Sample Essay on the Liberty Principle

A society is comprised of people from diverse backgrounds and if diversity is not embraced, divisions arise. Legal consequences befall all the individuals who fail to abide by the codes of conduct set by society. The other way through which order is maintained is through moral coercion when it comes to public opinion. The leaders in any society aim at ensuring that the freedom and the liberty of all the members of the society are not interfered with by anyone. Prevention of harm to other people in society is the only way that ensures liberty (Mill 8). The principle of utilitarianism is one of the concepts that ensure liberty in society since it helps shape the code of ethics. However, human beings are progressive and thus cannot have a constant principle that guides them, rather there has to be some changes over time (Mill 9). This paper aims at evaluating the link between liberty and utilitarianism as proposed by Mill.

Mill believes that the utilitarian theory and liberty principle are closely linked but adds that one must consider the fact that man is not a static being. There can never be liberty in society if the opinions of all the individuals are not considered in decision-making. The freedom of press may be compromised at times since it shows that the opinion of the majority is the opinion of the whole society, which is not true. Social greatness is characterized by the liberty of action since it acts as a catalyst. Liberty must have a sense of individuality, an element that was not recognized in the past but it has been accepted over time. The inward forces of human nature are responsible for the outward reaction to the social changes in society (Mill 49). Some of the vital elements that determine individuality in modern society include the level of civilization, education, and cultural setting.

The freedom that comes with individuality is what determines the success of a society. There are people who bring about positive changes in society but for the changes to be introduced, they must be sure that there exists freedom of expression. In most cases, such individuals are the minority and they may be denied the chance to express their opinions in a society that does not respect liberty and individualism. An aristocratic class in the society develops only where the concept of liberty is not valued (Mill 61). Civilization stems from liberty in society and it influences the development of the society in many aspects. Oftentimes, cultural diversity in nations leads to the development of civilization.

Mill argues that for liberty to be achieved, individuality must be ensured. The opinions of all the individuals including the minority must be considered. This is in line with the utilitarianism principle since it promotes the good of all in the society. One of the ways of ensuring that the society does not harm each other is by ensuring that the opinions of all the members are respected. Mill’s argument on individuality and liberty however, needs re-conceptualization of the utilitarianism concept. This is because there is a need to consider the opinions of all in the society even the smallest number. The utility only considers the opinion of the majority and does not take into account the minority opinions. The opinions held by the small percentage of population may be genius and may help shape the society for the better. Society should not be taken as static but room for change should be allowed.

Works Cited

Mill, John S. On Liberty. Raleigh: Alex Catalogue, 1990. Print