Samuel's Reviews > On Liberty

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill
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Feb 09, 2010

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Read in February, 2010

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 develop 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 true 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 the topics John Stuart Mill talks about are still prevalent, so it is worth to read.
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