Enable each to seek his or her own best it will

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enable each to seek his or her own best; it will liberate a diversity of interests to the benefit of the  individual and of all; and it will nurture moral freedom and rationality. With rationality comes creativity and the means of social and intellectual progress. Mill's  On Liberty  remains the strongest and most  eloquent defence of liberalism that is so far known. He argues in particular for freedom of thought  and discussion. “We can never be sure,” he wrote, “that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is  a false opinion, and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still” ( On Liberty , p. 229).   Our beliefs and actions are reasonable or not depending upon our capacity to critically assess them.  Only through free debate can such critical skills be developed and maintained: our self-development  as reasonable persons, capable of critical assessments for belief and action. And if our beliefs and  actions emerge from the critical assessment such debate involves, if they survive the struggle as it  were in the “marketplace of ideas”, then, and only then, will one be entitled to accept them as  justified. Even so, even though that is the best guarantee that there is sufficient reason to justify  accepting the belief as true or the action as right, nonetheless, as always, we are fallible: while it  may be the best guarantee of truth or belief or rightness of action that we have, one must also allow  that it is best only so far as our fallible judgement allows. And that fallibility means, of course, that  the debate must be on-going. In this respect the best sort of person is one who individually is responsible for his or her beliefs and  actions. It is not someone whose beliefs or actions are simply those that conform to some custom, or are simply those that they have always had or held, or are simply those asserted to be correct by  some authority. The best kind of beliefs and actions are those that emerge from the person's own  critical assessments, and the best kind of person is the individual who can provide as required those  critical assessments. As for why that sort of person is the best, it is because such a person will not  only be happy in his or her own case but will be concerned with, and contribute to, the happiness of  others. Individuality is, in other words, one of the main ingredients of human happiness, and it is for  that reason that it ought to be cultivated. Here, as elsewhere in his other works, it is utility, the  general welfare, that determines what is right and what is the best.
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