On Liberty

John Stuart Mill

The Department of Motor Vehicles in each state publish a handbook or manual that contains the rules of the road. The “rules of the road” for Democracy in America were written by a British citizen, John Stuart Mill. On Liberty has been continuously in print since 1859, and a more fundamentally complete guide to Democracy has never been penned to supersede it.

John Stuart Mill correctly placed the highest value on your individual freedom with the sole proviso that you shall do no harm to any others.

The three Basic Liberties of John Stuart Mill:

  1. The freedom of thought and emotion. You should totally have the right to act on your thoughts and emotions provided you do no harm to others. That is the basis of our cherished freedom of speech.
  2. The freedom to pursue tastes that do not harm others, even if many others judge your proclivities to be immoral. As much as it might pain us, we cannot force people to live as we would have them live. We can only act as role models. If Adam and Steve want to live together and share resources, that should be entirely up to them.
  3. The freedom to unite so long as the involved members are of age, the involved members are not forced, and no harm is done to others. The problem with individual freedoms is that a single voice can easily be ignored. The rights of individuals can only be preserved when individuals are allowed to band together into communities of interest to promote their interests in the political realm.