Mill and Bentham Philosophies about Democracy Essay

Mill and Bentham Philosophies about Democracy Essay

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Attitudes toward democracy

The word "democracy" is a tricky one, and it is important to bear in mind that it meant different things to different people in the 19th century, Just as it does today. For some mid-Victorians the word democracy was a term of abuse. But for many others, it was worth pursuing, but not to be taken too far. John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham were a famous thinkers and philosophers who held an important attitudes toward democracy. Each one of them call for a different theory toward suffrage and the right to vote.

Bentham's theory calls for "ultra-democracy", he believes that each individual has the right to decide what the public interests are. He insists that the interest of the community is nothing than the sum of the interests of several members who compose it. And to be able to understand any individual's interest, you should understand his preferences and the pleasure he seeks, which could be achieved through maximizing the preferences of the greater numbers. Bentham was objected to the "sinister interest" of the ruling elite, because he has a great believe that they were bound to pursue their own interest, which in turn the interest of the minority and could be conflicted to the rest of the society's interests. Therefore, the only remedy for this evil is to allow each person a share in choosing who will represent his or her interests in the parliament.

On the other hand, John Stuart Mill would have regarded such democracy as a great improvement on what went before, but hold a different attitude toward it. He believes that everyone ought to have a voice, but not everyone should have an equal voice. Mill, in the first place, objects to the distinction between classes and...


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...Know nothing about the interests or happiness of their community except the class which they belong to .Secondly,by excluding poor people from voting will increase the level of feud between this class and the rest of the society, which in turn will lead to unstable community full of violence and hostility. Thirdly, the poor and working class represent the majority of all communities,and by ignoring their opinions and interests we are ignoring the interests of the majority,this tends to be unfair and would as a result lead to a great disorder and an unstable society,because no one could be aware of their interests except them,it is one of their right to choose who should represent them and call for their needs and fulfill their ambitions as well .That's why I do believe in Bentham's theory and feel it is persuasive since it is based on justice and equality.

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