John Stewart Mill’s On Liberty and Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto are both most regarded and influential work on political philosophy and set the guidelines how the government should be run. Mill presents the argument about the role and rights of individuals in society while Marx advocates for more conformity among society members. This essay presents the critical review of both works and how the approach taken by the two works has the more promises for the important issues facing modern Europeans. The discussion includes concluding analysis that states which book is most convincing as an argument and as a vision for the future of Europe.
Mill illustrates his idea of individual freedom within the context of state and society. According to Mill, liberty can be exercised in three ways and each of which musts be respected by the society; the liberty of Thoughts and expression, liberty of pursuits, and liberty of joining the like-minded persons to strive for a common purpose that conforms to legal rights of others.
He states that society progresses from lower to higher stages in the realm of representative democracy. That, in turn, forms the fundamental principles for development of liberty. Mill defines the concept of liberty beginning with ancient Greece and Roman philosophical views and its implications throughout the political history in establishing the England’s political structure to that date. The role of democracy played an essential part where rulers are taken as servants of the people. This evolution brought about a new problem of enforcing the will of majority on minority and hence creating a state of affairs where tyrannical power is allowed to exist both in outside and inside the political realms. Historically, the promoters of liberty have been more concerned with the non-democratic political structure.
Now the question arises that whether one or more persons should be allowed to curtail another person’s freedom and rights or in other words, oppress the minorities. Mills agrees upon the fact that a majority decision or popular point of view does not always make it correct.
Mill argues that the only justification for society limiting the liberty of a person is to prevent harm to other. He argues that dissent is essential to preserve the truth, since truth can be manipulated by prejudice, power, or for the sake of political or financial gains. So he supports the dissent as the freedom of the person’s opinion to express and articulate unpopular views.
Mill’s defends the unpopular views in terms of thoughts and opinion only. If the people are oppressed for holding unpopular view, then there are three possibilities. First, the oppressed opinion might be true. Then suppressing such opinion is unjustified. Second, the oppressed opinion is false. In this case the popular opinion will accept the challenge and defeat it as prevailing opinion and such a challenge provides wider understanding of the truth. Third, the suppressed...