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Essay about Struggle of Freedom and Power

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Struggle of Freedom and Power Throughout history, it has been widely acknowledged that there has
been a struggle between freedom and power and undeniably, this debate
continues well into the 21st century. John Stuart Mill's essay On
Liberty raises the point of whether in fact laws help to enforce
liberty or whether in fact they act contrary to that objective by
destroying it. Mill emphasises that the only purpose for power being
rightfully exercised over any member of society, against his or her
will, is to prevent harm to others. "the only part of the conduct of
anyone for which he is amenable to society is that which concerns
others" (Mill; 1989; pp 204). This fundamental concept is referred to
as the 'Harm Principle'. The basic premise of Mill's 'Harm principle'
is that a person should be able to make their own decisions and thus
live with the respective consequences, but no one else should have to
live with these consequences arising from that decision. "The only
purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of
a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others"
(Mill 1989). To attain liberty, Mill states that it is imperative to
have a strong and varied set of laws.

A key theme underlying Mill's 'Harm Principle' is the protection of
the rights of individuals in society, of which one's right to their
own opinion is an integral component. Thus, over time, a freer
civilisation is able to be created by promoting freedom of expression,
allowing individuals in society to make their own decisions and to
exercise freedom of speech...


... middle of paper ...


... that no society can function properly without such limitations in
practice.

The 'Harm Principle' sets out a number of interesting points
pertaining to the achievement of individual freedom and right within
the greater society. However, Mill states, in On Liberty that
individual rights and freedoms can only be achieved when there are
limits and constraints in place. Thus, Mill argues the importance of a
range of strict guidelines which should be followed by everyone in
society to prevent others from being affected by another human being's
actions whilst at the same time still allowing personal autonomy.

REFERENCES

Gray, S. - "On liberty in focus", London1991.

Mill, J.S. - "On liberty", John W. Parker and Son, West Strand, London
1859

Mill, J.S. - "On Liberty", Cambridge University Press, London, 1989


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