JOHN STUART MILL

JOHN STUART MILL - 12/2/2010 AUtilitarianDefenseofLiberty...

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12/2/2010 1 JOHN STUART MILL ON LIBERTY A Utilitarian Defense of Liberty Locke offers a defense of liberty on the basis of things that cannot be proven–natural law and natural rights Mill offers a defense of liberty based on the philosophy of UTILITARIANISM – liberty is vital philosophy of UTILITARIANISM liberty is vital because it leads to the GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER Whether liberty can be found to be a natural right is irrelevant—the point is that we SHOULD have liberty in order to maximize the good in society History of the Struggle between Liberty and Authority In olden times: “By liberty was meant protection against the tyranny of political rulers. The rulers were conceived as in a necessarily antagonistic position to the people whom they ruled. They consisted of a governing One, or a governing tribe or caste, who derived their authority from inheritance or conquest, who, at all events, did not hold it at the pleasure of the governed.” (p. 927) History of the Struggle between Liberty and Authority “To prevent the weaker members of the community from being preyed upon by innumerable vultures, it was needful that there should be an animal of prey stronger than the rest, commissioned to keep them down. But as the king of the vultures would…bent upon preying on the flock…it was indispensible to be in a perpetual attitude of defense against his beak and claws.” “The aim, therefore, of patriots was to set limits to the power which the ruler should be suffered to exercise over the community. And this limitation was what they meant by liberty.” (p. 928) Thus Locke develops an idea of liberty that consists of preventing government from interfering with certain political liberties or rights.
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12/2/2010 2 History of the Struggle between Liberty and Authority Then, we begin to realize that democracy is the best way to protect liberty: “A time came in the progress of human affairs when men ceased to think it a necessity of nature that their governors should be an independent power opposed in interest to themselves….By degrees this new demand for elective and temporary rulers became the prominent object of the exertions of the popular party….” (p. 928) History of the Struggle between Liberty and Authority “What was now wanted was that the rulers should be identified with the people; that their interest and will should be the interest and will of the nation. The nation did not need to be protected against its own
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JOHN STUART MILL - 12/2/2010 AUtilitarianDefenseofLiberty...

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