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Short Essay on Liberty

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❶Laski supports the positive aspect of liberty. To Seeley "Liberty is the opposite of over-government".




In the positive aspect of liberty free and full opportunity is provided by law to every individual for the development of his personality. Laski supports the positive aspect of liberty.

All the modern democratic states accept and recognise the positive aspect of liberty as against the negative aspect of liberty, as absolute and unrestrained freedom will degenerate into licence.

Barker believes all actions of the individual are social-actions as they affect society. Thus, Liberty can be divided into five kinds. The concept of natural liberty was highlighted by the contractualists like Hobbes, Locks and Rousseau. According to them, the concept of liberty is natural to man and therefore it is in born with man. Rousseau writes " Man is born free". The civil liberty is enjoyed in the capacity of a man or an individual. The absence of civil liberty will reduce the man to the status of stud animals.

This liberty enables a person to associate himself in the affairs of the state. Laski writes for the enjoyment of this liberty two conditions are necessary- 1 widespread education, 2 supply of honest and straightforward information. A person enjoys economic liberty in the capacity of a worker. This liberty was highlighted by Karl Marx who propounded for an exploitation free society. It implies the absence of unemployment, exploitation, unfair wages, insecurity, substandard living etc.

National liberty implies 'self-rule' of the people Every nation has a right to rule over themselves. It means the absence of imperialism and colonialism. Thus when a states born, it is born with a right to be independent and sovereign. The nation should be independent of foreign domination as it will lead to slavery, exploitation and racial discrimination. In more recent times, although On Liberty garnered adverse criticism, it has been largely received as an important classic of political thought for its ideas and accessibly lucid style.

Denise Evans and Mary L. Onorato summarise the modern reception of On Liberty , stating: Enhanced by his powerful, lucid, and accessible prose style, Mill's writings on government, economics, and logic suggest a model for society that remains compelling and relevant.

Mill makes it clear throughout On Liberty that he "regard[s] utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions", a standard he inherited from his father, a follower of Jeremy Bentham. Mill claims that all of his principles on liberty appeal to the ultimate authority of utilitarianism, according to Nigel Warburton , much of the essay can seem divorced from his supposed final court of appeals.

Mill seems to idealize liberty and rights at the cost of utility. For instance, Mill writes: This claim seems to go against the principle of utilitarianism, that it is permissible that one should be harmed so that the majority could benefit. Warburton argues that Mill is too optimistic about the outcome of free speech. Warburton suggests that there are situations in which it would cause more happiness to suppress truth than to permit it.

For example, if a scientist discovered a comet about to kill the planet in a matter of weeks, it may cause more happiness to suppress the truth than to allow society to discover the impending danger. While David Brink concedes that Mill's apparently categorical appeal to rights seems to contradict utilitarianism, he points out that Mill does not believe rights are truly categorical because Mill opposes unrestrained liberty e.

Furthermore, David Brink tries to reconcile Mill's system of rights with utilitarianism in three ways: Some thinkers have criticised Mill's writing for its apparent narrow or unclear focus in several areas. Mill makes clear that he only considers adults in his writing, failing to account for how irrational members of society, such as children, ought to be treated. He also argues that, while much of Mill's theory depends upon a distinction between private and public harm, Mill seems not to have provided a clear focus on or distinction between the private and public realms.

Nigel Warburton states that though Mill encourages religious tolerance, because he does not speak from the perspective of a specific religion, some claim that he does not account for what certain religious beliefs would entail when governing a society. Some religions believe that they have a God given duty to enforce religious norms. For them, it seems impossible for their religious beliefs to be wrong, i.

Therefore, according to Warburton, Mill's principle of total freedom of speech may not apply. The harm principle is central to the principles in On Liberty. Early in the book, he claims that simply being offensive does not constitute harm. Warburton notes that some people argue that morality is the basis of society, and that society is the basis of individual happiness. Therefore, if morality is undermined, so is individual happiness.

Hence, since Mill claims that governments ought to protect the individual's ability to seek happiness, governments ought to intervene in the private realm to enforce moral codes.

Mill is clear that his concern for liberty does not extend to all individuals and all societies. He states that "Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians". However, during his term as a Member of Parliament , he chaired the extraparliamentary Jamaica Committee , which for two years unsuccessfully sought the prosecution of Governor Eyre and his subordinates for military violence against Jamaican Blacks.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the book by Shami Chakrabarti, see On Liberty This article possibly contains original research.

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The title page of the first edition, published That principle is, that 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.

That the only purpose for which power can 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. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise.

To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

On Liberty contains a rational justification of the freedom of the individual in opposition to the claims of the state to impose unlimited control, and has become a classic of libertarian philosophy. In this essay Mill also warns of a second danger to liberty, which democracies are prone to, namely, the tyranny of the majority. In a representative democracy, if you can control the majority and get them to vote for, and elect, your candidates then you can control everyone because your candidates, once "democratically elected", will pass whatever laws are needed for this, as was done by Hitler's agents in the s in Nazi Germany and seems to be happening today in the U.

Here's what Mill writes in the Introduction to On Liberty about the tyranny of the majority: Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities.

But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannizing are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it 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.

Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development and, if possible, prevent the formation of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own.

There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs as protection against political despotism. A brief biography of Mill from Encarta '


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Liberty is a magic concept which has inspired millions to revolt and the history of mankind is nothing but the story of liberty. It is a concept with magical touch for which people still prefer to die.

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John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty, which contains a rational justification of the liberty of the individual in opposition to the claims of the state to impose unrestricted control. Other articles deaing with liberty, freedom and democracy, with special attention to the situation in the U.S.A.

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Liberty is derived from the Latin word liber which means free. It is a word of negative meaning denoting absence of restraint. Its primary significance is to do what one likes, regardless of all consequences. But this is obviously impossibility. Liberty in the sense of a complete absence of . On Liberty study guide contains a biography of John Stuart Mill, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

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Free Essay: Analysis & Critique of J.S. Mill's On Liberty The perception of liberty has been an issue that has bewildered the human race for a long time. On Liberty literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of On Liberty.