Modern Government Surveillance In John Stuart Mill's The Mongol Empire

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I notice that the fictional stories I tend to enjoy most are concentrated on the actions of one extraordinary individual. This applied to history where I was drawn to the great leaders of the past. I realise now that this type of historiography has become unpopular due to its reductionist focus on specific individuals rather than the experiences of society as a whole. Yet, it still holds a certain allure for me. The rise of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire quickly became my favourite topic in history after having heard of his exploits during a podcast. It was not a part of the school syllabus however I felt that it would be a good way to broaden my perspective on world history rather than focusing on just Europe. My research involved reading John Man’s ‘The Mongol Empire’, which placed emphasis…show more content…
This involved having to understand what liberty entailed and as such I read John Stuart Mill’s essay ‘On Liberty’. The essay raised several questions, the most important to my topic being the legitimacy of government authority over the lives of their citizens. Initially, I felt that the government were unjustified in their use of surveillance. I had originally thought that Mill would arrive at the same conclusion. However, Mill’s harm principle indicates the latter. He justifies state interference into citizen lives as a means of preventing said citizens from harming each other. The state has an obligation to ensure the safety of its people. The government achieves this by monitoring the information of its citizens as a preventative caution. I concluded that while surveillance did infringe on liberty, concessions were necessary for security. It was fascinating to see how relevant Mill remains today. One of the most impressive facets about history is the parallels that could be made from past to
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