A Motion for More Freedom

The Liberty Bell – A symbol of freedom [1] (Wikimedia)

What does it mean to be free? Is it the ability to live the life that you want or is it to live the life that society says you can have? The society we live in today places has many restrictions and judgments on what we can and cannot do. I disagree with these rules; if I want to jump from a mountain, I should be allowed that right. (As a previous blog post mentioned, if I want to use marijuana and cause harm to myself, I should have that right to legally do so) In fact, I believe that I should be able to do anything I want without facing any consequences as long as I do not harm others. Our society today does not support this idea and instead pushes for restrictions and conformity.

As a person living in society who observes the guidelines in society, I can see why these customs and laws are in place. Society believes in following laws. The government is concerned with every individual’s well-being and aims to make it safe for everyone. I think that this plays into the idea that an individual who is not well or is harming himself has a higher chance to harm others. For example, a drunk driver not only risks his own life, but also risks others life. I think the current view of society is to avoid these situations by preventing them instead of letting the play out. As a citizen who wants to protect others and sees the benefit of this viewpoint, I can support these rules.

Unfortunately, I am also an advocate for freedom. By freedom, I mean having the ability to do as I please without inhibition. Society may have rules and customs, but I should have my freedom as long as I do not harm others. This idea is based on John Stuart Mill’s book On Liberty where he argues for his harm principle. The harm principle is that any individual can do as he pleases without interference as long as he has no effect on others. Mill’s idea relates to his thoughts that society would be better off with more freedom and individuality. Mill argues that experimentation, breaking away from customs and rules, is necessary, and people should be able to make decisions for themselves without facing consequences. Furthermore, Mill’s says that freedom and individuality along with experimentation are keys to making progress for individuals and society. In addition to this overall belief, Mill’s says that society is currently stifling individuality and freedom through customs and regulations. He mentions that people who blindly follow customs are not progressing as individuals. (In fact, he compares those who conform to apes and their ability to imitate) I agree with Mill that society is restrictive on what we can do and how we can do it, and that it needs to change to allow for more nonconformity.

A Portrait of John Stuart Mill – an  advocate of individuality and freedom  [2] (Wikimedia)

The way we act, dress, think, or behave should not be judged and should not result in any consequences when we are adults (Today, this is an factor in interviews). My freedom to express myself and be myself should be promoted not reprimanded. Laws pertaining to individual health and well-being as well as other norms should be considered guidelines that should not be judged instead of absolute laws or customs (with the harm principle in mind). I think a society with these ideas in place will make much greater progress than a society that remains constrained by conformity and regulation. I motion for this society of more freedom.


One thought on “A Motion for More Freedom

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post! I agree with you that society believes in following laws. Laws do restrict some of our freedoms but they are put in place for better. I also will have to disagree with the your statement that the way we think, act and dress, etc. should not be judged. Although he believes in individuality, even Mill says that we are all subject to “legitimate disapproval”.


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