A Critical Analysis of John Stuart Mill’s "On Liberty" Essay

1414 Words 6 Pages
An individual does not make a community, and a community does not make a society. In order to have a functioning and prosperous society, one must relinquish some free will in return for protection. According to John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, there are certain rights of the individual which the government may never possess. Centuries after the publication of Mill’s Essay, the court case Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegeta l , 546 U.S. 418 (2006) challenged the protective role of government against the free exercise of religion. In this instance, Mill would agree with the court ruling because, like his views concerning free exercise of will, government restriction and majority rule, both the court ruling and Mill’s …show more content…
To restrict premature action is to restrict people of free will and to inflict pain “at his own cost” (65). However, it is selfish to consider only one person’s free will, when their will to inflict harm on others, prevents others from exercising their free will. The wellbeing of one individual affects all who depend and rely on him. Society is not built on singular entities, but it is a large interconnected web. To prevent harm serves not only the one potentially inflicted, but the whole community. The prevention of harm would increase the number of people exercising free will because there would be reduced harms. After all, it is the goal of society to act in the best interest of the masses rather than the will of the individual. The government is not sufficiently protecting the masses if it does not remedy an ill which it prematurely recognizes. To punish an action after it has already occurred does not undo the injustice already performed.
Mill’s views, to allow free will until harm is inflicted, are in alignment with the ruling of the court in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegeta l , 546 U.S. 418 (2006). The government argued for the restriction of hoasca under the supposition that the ban of the drug would “…[protect] the health and safety of the Uniao Do Vegetal members, [and prevent] the diversion of

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