John Stuart Mill's Defence Of Liberty

1097 Words5 Pages
2.3 A Panoramic View: John Stuart Mill’s Defence of Liberty John Stuart Mill makes a very necessary and significant distinction in the opening lines of his book On Liberty. He spells out legibly the theme of his essay as he indicates: “The subject of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, so unfortunately opposed to the misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity; but Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.” By this statement, we could stipulate explicitly, yet briefly that, J.S. Mill’s theory of liberty has little to do with the so called argument between determinism and free will. Its focus is largely directed towards the political cum ethical mode of coexistence among human beings. Despite the fact, critics assert, that Mill’s theory of liberty is much more individualistic, he like Aristotle is not ignorant of the fact that the “human being is by nature a social or a political animal.” In this line of thought, Mill indicates that liberty is one of the issues which border much on the relationship that coexists among people in a society but it is seldom addressed. Interestingly, it is…show more content…
This is the contrary in Mill’s eyes. Democracy nurtures the tyranny of the majority by allowing public opinion to stomp over the voice of the minority. This form of tyranny is the gravest and most enslaving. There is little or no guarantee that what the majority deems fit or best is really so. It is paramount, bearing in mind that the stance of the majority is also tainted with motives and biases that should not come in when making decisions for a society. A critical view of the dissensions that have characterized history reveals that sometimes the majority’s choice has not been out of good
Get Access