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Mill essay on Liberty is all about giving individuals more freedoms while restricting society's ability to dictate what

each individual should do. Mill uses different examples to persuade the reader into seeing that people should be free to do what they want to do as long as they do not infringe on the right of other people to do the same. Mill also points out that contemporary societies (for him the 19th century) stifle individuals creativity and try to make everyone the same.

Mill is not against society or government, on the contrary the reason why he argues for less restrictions on individuals is due to the fact that Mill believes it will benefit society to give more personal freedoms to its citizens. Mills essay is interesting because it shows that people are quick to persecute others but do not like it when the same treatment is done to them. Throughout his essay Mill uses different arguments to shows the individual liberty is good, but at first he develops essay by looking at the history of liberty and how in contemporary society it has changed. Mill looks at ancient Greece; Rome saying that at that time liberty meant being protected from tyranny of political rulers. This over time people developed different forms of governments with divisions of power to ensure that no one person was all powerful, and eventually society arrived at democracy. Democracy comes from the Greek word democratia, democratia is composed of two words Demos meaning people and Kratos meaning power. This democracy literally means rule of the people. People thought before that when they reach democracy and make the rules the peoples servants then there would no longer have to fear tyranny since it would be the people themselves ruling. However when the first democracy came to being it was seen that it is impossible for all people to participate in ruling all at once, this it

became evident that not all peoples opinions would be heard even in a democratic government. Thus society is in danger of tyranny by the majority; Mill argues that the minority should be protected. Since the public has a tendency to impose general beliefs on others without considering the effects it has on these individuals and if the public has the right to impose these beliefs on others. This Mill begins on his journey of defending personal freedoms of people and why it benefits society.

The idea of progress serves as the bases for Mills argument for Liberty. Mill argues on the belief that in order for society not to stagnate individuals have to have freedom. He cites the example of China which lags behind the West, mill attributes this to the fact that China has made all their citizens the same, on the other hand Englishmen are allowed to be more diverse in their ways, resulting in the success of England. However, Mill warns that England is moving towards the ways of China . Since only in a society where people are able to make their own choices do people use all of their human faculties. Also when people are allowed to develop their personality to the fullest is when society is capable of gaining the most from such individuals. Since it is only in freedom that geniuses are able to grow and develop to the fullest. To explain how authority over people freedoms stifles society Mill looks at sociology. Mill says that people are fallible creatures, this they cannot prevent others from different ways of thinking or from making mistakes. The problem is that people always believe firmly in their own beliefs and do not take the time to consider beliefs that are different from theirs. Other peoples convictions are important even if they are wrong they still should be allowed to be expressed. By silencing different opinions society does itself a disservice. Since these opinions could be true or hold

partial truth that could prove useful to everyone, or they can strengthen common beliefs if these other opinions are wrong. Mill says that it is through discussion and experience, by having debates on different convictions people learn from each other and change or enrich their beliefs. People should not be afraid to have their beliefs questioned or put for debate, if ones beliefs are true than one has nothing to fear, however most likely people do not know full truth and only know partial truth. This by having debates people can get more peaces of truth that then can be combined to show a larger picture. It is sort of similar to being a boxer if you hold a boxing belt you have to constantly defend it to show that youre still the best boxer in that division, each time the boxer boxes he improves his technique and gains new skill. If the boxer was to lose then it would show that he is no longer the best in that division, that he not relevant anymore. Same goes for beliefs held by people, these convictions should be always tested in order to improve and some of them become obsolete over time due to progress. One of the indication of a progressing nation is that it beliefs change over time in order to stay relevant. Mill also states that even Christianity is not the complete truth, and Christ meant it that way, he wanted people to discover some things for themselves. He says that a lot of todays important ethical convictions have come from Roman and Greek thinkers before Christs time.

In the essay Mill argues that even very radical opinions should not be stifled by using the example Christianity. Mill says that all those who believe that it is okay to persecute radical opinions look at their own Christian roots, that at one point in time Christianity was radical. Jesus Christ was killed because his beliefs challenged the beliefs that were held to be true by society at that time. Socrates who is now held as being one of the greatest thinkers of all time was also killed because he did not conform to his society. This those people who are in favor or accept the practice of restring/persecuting radical beliefs should also accept the fact that they

themselves might be persecuted if their convictions are in the minority. This Mills essay has Christian beliefs embedded in his argument, one can simply state that one of Mills arguments for Liberty is based on Christian saying that goes like this; do to others as you would like others do to yourself.

Another argument that Mill uses to convince the reader about the importance of liberty is that beliefs which are not tested become dead and lose their power. People should be able to refute objections about their convictions but if they are not able to then either the conviction is wrong or they do not understand their own beliefs. He cites the example of religion again, that a lot of people believe in Christian teachings but their way of living does not reflect this. For example Christians believe in the fact that sexual intercourse should be reserved till marriage, however a lot of Christians break this law by engaging in premarital sex.

Probably Mills biggest and most convincing argument about personal liberty is that when society interferes it does so wrongly. Mill argues that society has the whole childhood of each person to shape them and if society is not able to shape that person during the childhood years what makes it think it can change a grown person with strong beliefs. Mill uses the example of countries that have a Muslim majority, if they should be able to restrict pork for everyone, would such a thing seem fair to Christian rights in that country.

Mill is not naive to believe that there should be no restrictions on peoples freedoms, he says that people should be limited when they try to impede on other peoples rights. He also thinks society

should be allowed to restrict people from running gambling houses. Also that society should be able to force all children to go to school. However these kinds of limitations on human freedom do not undermine Mills argument at large. Since Mill believes that the only time that restrictions should be put on peoples freedoms is when it benefits society and moves it forward such as having all children get an education.

In his essay Mill uses different examples and different arguments to show the reader that personal freedoms are essential to progress of any society. He uses the example of famous thinkers and prophets of their time like Christ and Socrates, who in the 19th century are held to have stated truth that are now commonly accepted. Thus todays radical can be tomorrows prophets or great philosophers. Also Mill states that all humans are not perfect and we cannot act as if we are always right and impose our imperfect views on others. Mills argument might be a bit vague on some points but it is still very pervasive and opens readers eyes to the fact that other peoples opinions are also important.