Liberty of Verbal Expression Essay

Liberty of Verbal Expression Essay

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The principle of non-harm was brought forth by James Stuart Mill in On Liberty by introducing two different spheres that make up life. The spheres were private and public. A meaningful life is found when a maximum private sphere is present because decisions are personally beneficial. Democratic historical and social context give background to why the non-harm principle was so revolutionary. The non-harm principle can be applied to freedom of speech in that harm by words only occurs when the result is instant physical harm. Freedom of speech is crucial in learning from three types of opinions: true, false, and partly true and false. The exchange of opinions through freedom of speech is what strengthens arguments and makes for the truth to be discovered.
Mill’s philosophy of liberty was first made distinct by the non-harm principle. The principle defined two different spheres in an individual’s life: private and public (Mill, 11). The private sphere includes individual freedoms where full control is had over his own body and mind (Mill, 9). Limitation to the private sphere comes when personal freedoms begin to harm other individuals (Mill, 9). The public sphere is associated with governmental laws that prohibit harm against other people’s interest. The goal in life was to have the biggest private sphere possible, which meant individual freedom. Living a private life is preferred because it gives way to more time spent doing what is wanted, and less time doing what is needed. A private life is limited once private actions and words harm others (Mill, 9). Individual freedom was to be absolute and to the maximum extent possible without causing harm to others.
Mill provided the non-harm principle to assist in dealing wit...


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...groups were controlled by the school. I disagree with Mill because prayer facilitates the expansion of my private sphere. My spheres cannot be kept separate since my faith in my private sphere influences every decision I make. Harm by freedom of speech only occurs when words lead to immediate physical harm, which is not the intention of prayer, and the presence of God on our money is evidence that the nation is dependent upon God for our strength and safety. Clearly, the public sphere of our nation has not been able to fully separate the two spheres completely, so I should not be expected to either. I live my life with the highest moral purpose in both my private life and in my public life. The only way I can make moral decisions in my life is through the strength I get from God.

References

Mill, J.S. On Liberty. (Massachusetts: Agora Publications, 2009.)

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