John Stuart Mill Free Speech Analysis

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Mill’s’ essay also argues that freedom of speech and diversifying opinions act as a fuel that drives social progress. Mill states, “... the only unfailing and permanent source of improvement is liberty, since by it there are as many possible independent centres of improvement as there are individuals” (Mill 65). One can gather that Mill believes that liberty is necessary for improvement and the more liberty present in individual members of society the more persons influencing change. This is an important message for our society to receive and is in accordance with our liberal democratic society. It demonstrates the importance of individuals and how their freedoms positively contribute to society because, as Mill bluntly states, without individuality …show more content…
Mill contends that opinions should not be expressed if this is done to cause mischief and that they are permissible to be expressed if they do not. He argues that it is justifiable that a man expresses a negative opinion towards the ownership of private property or states that merchants are the reason for poverty (Mill 52). Although controversial in nature, such opinions are not harming anyone and for this reason, should have the ability to circulate. However, the opinion is only justifiable in certain instances where the context of the situation affirms it is not inflicting harm on another individual or a group (Mill 16). To illustrate this point, Mill refers to a scenario in which the same opinion is expressed by a group of people which could lead to dangerous circumstances (e.g. mob outside of corn-dealers house). This opinion incites rage in them and evidently they might act violently to others (e.g. towards the corn dealer) (Mill 52). In these situations, is important to recognize that it is not the entirety of the opinion that one must pay attention to, but the context in which the opinion is shared. For the benefit of all Mill’s writes, “the liberty of the individual must thus far be limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people. But if he refrains from molesting others in what concerns them, …show more content…
Mill’s work goes into depth on how much liberty should be granted to the individual and to what extent the government should be able to intervene with these liberties for the betterment of society. I agree with Mill on what the basic tenets for his argument on freedom of speech are (i.e. truth, utility, social progress). I also accept that the justification of freedom of speech as that which can bring about such things as truth and social progress. He provides a clear explanation for society as to why it is important to allow others to state their opinions and not infringe upon the free speech of others. It seems clear that acting in accordance to this precept will lead to the overall betterment of society. As previously stated, I believe that modeling a similar stance to Mill on freedom of speech has served to benefit our modern liberal democratic society. This is shown through our ability to freely discuss our opinion within reasonable limits, listen and learn from opinions that differ from our own, and our being free from the rules of a particular religion and being able to safely practice (or not to practice) any religion of our choosing. The ability for all persons to share their opinions and discuss them with others is the reason for our societal progression technologically and in the area of tolerance. I believe that it was

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