On Liberty Questions and Answers
by John Stuart Mill

On Liberty book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What does MILL insist on freedom of thought and expression in on LIBERTY?   JOHN STUART MILL ON LIBERTY

Expert Answers info

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In the end, I would say that the fear of "the tyranny of the majority" is what helps to motivate Mill's insistence on freedom and expression.  Mill was convinced that the prevailing attitude of liberal political thought of the time was steeped in popular sovereignty, and then living purely with the results of such a principle.  In the end, Mill understood that government has to be driven by both consensus and the need to appreciate the voices of those who might have been on the lesser end of such decisions.  For Mill, liberty and choice are moral and political notions that cannot be negotiated away with percentage votes.  In preserving the right to liberty, Mill speaks for a notion that is absolute, a condition or reality that is absolute.  In his commitment to freedom and choice, one understands that Mill's insistence is motivated by the belief that liberal democracy exists with compromise, but there are some conditions and realities that are transcendent, incapable of compromise.  Freedom of thought and expression are such conditions.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial