Essay Exploring John Mill's Harm Principle

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Freedom is a necessary principle to abide by in order for the human race to function. On the other hand, freedom can be taken advantage of, thus resulting in harmful consequences to those directly and indirectly involved. The article, “On Liberty” by John S. Mills, places emphasis on the functioning of individual liberty and its co-existence with society. Mills stresses the limits of individual liberty through what is famously known as his Harm Principle: "the only purpose for which power may be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant" (Cahn). With special consideration placed on drug use and free…show more content…
This leads to an increase in criminal activity such as neglect of familial duties, robberies to fund their dependency, and violence to defend their habits. The ‘drugee’ becomes a nuisance to society. Some become homeless and exhibit poor health habits such as malnutrition and tooth decay. Other negative effects include the transference of diseases because of needle sharing. Though drug use is a personal choice, the effects on the rest of society are undeniable. The best intentions are formulated on a personal level, but this is overcastted by its negative effects. This argument, however, is a bit one-sided because the reason for using and dependency varies between users.
In pre-modern times, drugs took on a role of medicinal use. As they were distributed in a free market without any constraints, Opium was recommended for sleepless nights, Cocaine for anesthesia, Hashish for relaxation (Hart, Ksir & Ray). These drugs were not dubbed as harmful, therefore, under the appropriate circumstances, provided beneficial effects to its users. More recently, individuals are more inclined to use drugs as an ‘escape’. Stimulants provide a sort of alternate existence which tends to reduce mental tension, increase energy, or induce euphoria (Hart, Ksir & Ray). Argumentatively speaking, drug use only affects the user, so there is no valid reasoning for impairing the freedom of citizens by prohibiting them. Individuals benefit by having the freedom to use

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