View Single Post
  #25  
Old 11-24-2009, 05:05 PM
Arrow's Avatar
Arrow Arrow is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Indian Territory
Posts: 4,240
Distinctions
POM Contributor 
Arrow Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion

John Stuart Mill (18061873). On Liberty. 1869

Chapter II: Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error. 1 It is necessary to consider separately these two hypotheses, each of which has a distinct branch of the argument corresponding to it. We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.

http://www.bartleby.com/130/2.html
__________________

Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky Resolutions of 1798: "In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
sendpm.gif Reply With Quote