What is the best argument for freedom of speech?

1492 Words Jul 12th, 2009 6 Pages
Freedom of speech and the liberty to uphold one’s expression has long been the subject of many debates. It has taken centuries if not years for mankind to come to a point where many can easily voice their opinions without having to ponder over the consequences. But one should always know where to draw the line. Freedom of expression also needs to have its limits. Two of the masterminds who put forth their work on liberty and freedom of speech were John Stuart Mill and Jean-Jacque Rousseau. The concepts penned by Rousseau contradict those that were constructed by Mil; while the former focused on the functioning of the society as a whole, the latter advocated the rights of the individual to his freedom.

Mill basically argument in his piece
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Mill charted three categories of freedom and asserted that the society was to abide by all three, if it were a free society. The first was freedom of thought and opinion, the second being the right to plan one’s life and future and the third to associate with other individuals on mutual grounds. The main idea behind this was that one should be able to pursue their own whims without hurting others in the process. Rousseau also has three implications of the contract. The first one being the fact that the conditions of the contract are same for everyone which is why everyone will collectively make it easier for everyone else to follow, secondly an individual cannot stand against the authority because he has given up that right because he is a part of the state, and lastly, there is completely equality ergo the natural freedom that people enjoy stays intact, regardless of the social contract. It was in the ‘Discourse of Inequality’ that Rousseau observed of inequality that the powerful has the choice between giving the masses an equal piece of the pie or letting the masses rot while they took everything for themselves. He was not an advocate of the powerful; he merely illustrated how the meek must always follow them because they have no other choice.

The problem with Rousseau’s approach is that it completely rejects the claim that minorities or small groups may have on the society. If the masses chose to, they can quite literally annihilate any small

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