First Do No Harm
By Richard Girard
"Good government is the outcome of private virtue."
John Jay Chapman (1862-1933), U.S. author. Practical Agitation, chapter 2 (1898).
"Let us treat the men and women well: treat them as if they were real: perhaps they are."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Essays, "Experience" (Second Series, 1844).
John Stuart Mill claimed (in On Liberty, Chapter 1) that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."
Many people, who have never actually read On Liberty, assume that this is the whole of what Mill had to say on the subject. For the moment, let us say that this is true. What are the limitations-if any-to this rule?