Even if a sophisticated utilitarianism such as Brandt's or Braybrooke's could give the same answers to these questions that we do, we would prefer our rights perspective to that of the utilitarian for two reasons.
First, the utilitarian support for rights rests on too shaky a foundation. As you recall, Braybrooke argued that there is "an impressive empirical consideration that offers a strong defense, indefinitely continuing, for the inalienability of certain rights. Mindful of the weakness of human nature and aware of the imperfections of provisions for legislation, people believe that they will be safer if certain rights are kept out of reach." From our point of view this provision for natural rights is too insecure. Let people's attitudes about the frailty of human nature become less pessimistic and human rights will be in danger.
Second, the very complexity of the utilitarian attempt to find a place for human rights suggests that we might do better to let human rights serve as the focal point at the outset. However, the reader is urged to wait until completing Chapter Three before making a final decision on the question. In concluding this chapter, let us return to at least two of our original questions concerning the state. Our first question asked under what conditions a state should actually have authority. A utilitarian would answer that the state should have authority to provide for the public good. Immediately one would then ask our second question: "What is the proper scope or extent of its authority?" To this question, a utilitarian would respond that the extent of the state's authority should be sufficient to enable it to provide for the public good as long as the cost of expanding state authority is taken into account. Let us now consider how an adherent of natural rights would delineate the function of the state and the scope of its proper authority.