Ursula K. LeGuins short story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, is a philosophical tale that tests the underlying logic of utilitarianism, as expressed in Jeremy Benthams The Principle of Utility (p. 463). If it is true, as many people argue, that public policy should be based on the greatest good for the greatest number of people, then we should be willing to condemn one single individual to a life of abject misery if, by doing so, we create happiness and prosperity for an entire city. This is the question LeGuin forces readers to confront as she slowly reveals the ugly truth of the utopian city of Omelas.
Write an essay of 1,000 words that engages with the argument symbolized in Ursula K. LeGuins short story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by comparing the situation described in the story to a similar situation in America in 2020.
List ways in which public policy sometimes requires the sacrifice of some peoples happiness for the benefit of the collective. Military service might be one example, especially if people are drafted into the military and are compelled to risk their lives for others. But there are many other public policy decisionsinvolving healthcare, environmental protection, speed limits, drinking ages, pharmaceutical regulation, etc.where decisions invariably have to balance the various interests of different individuals. Is this the same thing that Le Guin describes in The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas? Why or why not?
Support your arguments with evidence in the form of summarized, paraphrased, and/or quoted material from LeGuins short story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas; Jeremy Benthams essay, The Principle of Utility; and any outside sources you find online.
As always, use MLA format and include a Works Cited page.
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