted by the intrinsic common sense factor, which as you can see cannot be trusted.
Many of the Utilitarian ideals would greatly improve the quality of life for the majority of the planet’s population; however, the individual’s personal motivations may shift if the only focus was on the happiness of society versus self. Human nature appears to have the intrinsic automatic preference for self-fulfillment and reward that is cannot easily be ignored. It is accurate to say according to Utilitarianism that basic intrinsic common sense cannot be trusted, and therefore, in my opinion, impossible to ever become a reality. In an ideal world, the marriage of Utilitarianism with the ability to honor internal common sense would be the answer to the issues facing humanity; however, the likelihood of this vision coming to fruition is slim.