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In 1859 John Stewart Mill wrote On Liberty In it he laid out the ethical foundation of democratic individualism At the same time Mill considered the circumstances under which individual liberty might be justifiably restricted Under what has come to be known as the harm principle Mill stated that a persons liberty may justifiably be restricted only in order to prevent harm that the persons actions would cause to others Over himself over his own body and mind the individual is sovereign Mills defense against paternalism lies primarily on the concept that individuals have a better idea of what is good for them than the government or any one else for that matter Mill has no objection to governments interfering to prevent citizens from harming each other indeed he believes this is the only situation in which intervention is justified and invited The sole end for which mankind are warranted individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number is to prevent harm to others Dictionarycom describes paternalism as a policy or practice of treating or governing people in a fatherly manner especially by providing for their needs without giving them rights or responsibilities To continue further paternalism is the interference of a state or an individual Mill indicates that liberty consists in doing what one desires and he does not desire to fall into the river He refers to an incidence where an official sees a person about to cross a bridge which has been declared unsafe by the state Mill supposes that the official has no time to warn the person of the danger of crossing the bridge At this point the person is seized and no real infringements of liberty were asserted on the person This is where Mill would draw the line of paternalism In this case it was necessary for the person to be stopped if not he may have been killed
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