The Danger of the Conjoint Tyrant on Liberty 

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Modernity is the result of continuous innovation and changes from the past (Snyder, N.D). This simply implies that there is modernity on different aspects of life, including governance, dynamics of the society up to each and every individual’s reasoning or subjectivity.

In the modern era innovation in technologies, secularization, hegemony, stabilization and the increased role of the state and government became evident and in inevitable (Chambers, Grew, Herlihy, Rabb, & Woloch, 1987). The increased power of the state will reciprocate to its enhanced capacity and probability to oppress its constituents. My claim is that, due to the increased role and power of the state, it became obvious that Mills and the other political theorist thinking had been affected and disturbed about the effects and implications of the increased role of the government that implies greater power that they attain in the modern era and how it will affect the dynamics of the society.

Mills works gave emphasis on the limitation of the government to the liberty, life, and subjectivity of each and every individual, and it made me think that the works of Mill is his response to the increased role and power of the government in modern times to bring balance to the dynamics of the society and somehow eradicated or if not limit the abuses that this increased role and power of the government might bring.

Therefore, works and ideas of John Stuart Mill possess the principles of ‘modernity’ and had been affected by it, because it had been made for the purpose of it and since it had been made for it, it is suitable and appropriate for it. John Stuart Millworks and ideas possess relevance and had been affected by the nature of the society that he lived on and the current dynamics of it.

Mill gave importance and emphasis particularly on the subjectivity and reasoning of each and every individual and how they are being affected by the pressures that is being caused by the modern nature of society. Mill will also discuss how individuals should act, behave and reason through his subjectivity and rationality. Inclined to this, Mill will also discuss how modern outside forces and factors affects the subjectivity of those individuals, on which he is not in favour with.

The work of John Stuart Mill entitled ‘On Liberty’ discussed the limitations on where the government and the society could interfere to the life of individuals. Mill in this book wanted to discuss the scope and limitations of the society’s interference to individual’s ‘liberty’. Mill propose that liberty of each and every individual should be protected and free from the tyranny of a political ruler. Secondly, Mill also implies that liberty of each and every individual should be protected from the prevailing public opinions, and the tendency of society to impose its values on others’ or the so-called “tyranny of the majority”.

Inclined to this, Mill is also concern about the abuses, too much interferences and power exceeding of the government to the actions, thinking’s and behavior of each and every individual. This is the so-called ‘tyranny of the government’. Mill in his works does not mention that this tyranny from the majority could have ‘political means’ but in this work I will justify how this ‘tyranny of the majority can also be present and visible in the political sphere, or basically how this tyranny of the majority and government coexist in the modern times.

There are a lot of present circumstances where this tyranny of political ruler and tyranny of the majority coexist with each other and interfere to the private life of individuals who does not share the beliefs and principles.

On the other part of this paper I will discuss how this tyranny of the government and the majority became present in just one circumstance jointly, and I will cite examples in the Philippine setting where this circumstance occurs.

Principles of utilitarianism is also present in this work, since individual liberty is the topic. For Mill an individuals is free in any decision and actions in life, whether he choose actions and beliefs opposing or contradicting to the predetermined standards that had been set by the society, as long as it brings happiness/pleasure in him, and as long as it will not harm other individuals.

Stuart Mill works ‘Utilitarianism’ and ‘On liberty’ is somehow relevant and connected to each other since it both tackled individuals freedom in every aspect of life, and how it should be free and protected from interferences, as long as it will not harm others, as long as it will bring pleasure on individuals or basically when the only the subject affected by the actions is the individual who will do the action alone.

I have mentioned that tyranny of the government and tyranny of the majority can coexist in our political and social sphere and bring disastrous results in our society. The high approval rating of President Rodrigo Duterte despite his abuses and unlawful, the rampant and evident existence and practices of political dynasties throughout the country and the negative impressions towards “activism” has the principles of Tyranny of the government and the tyranny of the majority. These circumstances in the Philippines status quo is a manifestation and a disastrous result of this tyranny of the government and tyranny of the majority.

The people in our government whether on the national or local level is exploiting its own people just to uphold each of their own interest (Vartavarian, 2018). The public officials who exploits the people will fall under the tyranny of the government, but the reason why these kind of public officials maintained their power is because of the constituents who keeps on letting these certain individuals to maintain their power, and this circumstance will fall under the tyranny of the majority.

Tyranny from the government and tyranny from the majority is very visible in each and every localities or provinces. In fact, in our country the rampant cases of political dynasty and the preservation of the endeavours of those family on the provinces where they are elected is a living manifestation in the modern times of the tyranny of the government and tyranny of the majority. Political dynasties in provinces are exploiting the resources and prioritization intended for the constituents while protecting their businesses and affiliations (Sidel, 1997). This circumstance is a proof and a situation under the tyranny of the government that had been made possible by the tyranny of the majority. The reason why these dynasties continue to be evident, rampant and in trend even until today, and probably in the future is because of the faith and trust of the majority of the constituents to politicians and these dynasties (Thompson & Batalla, 2018). These majorities that keep on patronizing politicians from dynasties enable these dynasties to retain their powers.

This situation of patronization of politician which is very evident today will fall under the tyranny of the majority that is being discussed by Mill. Since our country practices the principles of democracy, the existence of this entrenchment by politicians from dynasties that is being maintained by the tyranny of the majority is inevitable.

In the Philippine setting, the political actions of Duterte is a manifestation of the tyranny of the government. Tyranny from the government because there are a lot of unconstitutional actions that had been done by the Duterte administration. The administration of Duterte also got the attention of United Nations right councils officials due to allegedly extra judicial killings and human rights violations (Cumming-Bruce, 2019). This circumstance implies that abuses, violations, unconstitutional and unlawful acts by the administration is evident and rampant.

Stuart Mill pointed out that the government should act in accordance to a certain constitution. Mills believed that the any sovereign power must subject to constitutional checks. If this constitutional check is not being maintained and practice the liberty of the constituents under this certain government is in uncertain condition. In this circumstance, the less compliance of the current administration to the existing laws are very obvious. The less compliance of the administration resulted in a lot of abuses particularly to the constituents, to the point that it gets the attention of the United Nations rights council. Uncertain circumstance like this is the reason why Stuart Mill indicated that a certain government should be subjected to constitutional checks to limit their power and eliminate abuses. Mill stated that the governing authority/entity must hold pleasure from the constituents. This implies that the purpose of those people in the government should not be for self-gains and personal endeavours but for the betterment of the majority of the constituents.

The action of Rodrigo Duterte is an evidence and manifestation of the tyranny of the government, the time that the tyranny of the government and tyranny of the majority will coexist in this circumstance was when the government do abuses and unconstitutional activities to their constituents and the majority applauded the activity that had been done by the government, this circumstance fall under the tyranny of the government and tyranny of the majority.

Duterte even with his human rights violation through his drug war, total control over the different branches of the government, appointing unqualified cabinets still received a very high approval rating (Cabato, 2019). In addition, to be specific, Duterte maintained a very good 87% approval rating (de Vera, 2019). This uncertain circumstance is the reality in the Philippine contemporary setting. This certain circumstance possesses the tyranny of government and tyranny of majority, the combination of these tyrannies in the political and welfare sphere will indeed endanger the liberty of each and every individual.

Last that I will tackle in this paper under the circumstances of the conjoint tyrannies was the accumulation of negative impressions towards ‘activism’. Activism is under the freedom of expression and freedom to assembly, and due to this it is a legal exercise because those citizens who partake on activism is enjoying their democratic rights through freedom of expression (Magallona, 2016). According to Mills there is the liberty to unite with other consenting individuals for any purpose that does not harm others. However, In the Philippine setting, activism is being label as something as ‘disturbance’, ‘rebels’, ‘terrorist’ both by the government and by the majority. (Magallona, 2016). It is very visible in this circumstance, the interference and the wrong opinion of the tyranny of the majority and the attempt of the government to discredit the purpose of activism. This certain act both by the government and the majority is a threat to the liberty of every individuals specifically on the liberty to ‘unite with other consenting individuals” that is being proposed by Mills.

The solution to all of these hindrances and uncertainty to individual’s liberty is also proposed by Mill. For him the existence and abuses of these tyrannies can be avoided if the opinion of individuals will not be silenced and constrained. The opinions of individuals opposite to the aspiration of the majority and the predetermined standards of the society will play a crucial part for the truths to be unfolded. In addition, the opinion of individuals will be the key to bend, amend or replace the wrong or if not, outdated truth that is being patronized by the majority.

It is hard to amend the current views and current misconceptions due to the too much trust of the majorities to their government that commits unconstitutional and unlawful acts. For Mills this is not good and should be eradicated because for Mills each and every individual has the liberty to construct and express his/her thought even if it does not in accordance to the predetermined standard of the society. Second point is that the government should recognize ‘political freedom’ or ‘political liberty’ of individuals. For Mills the main purpose government is only just to interfere when an individual’s action is harming others but if an individual is just harming him/herself, this is not already in the scope of power of the government.

Even though all of the predetermined standard that had been set by a certain society is the basis of truth, not all of the accepted standard of the society is good, this is the claim of John Stuart Mill in the chapter 2 of his work to have freedom of thought. It is not bad to oppose the predetermined standard that had been set by the society as long as a person claim or opinion has a credible basis of facts. For John Stuart Mill in this way the chain that is being imposed by the Tyranny of the majority can be broken.

Mills also entails that the world that man lives in, is not infallible, and therefore silencing and constraining the opinion of an individual by sticking to the existing standard of a certain society that had been set long ago will constrain us into knowing the new appropriate in our times that could arises from an individual’s judgements, opinion and perspective that is not included or opposed to the existing standard of the society. The demand for conformity of the majority will prolong and uphold inappropriate and outdated standard that had been set by the majority will never be replaced by new and more appropriate ones.

The principle of utilitarianism plays a vital role in this subject. Utilitarianism of Mills implies that anyone has the freedom to do what they desire even though it is not suitable in the predetermined standard of a certain society as long as the result will cause more pleasure and much lesser pain.

There are still people that finds pleasure on the righteousness and appropriateness of things that is suitable at the current times or era. If the liberty and freedom of these people will not be constrained and eradicates through conformity, abuses and misconceptions brought by tyrants will not prosper.

The society has too much interference to individual’s life, when there is too much interference meaning an individual’s liberty is not being exercised, utilized and maximised since it is being hindered and constrain by the standard that had been set by the majority and the government.

In studying the works of John Stuart Mill I viewed the importance of liberty as an essential principle to utilize for us to break the chains that had been set by the tyranny of the government and tyranny of the majority, in knowing and realising the importance of our liberty, we will realize the role and importance of it in the present times where the demand for compromise is always being expected from each individual to the point that, an individual always chooses to disregard and set-aside his/her idea for the expectation to compromise on the existing predetermined standards of the society.

‘Compromise’ somehow, becomes the weapon of the tyrants, through compromise the tyranny of both the government and majority of the people who became blind and stagnant to the standards or norms that had been prescribed by the society will prosper and will serve as the basis or standard of the society that we are living in even if these predetermined set of beliefs is not already suitable and appropriate to the demands of the modern setting.

To be specific, an individual critique and opinion about the abuses should not just set-aside and disregarded through compromise. Through the individual who has a kind of a thinking to point out the flaws of a current administration, the liberty that is being discussed by Mill lives on and prosper. If people who has this kind of ideas will not be constrained by the interference of the government and the majority through compromise, abuses and regime of any tyranny will not continue to prosper and promulgate.

Mill also stated that ‘all people are hurt by silencing potentially true ideas.’ In the Philippine setting this claim is very evident and visible, due to the demand of the supporters of Duterte to silence opposing opinions and critiques against the government. All of the constituents are vulnerable and in danger, because the truths and improvements that is being proposed by those critiques are being silenced and constrained. Due to this there will be no improvements and the power of the government will always exceed to its limitations and restrictions.

The things and circumstances that he mentioned in his works where the liberty of each and every individual is being invaded, endangered and being interfered is still relevant into todays generation. The solutions that he proposed to avoid and eradicate this too much interference of the government due to the effect of modernity that gave the government more role and greater power are also still relevant and significant to the present times.

This simply implies that the thinking, principles, ideas and works of John Stuart Mill is appropriate in the modern times and he alone is a modern political thinker, because his works, some thinking, some principles, some claims and some beliefs is appropriate and somehow still relevant in the present times or in other words at the modern setting.

Cite this paper

The Danger of the Conjoint Tyrant on Liberty . (2022, Jan 31). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-danger-of-the-conjoint-tyrant-on-liberty/

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