2011 – National 6th Grade 4th Place Award Winner:
Linned Gomez, Florida.
Do the Ends Justify the Means ?
The ends do not justify the means. Utilitarian people don’t realize the consequences of their actions. I mean, if a utilitarian person hurts another person to make the majority happy and then they need the person that they hurt, they might have a problem. Also, they only care about making the majority happy. But that can be dangerous. Sometimes making the majority happy isn’t the best choice.
The Kantian theory states that you should never hurt anyone, even if it leads you to victory or it will make you happy. It also states that everyone has the right to live and you shouldn’t hurt anyone even if it makes the majority happy. Kant says that utilitarian people are too demanding and that they don’t realize that they can really regret their choices, and I agree with him. We should always do the right thing, not whatever we have to do in order to get what we want.
In the story “The Ones That Walk Away From Omelas,” they torture one person to make everyone in the town “happy.” But that town is so “perfect” that people do not even know what happiness is, so they’re pretty much torturing that person for no reason. They’re actually defeating their own purpose. What is happiness without sadness? The answer is nothing. So in that town no one is happy and no one is sad, they’re like robots. They have no emotions. The ends were to make everyone happy but they did not because they don’t know what sadness is.
Lastly, the ends don’t always justify the means, because sometimes we don’t think our answers all the way through. So we do things the utilitarian way (which is making the majority happy no matter what). If we do things the utilitarian way we are hurting people to benefit others and that is not fair. But if we do things the Kantian way, then no one gets hurt and you get to use your brain. For Kant the ends didn’t justify the means.
In conclusion, the ends do not justify the means because like Kant said, you shouldn’t hurt anyone for the benefit of the majority. Everyone is equal and should be treated equally. The next reason is because you might make a mistake like the people of the town of Omelas. Their mistake was making an innocent person suffer without really meeting their ends. The ends don’t justify the means, although sometimes we may think they do because we don’t think our answers all the way through. Kantianism makes a lot more sense than utilitarianism. That is because utilitarian people think that the ends justify the means and they only care about the majority, even if it’s incorrect. While Kant thinks that everyone has the right to life no matter what. No end could justify taking the rights away from another human being.
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