In this essay I will attempt to elaborate on John Stuart Mill’s view on Free Speech while also discussing how the opposing side would argue his view on the topic. In this specific topic Mill addresses whether people should be allowed to persuade or limit anyone else’s expression of opinion. Mill argues that everyone should share the equal opportunity of free speech. He supports his theory with four arguments. Mill’s first view is that it is wrong to silence one’s opinion.
Actually he would also say that keeping one from speaking their opinion is evil. The reasoning behind his heory is that it is evil to take one’s free speech because if the silenced opinion is even possibly true, then one would be robbed from the truth. Sometimes in order for the truth to be fully understood we must take a look at what is not the truth to help support the real truth. For example, lets say as being the truth that immigration reform would be good for the economy according to democrats.
On the other hand the republicans would do and say anything to silence the democrats from convincing people that it could actually be true. This is because they completely oppose the idea hat immigration reform could be good for the economy. Mill would then go into the second argument that if you silence someone’s opinion then one would be losing on what is the partial truth. Since the opinion on any subject is sometimes not the whole truth but it is only a combination of opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.
For example, two people at a crime scene are asked to explain what happened. Each person explains what they think they saw but don’t realize that they only saw half of the crime. Because of this what they think is true ctually isn’t, however each investigation helped combine to form the full explanation of what happened. Following is the third argument by Mill. If the opinion is entirely true, yet is not fully and honestly contested, then it will, by those that review it, have little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds.
He is saying that if it is believed that something is stated as true but then is not debated why it then it gives this opinion little foundation of credibility. Therefore others may find this opinion weak. For example, in a court room an attorney will argue his side and the better the nderstanding he has of the truth the better his counter argument will sound when the opposing side makes their case. The more he is able to defend what is true, the stronger the case. Without him having the full understanding of the truth he would not be able to do this and would have a weak case.
Lastly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will risk being lost if not already lost and deprived of its important effect on someone’s character and conduct. This is where he explains the dogma that it risks, becoming a mere formal action. The meaning behind the doctrine of something is at risk of being lost. For example, every Thanksgiving the kids are given the “wish bone” and would make a wish. I would ask why is it called the wish bone but no one had an explanation except that is Just what they did when they were kids on Thanksgiving.
I was never told that birds, such as turkeys, were believed to be fortune tellers because they could predict when they were going to lay eggs with a quack. When they were killed their collar bone was seen as sacred. The meaning behind the wish bone was lost, it Just became an action. As Mills would say it was “dead dogma” Just a superstition. In todays society, we have a lot of censorship. Censor is used many ways, especially in media and is controlled by the government. I personally think censorship in media is a positive thing.
Something in particular is the censorship on music, for example, of swearing that is found to be offensive language. This is needed to protect the younger audience from thinking that it is tolerated. Mills may say that this censoring is unconstitutional because freedom of speech is found in the first amendment and people should be able to express their selves in the manner they choose. He may also say that it would leave the society ignorant to certain subjects if e censor. If certain words are censored they could also lose their meaning.
Whereas someone could argue that we should censor things such as television to prevent corruption of children and to prevent them from reenacting dangerous and harmful scenes or repeating inappropriate language they hear from the radio. I would argue that all of this is needed to not overexpose our children while Mills may debate that it hinders our right to free speech. I think we have free speech and often utilize our right to express it. It is Just censored in moderation to assure that our younger eneration is not inappropriately exposed before they are ready.
Mills addresses whether people should have to limit anyone’s expression of opinion. The significant is that he attempts to Justify the importance of freedom by showing its social benefits. He explains his theory on why it wrong to silence someone in their opinion by going into by breaking down his theory into the four points. Many people today agree with his theory and support it with protest due to the way government censors some things to this day. However you see it, free speech and its limitation or no limitations will always be debated.