Mill “On Liberty” – Freedom & Empire | Philosophy Tube

John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty” is huge in politics and criminal law: but what are the limits of freedom? And how does the history of the British Empire in India come into it?
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Recommended Reading:
Mill, “On Liberty”
Mill, “A Few Words on Non-Intervention”
Mark Tunick, “Tolerant Imperialism,” in The Review of Politics
Bart Schultz, “Mill and Sidgwick, Imperialism and Racism”
David Goldberg, “Liberalism’s Limits,” in Nineteenth Century Contexts
Falguni Sheth, Toward a Political Philosophy of Race

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Raven_Sapio says:

I have a question regarding the racial grounds for rejecting liberty. Is it possible that Mill may have been justified in his conclusions with regards to the exportation of modern ethics and ideas to less civilized cultures? An example is the legal system of Australian Aboriginals (Aka. Payback) and the Australian legal system. In Australia we no longer have a death penalty or corporal punishment, however in some Aboriginal communities payback is still implemented which can be breaching Australian law. According to Mill’s harm principal the Australian State has the obligation to punish the people who would spear a disobedient child or put one of their own to death. I think that rather than seeing it as a problem of race, that instead it is a problem of barbaric culture that should be eradicated from practice.
Food for thought, thanks for reading.

Red Sparks says:

Great video. The Roman Empire used the same type of logic as Mills to justify their conquest of “barbarian” lands. Civilization, specifically Roman civilization, is good for them … and profitable for us.

Clora Murphy says:

F off

manhoosnick says:

The Arcade music in background is annoying.

Kevin Higgins says:

As someone who worked for the East India company he justified exploitation and money making as beneficial to what he would assume were an uncivilised people incapable of self government until they were ready or had been taught?

Marcello Silveira Filgueiras says:

Hey @philosophytube I have a question on Stuart Mill:

On his book “On Liberty” he says that we can’t supress the freedoom of spech for enourmous reasons…

but what if that one of that reasons collide with the harm principle?

creshiell says:

I paid for seeing this video by being forced to watch a pro-trump ad and it was still worth it

Daniel Martin says:

I feel like this guy is actually American but only speaks with a British accent when he’s talking about philosophy

John Stockwell Major Smedley Butler says:

Great Channel. Who first said, “Be as the ocean in every way, no talking and all action?” Please dont say Perry Ferrel

Ben Oakland says:

Uhmmm sounds like the mission statements of human rights watch and certain ngos

jesus torres says:

ethics of collateral damage

sugar cube says:

bro you’re out here saving my ass this exam season bless you

52darcey says:

Good video but I think thou protesth too much about Mills paternalism which was a product of the times. The world now as it truly was then is not driven by paternalism but by money – paternalism just like religion was a convenient cover story.

Dan Ingram says:

It’ll be interesting to see how former colonies treat the west when they become more powerful than us…

Jonty Roy says:

Thank you. This helped me understand his ideas better. 🙂

The Meme Awakens says:

Is it “liberalism” that’s making the exception or is it Mill making an exception for liberalism?

The critiques of liberalism and the enlightenment is often taken from the stance that there is no “objective truth” that mill is describing himself.

If you believe such truth exists, then there are no problem with separating his opinions you think are correct from the ones you think aren’t. Einstein was wrong about spooky action.

I will say that there is a point on not ignore the truth that he did have those opinions. But these kinds of arguments can be applied to anyone in history.

NeoN Atary says:


Madeleine Anderson says:

This really helped me out. Thank you x

Naomi Bell says:

Your videos are wonderful!!!!!! Love them-Thankyou! Have you considered becoming a professor? think you would be great at it

Smack Bramhall says:


Adam Kretz says:

Great video very clear

Zakaria Bajwa says:

Thankyou very much!Its quite helpful!

Deponensvogel says:

Your car example is miserable. You may endanger somebody else – or you may not. It hasn’t hurt anybody, therefor government has no business in forbidding me to drive under influence of drugs or alcohol. It can only punish me rigorously if I do harm to others whilst being under influence of these things.

אורן וינטראוב says:

This was an excellent lesson. Thank you!

AR AD says:


Kayfia Thompson says:

what did J.S. Mill say about social contract theory

Aditya singh says:

Can Art be defined

Akiva Lev says:

John could have tortured her to death

dochmbi says:

Should we be allowed to do drugs, sell ourselves as prostitutes? That would be consistent w the harm principle

1978ajax says:

Be better if you could loose the shit music.

Raven Elric says:

Can you do Lenin’s State & Revolution?

coreycox2345 says:

Thank you for this. When I first studied John Stuart Mill in college, I was a young person who had grown up in a British Commonwealth country. I remember so much of what he said that I love, and I did not even notice a colonial attitude. I might now. I am glad that I watched and will read “On Liberty” again.

Fuaad Hersi says:

This is by far the most informative video of J.S. Mill ive seen lol You got my sub 🙂

PaiNExoTiC says:

I define one instance of “harm” as doing something against someone’s will. For example, with the doctor case. Yes, they are not worse off. HOWEVER, he killed them against their own will. Another instance of harm is like what you explained in the video, someone being worse off than they wold have otherwise been. It depends on the situation. Like, people could argue that gay marriage should be illegal because it “harms” (makes worse off) the legitimacy of marriage, so they think government should step in. HOWEVER, that’s when we go towards the other definition of harm because legalizing gay marriage isn’t forcing you to go against your own will. You are not being forced to marry gay people nor being forced to accept gays into your personal religious beliefs, so it doesn’t harm you.

Steven Miller says:

You helped me write a paper for my class on this. Thank you so much!

Mansha Khan says:

Can art be defined?

Shada says:

Can we note how we just glossed over the idea that kids should always be under someone else’s complete control?

Zacharias Thomasson says:

I respectfully disagree, one can not be held accountable for someone’s actions which they base on their interpretation of your statement. If I tell you to jump in front of the train and you do so, should I be punished?

Jean Jasmine says:

Mill’s nose is way too long

morrissey _ says:

Many today would try and define ‘Harm’ in terms of ‘offending’ another via words, insults and ‘hate’. That is the harm of this principle…

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