On Liberty

Ranked #2 in Liberalism, Ranked #2 in Pathophysiologysee more rankings.

Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780140432077

Published in 1859, John Stuart Mill's On Liberty presented one of the most eloquent defenses of individual freedom in nineteenth-century social and political philosophy and is today perhaps the most widely-read liberal argument in support of the value of liberty. Mill's passionate advocacy of spontaneity, individuality, and diversity, along with his contempt for compulsory uniformity and the despotism of popular opinion, has attracted both admiration and condemnation.

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We've comprehensively compiled reviews of On Liberty from the world's leading experts.

Peter Singer Mill points out that very often, throughout history, people have thought that they were certainly right, and then turned out to be quite wrong. (Source)

Nick Clegg The tradition is that it is given to the president of the Liberal Democrats rather than the leader, which is a subtle but important distinction in Lib Dem land. But you’re quite right. The traditions of J. S. Mill are still handed down like some sort of totemic emblem of everything that we’re supposed to still believe in, even now. It’s extraordinary, given it was written in 1859……What we’re having to relearn now is the fire-in-the-belly liberalism that drove Mill to write On Liberty in the first place. (Source)

A C Grayling On Liberty is a very important document, and one which, because of the clarity with which one can read it and its brevity, is slightly passed over. (Source)

Timothy Garton Ash Mill is one of those mildly irritating authors like Tocqueville, who say so much so well that it’s difficult to say it better. (Source)

Brink Lindsey I think liberals, of both a libertarian, classical, liberal stripe and a more modern egalitarian stripe, see John Stuart Mill as a common ancestor. (Source)

Anne Heller Imagine how John Stuart Mill would feel if he were made to wear a seatbelt because the federal government tells him so. (Source)

Claire Fox What is rich about this work is that it doesn’t just assert the importance of free speech for the speaker without going into why it is important. (Source)

Timothy Stanton He thinks that individuality is a good thing in itself, in a romantic way, but also seems to think that by allowing the liberty of thought and discussion, including the liberty to make mistakes, that that has a positive effect overall. (Source)

Carlos Fraenkel The problem Mill sees is that society tries to suppress individualism. He thinks social institutions like education and religion and politics always push you towards conformism. (Source)

Jonathan Sumption On Liberty is the classic statement of traditional liberal values about the limits of state coercion. It’s an eloquent argument for personal liberty on the grounds that it’s the condition in which human beings are most likely to flourish and be happy. (Source)

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