John Stuart Mill Free Speech Analysis

1419 Words6 Pages
Sabine Comploi 15710649 Freedom of Expression As for now, a society with limitless freedom of speech has yet to exist. There is no such thing as complete free speech, it is always carefully balanced with other political values. While free speech is a human right, guaranteed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, International Law accepts restrictions on free speech to protect the rights or reputations of others, national security, public order, public health and morals (Lawson and Bertucci, 1996, p.815). In line with this, the Irish Constitution States that 'You have the right to freely express convictions and opinions. However, the Constitution asserts that the state should try to make sure that the radio, the press…show more content…
It has been argued that it is a slippery slope and limitations lead to further restrictions and tyranny. One of the most compelling, liberal arguments for freedom of expression was made by 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill in his book On Liberty. This essay will assess Mill 's arguments for free speech, Mill 's Harm Principle on when free speech should be limited and lastly The Harm Principle on two separate issues: pornography and hate speech and how far they should be curtailed under Mill 's Harm…show more content…
I would like to start with Pornography as the debate has been particularly acute here. In the case of Pornography the Harm Principle can be applied if it can be demonstrated that the rights of citizens have been violated, which is hard to demonstrate in this case. Up to the 1970s the arguments against Pornography came mostly from social conservatives that argued that it was immoral and obscene. But while the purpose of Pornography is sexual arousal, it can, but does not necessary have to be obscene. It might be more advisable to warn the consumer rather than prohibit it. In the 21st century demands of prohibition of porn come mostly from feminists who label it as degrading, endangering and harming for women. If we can prove that Pornography does violate rights, those would be grounds to limit it. But while it can certainly be proven in the case of underage children, it is harder to make this point with consenting adults. If the conditions of the Porn Industry are bad, it is advisable to control and regulate the industry rather than prohibit
Open Document