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Rodolfo Jimenez Philosophy 101 Defense and Criticism of the West The defense of the West, the defense

of capitalism and the great powers of our modern civilization starts with the following. Mill argues that the highest good is ethics, however ethics is not something tangible, its not something you can prove like math or physics, there is no direct proof. For example, medicine is good because it makes you healthy, however how do you prove good health is good? For some people good health might not be something they want. Mill says that we decide is something is moral or ethical based on our judgments, if something is visible is because it has been seen, just like if something is audible is because it has been heard. Following this logic if something is good it s because its desirable, and if its desirable it s because it has been desired. Even though you cannot prove the previous you can say that all people desire happiness which comes from pleasure. People want to be happy in their own way and this may be different according to each person s view of happiness and pleasure. The greatest happiness principle is what helps us define if our actions are right or wrong. If an action is good than the action will create more happiness than unhappiness consequently if an action creates more unhappiness than happiness than this action shall be regarded as bad or wrong. Men and women seek for happiness in this world and more often than not they choose to believe that the body sensations are the most pleasurable, sensations such as sex, alcohol or food fall into this category, these are the lower pleasures. The higher pleasures on the other hand are far more enjoyable however few people get the opportunity to try them and it is because of this that they are far less popular. The higher pleasures consist of intellect, feelings, imagination and

morality. These are much more pleasurable than the mere sensation. Mill argues that few humans would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals with lower pleasures. Even if this meant being the dog that belongs to a multimillionaire who gives the dog anything a dog might desire, even if this dog had the maximum amount of lower pleasure possible. He says this because humans get to appreciate the higher pleasures in life, even if these are minimal, such as parents watching their kids grow up or looking into the past and remembering the good times or looking forward for the future with hope, something lesser beings cannot experience. Hope for a better life for yourself or your children is something an animal would never be able to grasp. Few people would choose to be an animal with lower pleasure because humans are aware and conscious of what is around them, they get to enjoy raising their offspring or spending time with their respective parents and family, awareness and consciousness is real bliss. However there are always a few people that might choose to be the animal, probably because they have never had the opportunity to actually experience the higher pleasures in life. Anyone who has actually experienced the higher pleasure in life would pick to be a human with the least amount of higher pleasure that the animal with the maximum amount of lower pleasures. It is important to say that lower pleasure are indeed pleasurable, they do bring happiness into a person s life, however they are not the most valuable of all pleasures. Life is full of higher and lower pleasures however its important to realize that life is not always great, it will have times of pain and hardships. This realization is the foundation of happiness, do not expect from life than it is capable of bestowing, life is not perfect . It s important to know this and to realize the hardships in life are generally few and short lived. If you have a cultivated mind you realize that humanity is your family, we all went through the same steps together, it is the hope for a better future what unites us and brings us together. Maybe with hard work and unity humanity can work through its problems. This kind of awareness comes from a higher pleasure and this is another reason why people would choose the higher pleasures over the lower pleasures in life.

For people to actually get to experience the higher pleasure in life they need education. This is why Mill favors a system in which everyone, regardless of the country which they live in should get an education. He also argues that college should not require for students to work to pay for their education because this makes them tired and does not allow them to actually learn and absorb all the education the college can provide. Mill also advocates for freedom, your body belongs solely to you and you choose what to do with it. The utilitarian formula looks for greatest happiness for the majority of people, this doesn t mean everyone will be happy, there is no such thing as everyone being happy or happily ever after. Regardless of the political or economical system there will always be unhappiness in this world, but this will be a small minority. The goal of this is to create the happiest possible society, to minimize the problems and maximize the good. For the problems they can serve as an example to others on what not to do, for example when someone see s a drunk on the streets living with only the clothes he or she has on their back than that serves as a lesson to not overindulge in alcoholic drinks. Being able to see all these problems prepares you for the future, it warns you on what not to do and if one is able of taking advantage of this one can overcome or at least be better prepared for problems that might arise in the future. Mill believes that the best political system that represents freedom is representative democracy. The economic system that through history has come hand in hand with democracy is capitalism. Adam Smith explains capitalism and what it entails in his book Wealth of Nations . The idea of FreeEnterprise is the center of capitalism, it means to let people be free to produce and buy what they want. Pure capitalism leaves it to the people to decide how the market fluctuates and what they market desires and rejects. In his book Smith talks about three basic assumptions, people are self interest, consumer are well educated and well informed and there is equal access to the market place. From these three basic assumptions many questions arise. If people only care about themselves then how are

we supposed to have a good society? The solution to this is to put producers into competition. This puts several factors into play, the producer self interest competes with the self interest of the consumer which in turn demands for low prices and high quality. Consumers will share information about products and they will pick the product with the lowest price and highest quality. Smith also argues that the producers should not be taxed because this takes away the profits from the company and it decreases the incentives. If you are going to pay high taxes then why work hard on a product? This is why without taxes the incentives are maximum, profits are guaranteed. Another important reason for no taxes is that producers need to maintain a profit margin large enough that allows them to invest in the research and development of new technologies that make them more competitive. Trying to get a competitive advantage is the goal, this means to be more efficient by upgrading your technology or production method. This results in either a higher quality product or a cheaper product. By achieving a level of competitive advantage the producer will get more consumers which results in higher profits, this in turn makes other producers have to develop new techniques or methods to make their products cheaper or of a higher quality. If not able to develop new technologies then producers might engage in industrial espionage, this simply means pretending to work for the competitor and stealing their secrets. The continuous cycle of this creates an environment where producers are constantly trying to out run each other in order to create better products at cheaper prices, this competition ultimately benefits the consumer. Smith says that people should be free to choose what to produce, consumers will be see all the products and choose the best ones, sort of a natural selection or survival of the fittest in the marketplace. Freedom in the marketplace extents to freedom in society. Mill advocates for freedom, he wants people to live however they choose to provided they do not hurt anyone else. Mill believes that people will learn from their mistakes and at the end they will choose the best way of living. Good ways of living will prevail while the bad ones will be eliminated through time.

For this kind of economy Mill advocates for a representative democracy with many parties. He wants a multi-party system that allows people to choose, if they do then they will end up choosing the best just like in the marketplace. Mill wants a representative democracy because he does not want the average person to make laws, he wants specialists, people with a special education to deal with laws and policies that the average person cannot do. However even though the average person cannot create the laws and policies they can judge them, just like the average person cannot make a car they can judge their performance and quality, same applies for lawmakers. Mill does warn us though that people in elected positions such as congressmen and the president shall be put under constant and eternal vigilance. They cannot be trusted, recognize they are humans which means they are subject to temptation of corruption, just as any other human being. If something is out of place or funny then investigate and find out what is going on because more than likely something might be wrong. He also says that the incentives to do well and enter political life must be great. Pay them well enough so they can buy just about anything they desire, this will give them no reason to take a bribe. In our modern society this is not the case, politicians are not paid well. Compared to professional athletes they are paid very little, and true, athletes are an important part of society, they do provide hours of entertainment however they are not more important than the people that lead our government and decide policies and laws. Another way to prevent corruption is to make the punishments for political officers very harsh. This will make them think twice about taking any sort of bribe or any sort of corruption. Punishment will be harsh and direct, corruption shall not be tolerated. Again in our society this is not the case. Often political offenders go to jail for a minimal time and to a minimum security jail, the end result of this is disrespect for the law. In this world where people are free to choose and free to elect Mill worries about tyranny of the majority. This means the majority taking advantage of the minority, resulting in unfair and unjust laws. To prevent this Mill says everyone should be well educated. With education tyranny of the majority is

less likely, he advocates for an enlightenment majority, majority that has seen all sides (even the unfair and unjust sides) and because of this will not engage in unfairness or maltreatment towards any minority. Tyranny of the majority is still possible even with educations however it is least likely this way. Mill believes that if people knew both higher and lower pleasures people would choose to indulge in the higher pleasures of life. However this is not true in our society today, people tend to embrace lower pleasures, this happens because of the lack of information and bad education. Mill believes the government should not be in charge of education because then they will only teach one side, their side, the side that better suits them, this would not be real education, it would be indoctrination. Its becaue of this that Mill prefers an education based on the voucher system. This means allowing parents to choose the school their children choose to attend, they would receive money from the government in form of a voucher and then proceed to choose the school they consider appropriate for their children. Leave it to the parents to choose the best school. Mill wants to apply the marketplace to the school system, parents will choose the better product (school) to send their children and schools will compete to have the best education possible. This brings up another problem though, now children only learn the viewpoint they re parents choose. This can be solved with a test that every child has to take independent of what school they attend. The questions would be made up by a group of select teachers from all the different schools, if the child does not perform well on the test then the parents are fined. To make sure all parents care about the fine the fine will not be set to a specific number, the fine will be a percentage of the parents income, this will make parents from all social classes independent to the amount they receive care. This will make parents be engaged with the education of their children, if they get fined they will complain to the school forcing the school to teach all sides. This test ensures that all sides are being taught at every school. The voucher system puts the schools in competition and this will only increase the level of education offered.

Another thing the government should not run is the press according to Mill. The press should be free to express and show all sides of the issues. In our modern day the press is owned by the few, which results in the rest of us just hearing the side of the rich and few. Therefore true freedom of the press and information is only guaranteed to those who own one, which are few because they are so expensive. Mill does not desire the rich to control political power. He wants the middle class to hold power and to lead. Mill argues this because the rich can afford to be lazy and because of all of their money they are out of touch from the reality of the average person, the majority. The rich are not under any economical pressure to pay their bills or to maintain their lifestyle, they do not know nor understand the daily pressures of the middle class. The rich live in their own little world, a fictitious world that does not compare to the one most people live in. He also argues the lower/poor class should not hold power, he bases his argument in the fact that the poor are too uneducated. It is because of this that Mill favors literacy tests for voting. By showing you can read you have the means to know what is going on around you, on the contrary if you cannot read then you do not know what is going on, therefore your decision on who to vote will not be good. For Mill with the use of the voucher system no group should be removed therefore the test is not discriminatory. Mill favors the rising middle class , the successful people that are growing, rising from the middle class into the upper class. Those are the people who are successful in business, talented people that know how to keep their business competitive and running at low costs. Those are the people that should be running government, they are up to date with what the public wants and needs and they are the ones that efficiency at the time that it comes to operate and carry out functions. Mill wants a society based on achievements. He wants a meritocracy, a place where you are where you are in life because of the work you have done. Mill would not approve of our current society where many people have their fortunes because of inheritances from their family. If this was implemented it

would change the world we live in. This would allow for more opportunities for less privileged people and the people in the top would be people that truly deserve to be there. The rich would be the talented people in our society, the people who through hard work and intelligence have been able to reach the place they have gotten to.