Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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The issue of rights, and their ramifications, has been a point of contention for centuries. In the past thirty years, the Supreme Court of the United States has started to deal with various issues on the constitutional rights to privacy. Associated with the rise of concern for privacy among society itself, individuals' concern for privacy has become of great concern. Freedom of expression is perhaps one of the most cherished of all rights. It is at the fore of the United States constitution and is widely held as one of the central tenets of an advanced liberal society. Perhaps the best starting place for an understanding of a modern conception of rights is with John Stuart Mill. Mill, the author of On Liberty, argued that free speech was important especially on the topic of pornography . Applying his theory of free speech to the subject of pornography, Mill argues that censorship in this area, most importantly, takes away a person's moral choice.

Mill not only believed in free speech; he believed that no action should be prohibited that harmed only oneself; the government should only intervene to bar acts that harmed others. Mill's point is obvious, and some say flawless. In On Liberty, Mill argues that citizens of a given society should be free to "liberty of tastes and pursuits" and to conduct "experiments in living" as long as the actions do not cause harm. This idea applies even if others believe that the conduct is immoral or wrong." Mill gives many solid arguments to support his assertions and provides a basis for his famous harm principle. He had an overly simplistic and optimistic view of human nature and toleration, and therefore, the harm principle shows a tendency towards individualism. In other words, in order for a person's rights...