We live in a society that often takes our freedom and runs it, we have rights not being respected, fake news everywhere and we find ourselves not being sure of what we should do about it.
Sure, informing ourselves from safe sources, but what about the morality of it? What about the morality behind our actions regarding others?
Living in a democratic country where I can do pretty much anything, where does my freedom stop?
John Stuart Mill would say that when the freedom of another individual starts.
To start with John Stuart Mill, he was a British philosopher who lived during the Victorian Age and who also was one of the most important liberal people of Britain during the 19th century.
He is considered to be the father of utilitarianism, (well, after Bentham, but there is some kind of family feud there)
What’s utilitarianism? In a nutshell,
Utilitarianism is a family of normative ethical theories that prescribe actions that maximize happiness and well-being for all affected individuals. Although different varieties of utilitarianism admit different characterizations, the basic idea behind all of them is to in some sense maximize utility, which is often defined in terms of well-being or related concepts.
So, that means that Mill wanted to maximize utility – therefore, happiness in order to please everyone.
Taking this into account, it is vital to say that Mill considered it really important to say that we are naturally inclined to take care of ourselves, to better ourselves, to look forward to our own good, but as long as it doesn’t stop anyone else from doing it.
Therefore yes, I can watch TV on a nice couch, but I can’t break into someone else’s house to watch TV on their nice couch just so I can be happy – I need to also respect other people’s freedom.
Mill also believed that the world would be a much better place if people would be let free to take care of themselves and be trusted that they are doing a nice thing. Instead, the government tries to make them do stuff they don’t care about and that won’t benefit them in any way.
I think that Mill makes a great point in making us aware of how free we are to think whatever we are thinking or feel whatever we are feeling. I believe that there are faults in any country for not permitting things that should be normal, but it is absolutely mandatory that each of us thinks twice before harming anyone for our own sake.
Also, can you be truly content and happy if you know you made someone feel bad?
If you’re interested in other cool articles about philosophy and freedom, don’t be afraid to check out some from our magazine: https://www.pov21.com/epicurus-5-astonishing-ideas-you-need/.