Analysis Of John Stewart Mill's On Liberty

John Stewart Mill’s On Liberty is essential to understand not only liberty and the limits of government, but also on the limits of the majority and democracy to vitalize each individual to pursue his or her fullest potential. This is invaluable to understand for the best and the most prosperous path for the society to live in. To further explore Mill’s concept of liberty, two supplementary readings that I’ve used are a scholarly published article titled—John Stuart Mill and the “Marketplace of Ideas”—by Jill Gordon and an excerpt from Frederick Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty that concerns primarily on freedom.
For Gordon’s article on Mill, the paper concentrated on the metaphor that conventional intellectuals use to describe Mill’s freedom
…show more content…
For example, although one may argue that science and math may help us predict the future, it is still far from our rational reach to predict what may happen next. Therefore, according to Hayek, “Liberty is essential in order to leave room for the unforeseeable and unpredictable”. This means that because each man is limited to his or her narrow view, freedom for each one to be independent not only keeps the whole civilization from being fragile from one action or idea but also allows greater chances of innovative errors and spontaneous discoveries to occur. This incorporates full greatness of capitalism. If one compares the stability of capitalism to communism, one would quickly notice that communism is unsustainable because one dissenting idea from the collective could easily lead to the eradication of the whole system. Moreover, communism leads to almost no progress, since each individual’s unique potential is limitedly imposed from the hierarchy. Therefore, Hayek’s emphasis toward full freedom, even if the intellectual views the action as “irrational”, should be tolerated, unless of course, one’s own action overrides other’s …show more content…
S. Mill, I became more enthusiastic toward each individual’s choices and rights. However, I’m not certain on the role of government to achieve this mission. Before reading Gordon’s article, I was vehemently a firm proponent toward making sure the sole role of government is to protect each individual’s rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, the majority-rule power and the mainstream trends are a perplexing issues for the government to intervene. Although I wish there is a definitive action for the government, I have an apprehension toward a possibility of government’s artificially balancing one opinion to another ultimately leading to greater inequality. If the perception of equality varies among each individual, how would a hierarchical individual—government—bring an objective justice? Therefore, my view toward the government is still concretely rooted in laissez-faire ideology. Although I’m not sure how government could intervene to prevent majority opinion from override the minorities’ beliefs, it is only the government’s role to protect each individual’s life and freedom, not to change individuals’ perceptions. The social pressures derived from the majority could solely and justly be solved by the individual’s will. If the minority refuses to comply with the majority and form their own ideas while the government protects every individual’s life from impeding against one another, the social “fear

Related Documents