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|Essay on Liberty|
By John Stuart Mill
(English philosopher and economist, 18061873)
|MANKIND can hardly be too often reminded, that there was once a man named Socrates, between whom and the legal authorities and public opinion of his time, there took place a memorable collision. Born in an age and country abounding in individual greatness, this man has been handed down to us by those who best knew both him and the age, as the most virtuous man in it; while we know him as the head and prototype of all subsequent teachers of virtue, the source equally of the lofty inspiration of Plato and the judicious utilitarianism of Aristotle, the two headsprings of ethical as of all other philosophy. This acknowledged master of all the eminent thinkers who have since livedwhose fame, still growing after more than two thousand years, all but outweighs the whole remainder of the names which make his native city illustriouswas put to death by his countrymen, after a judicial conviction, for impiety and immorality. Impiety, in denying the Gods recognized by the State; indeed his accusers asserted (see the Apologia) that he believed in no gods at all. Immorality, in being, by his doctrines and instructions, a corrupter of youth. Of these charges the tribunal, there is every ground for believing, honestly found him guilty, and condemned the man who probably of all then born had deserved best of mankind, to be put to death as a criminal.|| 1|