Mill's belief that if a person isn't harming anyone other than themselves, the gov't shouldn't step in

Essay by prizprizUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2005

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Mill believes that as long as a person is not harming anyone but themselves, it is not right for the government to step in and do anything to stop them. He believes that it is a greater injustice to not let someone do something if they are not harming anyone else than it is to let them do it even if they are guaranteed to die from it. Although Mill believes in this form of justice and government, there are people who do not agree with him. There are three main criticisms of Mill's beliefs which he defends. The first criticism is that these citizens who do whatever they want are acting like children. The second criticism is that they are dragging down society as a whole. The third is that they serve and bad examples to everyone. Mill responds to these criticisms, keeping true to his main idea that we should not punish people for behaving in ways that hurt no one but themselves.

Mill's views about justice are criticized by those thinking that these people who are doing things to hurt themselves, and no others, are acting like children. And, like children, they need to be parented. However society is made up of adults and, as a whole, is thought of like an adult. The government would be considered an adult as well. However,in this situation the relationship between a parent and child is not right. The relationship between the society and the government is that of two adults. In society one adult does not tell another one what to do the way it would tell its child what to do. And therefore, the argument that these people are acting like children and need to be parented by the government does not work. The society should be...