"None of the supposed rights of man go beyond the egoistic man, man as he is a member of civil society; that is, an individual separated from the community, withdrawn into himself, wholly preoccupied with his private interests and acting in accordance with his private caprice."
Karl Marx, On the Jewish Question
"The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it."
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
While, after reading the above two quotations, it may appear that Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill take seemingly opposing views on the proper …show more content…
The real truth, however, falls somewhere between these two poles.
Mill on the Individual
Mill wastes no time in articulating the central thesis of On Liberty; he states, "Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign" (69). Mill, then, does not make the individual more important than society, but he separates the individual from society and articulates a realm of existence in which society, or the community, should have no power over the individual. Mill states, "The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is self-protection His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant" (68). Society, therefore, has no right to intervene in the private life of any person, unless they act in such a way that prevents others from enjoying their own rights.
Mill is extremely clear as to why the individual should be sovereign over his or her body and mindto counter the effects of a possible "tyranny of the majority." Mill states, "It (the majority) practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself" (63).
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John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty” essay, published in 1859, portrays Mill’s perception of liberty with an emphasis on individuality. He explicitly states at the start of the essay that the main point is to “govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control” (5). His push to establish the basic guidelines for the relationship between authority and liberty is a result of his ethical theory of utilitarianism. Throughout the course of this essay, Mill provides the reader with a deeper understanding of their individual civil liberties, as well as presenting examples that enhance his ideas.
John Stuart Mill uses much of the same reasoning to defend freedom of individuality as he did with the defense of freedoms of opinion. As he stated earlier in chapter 2, “ages are no more infallible than individuals; every age having held many opinions which subsequent ages have deemed not only false but absurd…” meaning the majority is not always correct and could be imposing opinions that are incorrect (pg 21-22). This same argument applies to individuality. When people are forced to conform to one way of living, the possibility of finding a better way to live is impossible. Each person’s life, when given the freedom to live their life in a way that does not harm others, acts as an experiment. The more varied the experiments, the better a
Only in a society comprised of individuals free to have individual ideas and free to express them among each other, can the society that Mill envisioned come into fruition. However, even with these two conditions fulfilled, Mill is still relying on an
Mill is a libertarian, which means he believed that everyone's liberty and freedom should be protected, Mill views liberty as “The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs or impede their efforts to obtain it.” ( Mill )
The dominant idea of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty is the harm principle, the assertion that society can only intervene with the action of an individual when said action harms or heightens the probability of harm to another individual without their consent. However Mill offers in addition a noteworthy caveat to the harm principle. He asserts that society can also intervene when the choice of the individual is to irrevocably surrender their liberty even when said action harms only themselves
John Stuart Mill believes that a state and society are permitted to override the liberties of individual only when an individual is doing something that will harm others. That’s mean unless the individual is harming others, the government should not interfere with an individual life. He believes that everyone has the rights to make their own choices, and has the responsibility to protect one another. So if one is trying to harm themselves without harming others, then the society should not do anything by take away individual freedom. The society should let a person do whatever they want for their own happiness. However, if an individual trying harm him or herself trough their action, but he or she actions might harm others, then the society
Mill stresses in his novel On Liberty the idea of choice and the human right to make one’s own decisions. He believes that the power of choice is one of the most valuable characteristics a human being has. In the eyes of Mill, individuality is a beautiful key component in the development of one’s life. It should be
conformism”i, and in accord with the tenets of the ‘harm principle’, he suggests that an individual “should be allowed, without molestation to carry his [or her] opinions into practice at his [or her] own cost”ii so long as he or she does “not make himself [or herself] a nuisance to other people”iii. Although Mill recognises that “it would be absurd to pretend that people ought to live as if nothing whatever had been known in the world before they came into it”, he provides a utilitarian argument in favour of his doctrine of ‘non-conformity’, and he asserts that conformity is both contrary to “individual flourishing”iv, and detrimental to the “diversity of character and culture”v that has “has made the European family of nations an improving, instead of a stationary, portion of mankind”vi.
Many different political thinkers have greatly influenced the current political ideologies. It is more than true that political thinkers and ideologists are constantly changing and influencing the political world. But, none have quite influenced the liberal ideology like John Mill. Mill was not only one of the most influential political thinkers of all time, but also a philosopher, and used his ideas and understandings of the world, ethics, and morality in his political ideas. Mill believed that every man was a key member of society, and society was made of men, all with individual ideas and voices. But, when it came to morals or religion, those voices should not be used to influence government or freedom. Mill Advocated for complete and total freedom, as long as it didn’t hurt or cause harm to anyone or anything other than the person “doing” the act. Using ideas from worldviews like naturalism he came up with his own political ideology that forever influenced what is now known as liberalism.
This group of individuals must not only be protected from society, but against self-inflicted injuries as well (Mill, On Liberty, p. 19). Mill goes on to express that tyranny, under the right circumstances, is justified. In societies where the people are barbaric, the tyrannical behavior is justified by the outcome: the social development of those individuals. In this example, boundaries to protect private, social liberty were unnecessary. However, he does not think that the concept of liberty existed before the time where mankind was able to participate in the open debate of ideas (Mill, On Liberty, p. 19). Mill defines utility as the general appeal on all ethical grounds in which all humans base their progression on. He says that this concept is what justifies subjecting individuals to checks on their liberty once they violate another’s, because it is what is best for society (Mill, On Liberty, p. 20). Just as an individual can be held accountable for wrongs done to other members of society, they can be held accountable for the acts that they were compelled to do and chose not to. For example, if an innocent person is on trial for a crime and someone has vital information that could help acquit the innocent party, they are compelled by society to testify with that information. If they refrain from doing so, that is just as evil to others as having committed the crime themselves. This responsibility is rooted in the idea that someone who is protected by a system that
In addition, Mill supported the belief that, “Each is the proper guardian of his own heath, whether bodily or mental and spiritual.” Therefore, by limiting autonomy the assumption would have to be made that the individual no longer has the ability to be the guardian of themselves. This concept can not be universally applied; independent of the structure of government in a particular society, because of the agreement that man is a rational being.
John Stuart Mill’s essay titled Liberty is about his position on liberty. The essay covers every from of liberty and how as a society we are can hinder or increase liberty. Mill believes individual liberty has to exist in order for society to advance. The cultivation of vital individuality is what ignites progress within society, for many reasons and he summarizes his findings in his essay. The main theme I will be further analyzing is that without a strong will to consistently create vital individuality, society will cease to progress.
Lastly, Philio Gabriel (2010) stated that Mill’s book ‘On Liberty’ highlighted the application of liberty. Basically, the application of liberty itself is limited to all individuals. By owning a gun, it is strictly need to keep all the personal information of the individuals. The liberty is there but is blocked by the authority. Besides, Mill believed that individuals are not accountable towards the society but answerable towards their behaviour either it is harmful or otherwise. Meanwhile, Mill agreed that any harmful behaviour in voicing out opinions like business is somehow bring an advantages towards the society will be considered fine. Hence, “individuals’ happiness is attained by living in a civilized society whereas individuals are free to engage
Mill states the only time others are warranted in interfering with the freedoms of individuals is for self-protection or to prevent that individual from harming others. Contemporary examples of this logic are present in prostitution, gambling, the legalisation of recreational marijuana, alcohol, requiring lawmakers to make subjective interpretations. In my opinion, the harm principle cannot be applied to government legislation, while this principle certainly carries theoretical merit, it is also quite subjective. It will be difficult to apply generalised principles to situations that do not threaten others' basic survival rights. For instance, smoking may be a repulsive habit to many, but should an individual's freedom to smoke be called into question? While second-hand smoke affects others, one may argue that this is not a direct threat to survival as the way that a drunk driving is. Certainly, a contrast in the severity of harm or inconvenience that can potentially affect others by an individual's behaviour. In addition, the same freedom affects different individuals in different
As expressed in the essay, On Liberty, there is the conception liberty override the idea of conformity. Conformity of the notion to alter and fit in with rest of the community. Mill showed that tyranny of majority should