Again, utilitarianism rightly understood is addressed to the lawgivers or to the people in their capacity as voters. For example, the criminal code should according to utilitarianism be so structured as to:

  1. Maximize the benefits to the citizens from deterrence of crime;
  2. Minimize the pain to the criminals from their punishment;
  3. Minimize the costs of enforcing the law.

These goals of course conflict, and an optimum should be properly calculated.

But once the law has been laid down, a citizen is told to seek his own happiness as he sees fit and pay no heed to general welfare or total utility.

This implies that utilitarianism voices no opinion as to whether a man should seek his happiness by obeying the law or by disobeying.

Thus, utilitarianism does not generate any political obligations.


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