“Libertarianism”advocates minimal government combined with extended individualliberty. In what respects and to what degrees can John Locke and JohnStuart Mill be considered Libertarian?
Libertarianismis a political philosophy, which maintains that individuals are thesole owners of their lives, therefore, should have the freedom to dowhat they please with their property or person provided they respectothers liberty (Mele, 2015). It is evident that libertarians do notbelieve in the government’s ability to make wise ethical, economic,or social decisions for their citizens. Instead, they believecitizens are the best possible masters and judges regarding theirindividual interests making best decisions when they have the freedomto choose independently. In this paper, I will critically evaluatethe extent by which John Locke and John Stuart Mill come across as alibertarian.
JohnLocke’s libertarian theory serves as the most significanthistorical effect on the modern natural rights perspective oflibertarianism (Block, 2015). He mainly believes in the nature lawsand property rights relating to external goods doctrines. RegardingLocke’s nature laws, he makes a distinction between the governmentand law inclining towards negative liberty. In simple terms, heclaims that even with the absence of a political source, the lawwould still be available to govern men. Additionally, Locke’sdisbelief in the harming of others draws from his even fundamentalprinciple that every person has property in their individual self(Daskal, 2010). To some degree, Locke’s view of libertarianismshows that he is a libertarian to a significant extent. Since underhis ideology, persons are allowed to have right over their individualself, showing a great importance relating to personal freedom. FromLocke’s theory, it is true that individuals have the ability tomaximize on their natural resources to ensure that they benefit fromtheir self by being their own bosses. Additionally, through theindividual liberty that Locke describes, it is significant inindividual liberty since persons will tend to become more creative indecision making enabling the making of right decisions.
JohnStuart Mill’s idea of libertarian draws from a consequentialistlibertarianism point of view believed that initial propertydistribution happens to be the egalitarian description (Mele, 2015).Therefore, individuals are not allowed to exclusively and privatelyown legal property, or these individuals must attain politicalpermission to achieve such a measure. Despite this, Mill advocatedfor personal freedom but freedom was mainly granted to thoseindividuals who were privileged enough to attain their personalfreedom with the resources they have. Even with Mill’s belief inindividual liberty, he claims that even that which citizens producefrom their own toil without others interferences does not belong tothem unless they attain permission from the government. Therefore, heclaims society may not just acquire the property from thisindividual, but other individuals would do the same if the governmentdecides to remain passive from preventing this act from taking place.According to Goodlad (2008), this gives rise to the harm principlewhere individuals are harmed by the interference of their freedom. Inthis light, the view of Mill does not go in line with the concept oflibertarianism since individual liberty is being interfered with andonly made accessible to a class of individuals that the governmentfavors. With this, individuals lose their right to be creative andmake decisions that are best for them to ensure maximum freedom.
Inclosing, libertarian theories encourage governmental and socialminimization of power, control, regulation, and action whilesimultaneously maximizing on individual freedom and liberty. Lookingback, Locke to some significant extent upholds the libertarianideology while Mill’s perspective does not go in line with personalfreedom importance.
Block,W. E. (2015). Natural Rights, Human Rights, and Libertarianism.AmericanJournal Of Economics & Sociology,74(1),29-62
Daskal,S. (2010). Libertarianism left and right, the Lockean proviso, andthe reformed welfare state. SocialTheory And Practice,(1), 21
Goodlad,L. E. (2008). "Character worth Speaking Of": Individuality,John Stuart Mill, and the Critique of Liberalism. VictoriansInstitute Journal, 367
Lemos,J. (2014). Libertarianism and Free Determined Decisions.Metaphilosophy, 45(4/5), 675-688
Mele,A. (2015). Libertarianism, Compatibilism, and Luck. Journal OfEthics, 19(1), 1-21