| 23 May 2004 @ 15:07, by ming|
From Ming the Mechanic: Via Lisa Williams who's reading John Stuart Mill's essay "On Liberty", which is good stuff:
"The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant."In brief, you should be free to live your life as you choose, as long as you don't harm others. And government has no right to use its power against you, other than to prevent you from doing harm to others.
Now, wouldn't that be nice. If it were impossible for greedy individuals to manipulate themselves into positions of power where they can force everybody else to adhere to their twisted morals and self-serving business interests. What if government were an agency to ensure such fundamental individual liberty, rather than a primary vehicle for subverting it.