Similarities Between Locke And Mill

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Nick Justice Dr. Felis PAR-101-003 8 November 2015 Mid-Term Paper: Locke & Mill This paper will explain Mill’s argument and then make an argument that Locke and Mill would not agree on the idea of free speech. Prior to comparing them to Locke’s arguments, it is important to understand Mill’s view on free speech. In chapter 2 of On Liberty, Mill concludes that "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." [Mill p11] He begins this argument by justifying the importance of “liberty of the press” [Mill p10] to act as a foundation to build his argument on.…show more content…
These similarities are reasons that lead to the fact that they would agree on the ideas of speech. Locke, throughout his piece, writes on an idea of a “natural state” that Locke defines as “a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons (…) a state also of equality.” [Locke, Sect. 4] In a natural state, there is no limit on free speech. In fact, Locke derives from the natural state “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.” [Locke, Sect 6] It is this law of nature that he bases what a society should protect. From this it is safe to conclude that free speech would be a liberty of which society should protect. That being said, according to Locke free speech could very well be a liberty that one sacrifices upon entering a society. “But though men, when they enter into society, give up the equality, liberty, and executive power they had in the state of nature, into the hands of the society, to be so far disposed of by the legislative, as the good of the society shall require; yet it being only with an intention in every one the better to preserve himself, his liberty and property (…) that made the state of nature so unsafe and uneasy.” [Locke, Sect. 131] The question regarding Locke’s argument then becomes “does one lose the right to free speech when he enters a society from a natural state?” This all relies on whether or not speech has the ability to make society unsafe or uneasy. Words have the power to create conflict so therefore that would be a liberty that is taken away in Locke’s
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