Washington Law Review


My purpose in this essay is to criticize Mill's principle of liberty as a limit on the legitimate scope of legal coercion. I shall do so not by focusing on previously examined justifications for frustrating individually chosen lifestyles, but rather by examining the arguments in favor of the principle of liberty itself. I shall argue that at least two of its principal bases do not support its conclusion that communally determined elements of lifestyle cannot be legitimately imposed on unwilling individuals except to prevent harm to others. Indeed, these bases are fully consistent with the imposition of communally rather than individually determined lifestyles and attitudes.

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