(じゆうろん On Liberty)

不幸なことに、現代という時代は自分を表現する古典をもっていない。私が判 断して、現代の倫理にもっとも近い古典は、J・S・ミルの『自由論』(1859年) である。


Silencing an opinion is not merely a private injury, but an evil done to the human race, in the present and in the future, to dissenters and to believers alike. If the opinion is right, we lose the opportunity of exchanging error for truth, and if wrong, we lose the opportunity of its full understanding which can only be produced by its contrast with error; otherwise whatever views we hold will be held as dead dogma, not living truth. More common even than these two cases is when conflicting views, being neither wholly true nor wholly false, share the truth between them. It is rare that a single doctrine encompasses the whole truth - Mill's view of half-truth, first expressed in his `Remarks on Bentham's Philosophy', now becomes his overall perspective in examining the past and present and a general objection to religious or philosophical sectarianism. Unless people listen to both sides, errors will harden into prejudices, truths will lose their comprehension and meaning and half-truths will be exaggerated into falsehoods. For truth to be revealed and, importantly, for it to have its vital effect on character and conduct, then it must be pursued and held freely. Censorship not only obstructs progress but also dwarfs the human mind and threatens the courage and integrity of the human character.

---Geraint Williams, in John Stuart Mill: Utilitarianism, On Liberty, Considerations on Representative Government (Geraint Williams ed., Everyman's Library, 1993), pp. xxxiii-xxxiv.

Mill and others held, and with truth, that vigorous persecution, either legal or social, may destroy the capacity for free thought. They thence concluded that absolute freedom would stimulate originality and individuality. This inference is of most dubious validity. All men hate trouble and the discovery of truth or the detection of error involves a laborious process of thought, whilst few are the men to whom the attainment of truth is an object of keen desire. Add to all this that man is far more of an imitative than inventive animal, and inventiveness or originality is the rarest of all gifts. What ground is there, then, for holding that human beings, simply because they are left free to think and act as they like, will in fact like to labour in the search for truth, or to strike out new paths for themselves rather than pursue the pleasant and easy course of imitating their neighbours?

---A.V. Dicey

[T]he only way the truth could emerge was by a form of natural selection in a `free market' of ideas: if all ideas were allowed expression, good ideas would multiply, bad ideas would die out.

Bernard Willams et al.

J・S・ミルの著作(1859年出版)。 自由主義擁護論の古典。

ミルはこの著作において、政府の専制だけでなく、不寛容な世論による個性の 発展の妨害(多数者の専制)も最大多数 の最大幸福を妨げる原因になりうると考え、「他人に危害を与えないかぎり、 個人は自由に行動・発言することができる」という危害原理を主張した。


この原理は現代の自由主義の根幹にあるものであり、 言論の自由、出版の自由、信仰の自由などを支持する有力な根拠の一つである。 結果としてミルは、今どきの言葉で言えば、 善の構想の複数性を 容認したことになる。すなわち、 人々は自由に自分の好きな生き方を追求することができる、 ということである。

この著作は五章に分かれ、第一章「序章」に続き、 第二章「思想と討論の自由」 では、言論の自由に対する強力な擁護論が論じられ、 第三章「幸福の一要素としての個性について」では、 善の構想の多元性がいかに個人の幸福および社会全体の発展につながるかが説明 されている (この点については、自律の項も参照せよ)。 第四章「個人に対する社会の権威の限界について」では、 個人の自由の範囲を設定する危害原則が詳しく説明され、 第五章「応用」では、毒薬販売や飲酒、売春、賭博などの具体例を用いて、 この危害原則の意義と限界が論られている。

功利主義が議論の土台にあるものの、 言論の自由や個性についての議論などは功利主義とは独立に読むことも可能である。 自由主義を勉強する人は必読。邦訳は、 岩波文庫の『自由論』と中央公論社の『ベンサム、J.S. ミル』がある。



以下は重要な箇所の抜き書き。見出しはこだまが勝手に付けたもの。 長い段落は適当に切ってあります。

Chapter 1

The Tyranny of the Majority

It was now perceived that such phrases as "self-government," and "the power of the people over themselves,"do not express the true state of the case. The "people" who exercise the power are not always the same people with those over whom it is exercised; and the "self-government" spoken of is not the government of each by himself, but of each by all the rest.

The will of the people, moreover, practically means the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people; the majority, or those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority; the people, consequently may desire to oppress a part of their number; and precautions are as much needed against this as against any other abuse of power. [...]

[I]n political speculations "the tyranny of the majority" is now generally included among the evils against which society requires to be on its guard.

[cf. `Bentham'; Representative Government, ch. 6]

Need to Be Guarded against the Tyranny of the Majority

Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practises a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough: there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development, and, if possible, prevent the formation, of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compels all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own. There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence: and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism.

Chapter 4

Against Paternalism: Best Judge Argument

But neither one person, nor any number of persons, is warranted in saying to another human creature of ripe years, that he shall not do with his life for his own benefit what he chooses to do with it. He is the person most interested in his own well-being: the interest which any other person, except in cases of strong personal attachment, can have in it, is trifling, compared with that which he himself has; the interest which society has in him individually (except as to his conduct to others) is fractional, and altogether indirect; while with respect to his own feelings and circumstances, the most ordinary man or woman has means of knowledge immeasurably surpassing those that can be possessed by any one else.

The interference of society to overrule his judgment and purposes in what only regards himself must be grounded on general presumptions; which may be altogether wrong, and even if right, are as likely as not to be misapplied to individual cases, by persons no better acquainted with the circumstances of such cases than those are who look at them merely from without. In this department, therefore, of human affairs, individuality has its proper field of action.

In the conduct of human beings towards one another it is necessary that general rules should for the most part be observed, in order that people may know what they have to expect: but in each person's own concerns his individual spontaneity is entitled to free exercise. Considerations to aid his judgment, exhortations to strengthen his will, may be offered to him, even obtruded on him, by others: but he himself is the final judge. All errors which he is likely to commit against advice and warning are far outweighed by the evil of allowing others to constrain him to what they deem his good.

Opinions of the Majority on Questions regarding Social Morality and Personal Conduct

[T]he strongest of all the arguments against the interference of the public with purely personal conduct is that, when it does interfere, the odds are that it interferes wrongly, and in the wrong place. On questions of social morality, of duty to others, the opinion of the public, that is, of an overruling majority, though of wrong, is likely to be still oftener right; because on such questions they are only required to judge of their own interests; of the manner in which some mode of conduct, if allowed to be practised, would effect themselves. But the opinion of a similar majority, imposed as a law on the minority, on questions of self-regarding conduct, is quite as likely to be wrong as right; for in these cases public opinion means, at the best, some people’s opinion of what is good or bad for other people; while very of it does not even mean that; the public, with the most perfect indifference, passing over the pleasure or convenience of those whose conduct they censure, and considering only their own preference.

KODAMA Satoshi <kodama@ethics.bun.kyoto-u.ac.jp>
Last modified: Tue Jan 6 12:44:17 JST 2015