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24 - MC 201 Recitation On Liberty Freedom of the Press How...

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October 24, 2007 MC 201 Recitation On Liberty: Freedom of the Press How the course is changing: beginning with the individual and moving to the powers of government rather than vice versa. Talking about gender – sexual roles are socially constructed; also in bodily differences (nothing makes us more separate) Keep in mind that Mill was very close with Tocqueville In non-democratic and pre-democratic societies, liberty was a struggle between rulers and subjects o Liberty meant protection against tyranny of political rulers – setting limits on the powers of government Attempt to establish rights against the government, meaning that there would be rebellion if those rights were violated (Magna Carta – one of the first references to habeas corpus ) Note that liberty was rarely singular – often plural “liberties” Constitutional check on the power of government (establishment of the House of Commons) – give the people as opposed to the elitists and nobility a voice against the monarchy o Rise of democracy brings a new threat – the idea that it poses a no inherent threat to the liberties – if they all share the same will, why should they be protected? Once one no longer thought of government as the enemy, you drop your guard against the idea of governmental abuses – DANGEROUS ERROR For all practical purposes, the will of the people is the will of the majority, which can be tyrannical in character Mill argues that this acts through social ostracism “Society itself is the tyrant”
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