John Stuart Mill On Freedom Of Speech

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Freedom of speech is an issue that transcends time. In a recent and controversial case, Maclean’s magazine was accused of publishing hateful and Islamophobic content that, (from the complainant’s point of view) allowed for no opportunity to be countered. There are parallels between John Stuart Mill’s work On liberty and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms enacted by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on what boundaries to place on such a precious liberty. Both generally conclude that a person’s freedoms must not be infringed upon unless they harm others in society. Does the publishing a critical opinion of one’s religion constitute as harm? ( is this harm question the thesis?). This will be explored the analysis of Canadian legislatures …show more content…
The article addressed 9/11 and hinted to the notion that a “Muslim takeover” has occurred in the Western World. In this way, he contends that populations in areas of Europe are dwindling (i.e. Italy) and are being replaced by an increase in the number of Muslims immigrating to the country. He states implications that because of the increase in Muslims entering Europe there could a change in formal law from the current judicial system to one that is under “sharia law” (Steyn 2006). Similar statements were reiterated in the interview Mr. Steyn participated in with The Agenda. In this interview he essentially stated the above and essentially discussed the increasingly growing Muslim population among Western countries and the fear that some individuals in this group may be jihadists (in which he referenced 9/11) and that their beliefs may interfere with their assimilation into North American (e.g. Canadian) …show more content…
Of these benefits he argued that, “he who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that” (cite this). From this quote on can understand that Mill believes that no opinion on a fact is inherently accurate without consultation from other sources other than one’s own mind. In other words, he who does not listen to the opinion of one another lives in ignorance of aspects of the truth he does not know. The above statements demonstrate that Mill does not believe in silencing the opinions of others and actively encourages that different perspectives on a topic be understood through discussion. In this respect, Mill would express disapproval towards Macclean’s for non-publishing a counter article and would order them to do so to minimize the amount of harm that could occur from the unequal representation of opinions. Mill expresses a strong opinion against the spreading of hate and views this as harm. To elaborate upon the limits Mill places on free speech, he explicitly states that one should be allowed to fully exercise their freedom of speech unless such freedoms would infringe upon the rights of other; this is known as the harm principle. To continue, this principle is thoroughly explained throughout the essay where he draws upon analogies to explain the limits he draws upon free speech and when such a right has to be restricted due to the

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