Mill's Freedom of Expression

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John Stuart Mill’s on Liberty argues the connection between liberty and utility. According to Mill, a man must be free to pursue his own goals and express himself as an individual without any repercussion from the society as long as his action will benefit the society. He asserted that we should pursue the higher pleasure such as reading poems and joining an intellectual debate, which will bring higher utility (happiness), compared to the lower pleasure such as drinking and gambling, which will bring lower utility. He is concern on individual freedom of expression, thinking that such libertarian ideal in a person that had brought to the Enlightenment of Europe is disappearing within society in the 19th century England and the Western world. This paper will convey Mill’s arguments for freedom of expression and its acceptance. Freedom of expression according to Mill is the essence of liberty for men within societal restrain. Mill categories three spheres of freedom; 1) the conscience, and the liberty of individual thought and opinion, 2) living one’s life, and 3) liberty to form a group. This is because, Mill wanted individual to live their own life and pursue their own goals. He believes in individuality where men have distinctive set of thinking and way of life. Thus, he values diversity. However, societal norms are often a barrier for freedom of expression since society demanded conformity. Conformity often involved silencing and limiting other opinions. He dislikes such action arguing that silencing robs society from various ideas that can progress humanity. His arguments signify his view on liberalism, which is gaining popularity during his time and ours. Since we live in a society, Mill is concern on the tyranny of the majo... ... middle of paper ... ...healthy since he thinks the civilized society contains much of the prevalence attitudes and progress in the Western civilization and such attitudes grounded in the higher pleasure is necessary to progress humankind. In conclusion, John Stuart Mill considered freedom of expression as essential to human development as long as we keep it in line with the harm principle and have a fair discussion on ideas and belief. He proposes very persuasive arguments for freedom of expression due to his deep conscience on liberalism and utility in relation to human progress as a society. However, his arguments came from his Western centric attitudes and upbringing, which is not universal. He lacks the respect and understanding of other people’s customs and traditions in his arguments. Nevertheless, his idea on freedom of expression is regarded as influential to many great thinkers.
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