Free «On Liberty» Essay Sample

Prominent English philosophical radical and classical liberal of the 19th century, John Stuart Mill, explains in this essay the idea on progressive society of representative democracy as a form of government visualizing the development of liberty. Civil liberty as definition limits the power of society over every personality. Historical review of the concept of liberty begins from ancient Greece and Rome and proceeds to England. In earlier times at first liberty was meant as protection from tyranny; and with time it was changed alongside with diverse rulers. The tyranny of the majority concept evolved, a democratic majority led to the minority and exercised a tyrannical power outside the political sphere in public opinion beginning to repress individuality and opposition (Mill, J. S., Carlyle, T., 2009).

Philosopher distinguishes three types of the liberty: liberty of thought and opinion, liberty of tastes and pursuits (freedom of planning own people’s lives), liberty to join. All this kinds of liberty deny tendency of society to force conformity. Essential idea ensures progress in future for human and society. Particular kind of a representative democracy won’t provide liberty of the individual, but make it probable. This kind begins to be more important than the state of affairs reached in aforesaid democracy, where resistance doesn’t exist between the rulers and ruled.

Society becomes released of government’s restrictions, when it starts to protect the interests of the selected and mighty minority, endangering individual liberty in other type. Here we may observe the problem of imaginary society developed to keep repression of the individual from happening by assured majority with more power. John Stuart Mill describes limitation of individual liberty in social progress, making it necessary for the individual hereof to be released. Philosopher researches happiness of the individual in moral theory, what can be achieved in a free, educated, well-developed and civilized society. Mill created a basic model of individual development for progressive society, where a civilized person does important things for our society. He declares individuals act better and more qualitative, rather government that may do harm to liberty.

Originally the concept of "tyranny of the majority" as professional and significant class in European society didn’t support democratic principles. Society was presented to its people as a cruel and oppressive ruler by making people slaves, carrying strong penalties, restricting individual development. Government limited people’s will, while they should to be protected and supported against of this political despotism, living in a harmony in the world. People are used to be encouraged in the philosopher’s aspirations, guiding by the practical principle on human conduct regulations (Mill, 1999).    

Mill’s opinion is twofold. On the one hand it deserves to be praised, as people’s wishes are regarded to conduct on any subject in social affections. On the one hand it deserves to be disapproved, because of antisocial affections, arising from illegitimate self-interest in superior class. The morality generated upon the relations of ascendant class, which lost its power, prevailing on morality.

The misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity tells us about the most conspicuous feature between Liberty and Authority, which power was regarded as dangerous. Political liberties or rights represented specific resistant rebellion was compelled in the most European countries.

Philosopher frightened of free working class in mass democracy, what would be violent and oppressive. In this way we may think Mill's ideas aren’t applicable to modern American politics and society, because successful and wealthy middle-class of society disregarded of personal freedom. He pointed out coercion in society is governed by very elementary principle, indicating the action of people’s opinion and legal punishment. Thus, only people can defend themselves from any danger, adhering to self-possessive principles, behaving humans better for further development.


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