Tuesday, 10 May 2011

John Stuart Mill - On the freedom of the individual

I give you the following from John Stuart Mill's view on the liberty and freedom of the individual.

"The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right...The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns him, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

Sums it up for me.


  1. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Sammy Sutton

  2. Indeed, thanks for taking the time to comment, Sammy.

    I carry with me a brief synopsis of this from my early adulthood, which was words to the effect "if all mankind bar one were of one opinion, they would be no more justified in imposing this on the one, than he would imposing his opinion on them". or something like this. I realise it is at the core of my own life's philosophy...

  3. I absolutely agree. In most under-priviliged communities, when one asks what it is they need most, they don't say food, water, electricity, roads, schools, they say, "Safety."


Don't leave without letting me know what this article made you think, how it made you feel ... good or bad, I'll take either.