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The Criticisms of John Stuart Mill and Its Applications in Today's Society

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“Absolute liberty is the absence of restraint; responsibility is restraint; therefore, the ideally free individual is responsible to himself” - Henry Brooks Adams. There has been great debate, past and present with regards to what constitutes as an individuals liberty. It has been subject to constant ridicule and examination due to violations of civil rights. Freedom, liberty, and independence are all important human rights represented within John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty.
In his essay, Mill explores the two dimensions to liberty; individual and social. Carefully he analyzes the variance between the individual and social sphere through freedom of expression, more specifically, freedom of speech. Throughout the novel, he expresses that freedom of expression is one of the greatest social utilities, not only a valuable asset to the individual but also to society. Thus, this essay will prove that freedom of expression is a privilege, when violated, has serious repercussions on the offended. To healthily exercise liberty, one must responsibly censor degrading comments and actions that could infringe upon the rights of another individual.
Mill advocates for free speech on several grounds, first and foremost on the basis of the protection of an individuals social liberty. He states that the entirety of the essay is not about the “liberty of the will” but more the “civil or social liberty of an individual” (Mill,1) This characterizes that Mill cares more about the individual and their needs than what the majority is in favor of. His belief that the weaker should have constant protection against the stronger affirms that government should preferentially guard and support those being attacked by a greater force. This will be furthe...


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...y are stifling the students an opportunity to defend themselves. Essentially, their argument and what they said could have been correct, and although what Steyn said was highly unjust it was clearly a depiction of his lack of responsibility.
In conclusion, it can be proven that social freedom of expression is a privilege constantly taken for granted, and is unjustly violating minorities with whom suffer the consequences. Evidently, through the Mark Steyn case, responsibility is restraint, a characteristic, Steyn clearly doesn't posses, and the repercussions severely effected the Muslim students. Mill outlines freedom as a human right and demonstrates without this freedom society does not have the chance to flourish and evolve into a great nation. As stated by Henry Adam, a free individual is responsible for himself, a trait that society needs to grasp more of.


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