On Liberty

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Atlantic Monthly Press, 1921 - Liberty - 161 pages
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Excellent short book that tells us about the harm principle: you should be free to do what you want as long as you do not harm others. I think the basic idea in this book is that each person should be free to develop his or her own potential in a society where government and public opinion have limits. In other words, people should be free to do whatever they want even if their decisions are stupid, selfish and destructive. On liberty is an optimistic book about individual flourishing and the development of human potential.
Another important point in the book is his defense of the free expression of our opinions and dissent because that is the way we will get to the truth. The author advocates dissent, disagreement, and is opposed to a public arena where everybody agrees with each other in a specific topic without thinking. It is only in the collision of different and opposed ideas that the truth will emerge.
His criticism to religion and his remarks about toleration and prejudice form a list of basic principles of a liberal society that we should consider when discussing about controversial topics, such as the role of religion in a free society.
Finally, I think this book can be read by the present generation and amazingly we will discover that the topics John Stuart Mill talks about are still prevalent, so it is worthy to read.
 

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第三章,“of individuality, one of the elements of well-being"

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Page 10 - dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth : if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. ; It is
Page 6 - the use of any expedients that will attain an end, perhaps otherwise unattainable. Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end. Liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to
Page 6 - rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a 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 opinions of others, to do
Page 8 - it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.
Page 6 - of society in which the race itself may be considered as in its nonage. The early difficulties in the way of spontaneous progress are so great, that there is seldom any choice of means for overcoming them ; and a ruler full of the spirit of improvement is warranted
Page 3 - since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough : there needs protection also against the
Page 6 - way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties', or' the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually
Page 12 - produce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it. Very few facts are able to tell their own story, without comments to bring out their meaning. The ¡¡whole strength and value, then, of 'human judgment, depending on the :;one property, that it can be set right ¡¡when it is wrong, reliance can be
Page 6 - as that of manhood or womanhood. Those who are still in a state to require being taken care of by others, must be protected against their own actions as well as against external injury. For the same reason, we may leave out of consideration those backward
Page 41 - The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement, being in unceasing antagonism to that disposition to aim at something better than customary, which is called, according to circumstances, the spirit of liberty, or that of progress or improvement. The spirit of improvement is not always a spirit of liberty, for it

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