J.S. MILL ON LIBERTY
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WHO WAS J.S MILL? o John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher o He was born in 1865 o He wrote a very famous book called 'On Liberty'
HIS CONCEPT OF FREEDOM According to him, there are 2 types of actions: v Self-regarding actions Other regarding actions
SELF-REGARDING ACTIONS These are the actions which only have impact on ourselves For instance- what we eat, what we wear, where we decide to live, who we decide to marry, etc. Mill said that other people have no business in self- regarding actions, since such actions do not harm anyone else
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OTHER REGARDING ACTIONS These are the actions which impact the others living around or with us Since such actions can harm other people, external authorities have the right to interfere in these matters That is why smoking is banned in public places Also, if someone shouts slogans that threaten the unity of the country, such actions will also be considered other-regarding
THE DICEY SITUATION Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish if an action is self-regarding or other-regarding For instance, if a person is playing loud music in her house and her neighbours are getting disturbed, should she be jailed? Definitely not The punishment for undesirable other- regarding actions should be carefully thought
In this case, the person should just be given warnings and maybe some behavioural changes by which she can gauge that she's causing discomfort to others However, registering a police complaint in this case would be too extreme
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JUST A THOUGHT In India, However, in the Compare the schooling system of India to that of the US given a standard uniform which they all have to children ared US, children are allowed to wear Which system do you think, promotes liberty and freedom? whatever they want to wear
DRESS CODE o We'll try to understand the idea of liberty by v When Mao was the leader of China, people had taking the example of dress code to wear MAO SUITS to show that they support the leader Sania Mirza was slammed by religious groups because of the way she dressed while playing a tennis match Every player in the cricket team has to wear the same dress
However, in the case of uniforms, this does not apply Uniforms have a different purpose altogether They aim to identify children that they belong to a particular school Similarly, a common dress for cricket players helps them during the match. It also represents national unity So, these 2 cases do not violate the Right to freedom
NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE LIBERTY o Like freedom, there are two aspects of liberty as well
o Eg. Eating food, drinking water, sleeping, having a partner of my choice, eating what I want, thinking what I want to, writing what I want to, drawing what I want to, etc.
POSITIVE LIBERTY This is concerned about improving the relationship between the individual and the society So, the society must trace a positive path so that the individual can also grow A person cannot develop till the society is continuously evolving
A person should not be a victim of abuse, violence poverty, discrimination, and so on The individual must get enough opportunities to grow and develop in the society S/he should get the chance to participate in decision making The individual is like a flower that blossoms when the soil is fertile, and the sun is gentle, and the water is adequate, and the care is regular'
However, sometimes undemocratic rulers might try to justify their actions using arguments of Positive liberty, that they are trying to develop the society as a whole, etc. Positive and negative liberty go hand in hand One supports the other