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Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Socially Intriguing and Politically Motivating, 17 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: On Liberty (English Library) (Paperback)
John Stuart Mill, while not the greatest philosopher ever to walk the earth, is the one philosopher that I have studied thus far that really motivated me to become politically active and responsible to my own actions. In his essay, "On Liberty" Mill outlines the boundaries of government and private lives. In short: as long as you do not hurt anyone, you are free to do as you please. Of course, Mill manages to mention a few damaging exceptions to his rule, but the part of his essay that really spoke to me and awoke the activist within was his examination of free expression. What Mill maintains, and I think this is very sound thinking, is that all ideas may be expressed and should never, under any circumstances (except, of course, for one), be silenced by a government. All expressions, whether they be unpopular or dangerous to the government, must have the protection of the state. The reasons for this, he says are many, most notably, that popular conceptions that people have presently tend to die and become less powerful without the challenge of unpopular thought. I witnessed this very circumstance within myself very recently, and I have rebelled against my earlier lethargy and I am ready to take on the world and work to make it a freer and more constructive (rather than destructive) place. This then ties into the essay "Utilitariansim" where Mill tries to prove that the best thing for society is the greatest pleasure and the least amount of pain. While not quite so cut and dry as it may seem, Mill definitely does have an enticing idea on the general welfare of the people. This book, while some may find it dangerous and distasteful, should be read by anyone wanting equality and the freest possible society.
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4.8 out of 5 stars (22 customer reviews)
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