animal element the thirst for retaliation and this thirst derives its intensity

Animal element the thirst for retaliation and this

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animal element, the thirst for retaliation ; and this thirst derives its intensity, as well as its moral justification, from the extraordinarily important and impressive
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HOW CONNECTED WITH JUSTICE. 81 kind of utility which is concerned. The interest involved is that of security, to every one's feelings the most vital of all interests. Nearly all other earthly benefits are needed by one person, not needed by another ; and many of them can, if necessary, be cheerfully foregone, or replaced by something else ; but security no human being can possibly do without ; on it we depend for all our immunity from evil, and for the whole value of all and every good, beyond the passing moment ; since nothing but the gratification of the instant could be of any worth to us, if we could be deprived of everything the next instant by who ever was momentarily stronger than ourselves. Now this most indispensable of all necessaries, after phy sical nutriment, cannot be had, unless the machinery for providing it is kept unintermittedly in active play. Our notion, therefore, of the claim we have on our fellow creatures to join in making safe for us the very groundwork of our existence, gathers feelings round it so much more intense than those concerned in any of the more common cases of utility, that the dif ference in degree (as is often the case in psychology) becomes a real difference in kind. The claim assumes that character of absoluteness, that apparent infinity, and incommensurability with all other considerations, which constitute the distinction between the feeling of right and wrong and that of ordinary expediency and inexpediency. The feelings concerned are so power ful, and we count so positively on finding a responsive feeling in others (all being alike interested), that ought and should grow into must, and recognized indispensa- bility becomes a moral necessity, analogous to phy sical, and often not inferior to it in binding force. G
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82 UTILITARIANISM. If the preceding analysis, or something resembling it, be not the correct account of the notion of justice ; if justice be totally independent of utility, and be a standard per se, which the mind can recognize by simple introspection of itself ; it is hard to understand why that internal oracle is so ambi guous, and why so many things appear either just or unjust, according to the light in which they are regarded. We are continually informed that Utility is an uncertain standard, which every different person interprets differently, and that there is no safety but in the immutable, ineffaceable, and unmistakeable dictates of Justice, which carry their evidence in themselves, and are independent of the fluctuations of opinion. One would suppose from this that on questions of j ustice there could be no controversy ; that if we take that for our rule, its application to any given case could leave us in as little doubt as a mathematical demonstration. So far is this from being the fact, that there is as much difference of opinion, and as fierce discussion, about what is just, as about what is useful
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