What might a utilitarian say to try to justify the Omelas system?

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Utilitarianism is a philosophy that values the happiness of the majority over that of the minority. Therefore, if the happiness of a few people must be sacrificed to ensure that most people are happy, so be it.

A utilitarian would state that the society of Omelas has the right idea in providing for the happiness of the many over the few. The argument might be that the young child must be sacrificed so that the rest of society can thrive—which is exactly what the story suggests. The townspeople defend their inhumane act against this child by rationalizing that they maintain happiness because of the child’s “abominable misery.” They fear the consequences of not continuing this abuse. Thus, utilitarian theory can rationalize that rather than facing those consequences and bringing destruction to the entire town, it is better to sacrifice one for the good of the many. Morally, the utilitarian would argue, keeping the child locked away in darkness is the right thing to do, since it...

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