M.F.Akhundov’s view on J.S.Mill’s “On Liberty”

The English philosopher, John Stuart Mill (1806 –1873) writes in his book analysing freedom:

In the world of lively human beings, progress demands freedom of expression, without which progress is itself not possible.

The result of progress is called civilisation in our time. Civilisation is the general conception that, all professions, subjects, powers of state, tranquillity of the nation, and conditions of culture have been summed up by its substance. But does this progress find opportunities to develop, if individuals in society will not be prudent in their thoughts; saying whatever they want and doing whatever they please? And if his word, or work, has been accepted by other individuals in a common society, yet others will affirm this idea after thinking about it and thereby profit from it; if they do not agree, such persons will only prove their incapacities.This method is called “Criticism”.  When there is freedom of expression, then the benefit of criticism will be that, at last, gradually with the clash of different thoughts and opinions, justice will keep its place and support the works of progress in the world of cultures.

If society will not give freedom of expression to its individual members, forcing them to be satisfied with the things their ancestors and saints decided on in the past, and not to veer away from this trajectory, not using their brains in cultural works, then such individuals will rise no further than crop planters, harvest collectors and robots doing everything without thinking; paying scant attention to the world around them, or they will turn like mill horses, which everyday revolve around the same circle, eating barley, chaff, drinking water and sleeping. Later, again, getting up and continuing the same tasks until the end of their lives. And these poor horses will never know that there are meadows, pastures, flower gardens, forests, mountains, and valleys in the world; if they were not blinkered, they would walk and see these heart-warming places, and completely benefit from the gifts of the world.

Today on our Globe, Indian Brahmans and the people close to Chinese State rules are like these mill horses, with dated religions and rules that still occur to this day, even though no changes have been introduced in their circumstances. Moreover, another thousands years will pass in this manner. There will not be any difference between their previous situations and end circumstances, because progress of a human kind, or an opening of the senses, will not have occurred, but instead a motion away from the senses, leaving them closed.

European populations were once like these piteous people until the time of the Enlightenment, due to the strength of Popes and the Catholic faith. But at this point in their history thinkers and philosophers appeared throwing from their necks the yokes of obedience to Popes; rising all together against the Catholic faith; making a revolution and asking what things meant. Like them, we also are human, having senses and our own portion of knowledge. Why must we be the slaves of uneducated and rude Popes, which were simply fisherman, and a laundress? If any of these swindlers met us in this century, because of their little knowledge, we would not favour them in our relations and gatherings. How would it be possible for us to bow to them!

A reader may say to himself, which one of them is equal to Newton or Watt? Is this fair? Newton, Watt, the philosophers and freethinkers who brought European progress, could not be slaves to these ignoramuses, or call themselves Lord, giving right and wrong decisions, and allowing no one to stand against them?

If we think on these lines, some of the words of such religions and law masters appear uninformed about the beauty and authority of humankind’s mood. Their thoughts seem compulsory, and because of that they liquidate any freedom of expression. These types of laws must be rejected, because, the benefit of such laws is like a drop in the sea.

Indulging a lack of free expression will only result in harm.

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