Law and Morality: Mill, Devlin, and the Proper Outer Boundary for Individual Rights Essay by Top Papers

Law and Morality: Mill, Devlin, and the Proper Outer Boundary for Individual Rights
In his classic essay, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill insisted that personal liberty could only be constrained if an individual's conduct was such that he (or she) was threatening the safety of others; in other words, state power could only be ...
# 137319 | 1,250 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Dec 01, 2008 in Literature (World)


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In his classic essay, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill insisted that personal liberty could only be constrained if an individual's conduct was such that he (or she) was threatening the safety of others; in other words, state power could only be legitimately exercised over private citizens to prevent harm from befalling other members of the community. For his part, Devlin, in his own classic work, Morals and the Criminal Law, insisted that the collective interest takes precedence over individual prerogatives and that the community was well within its rights to suppress immoral conduct and vice. Over the next several pages, using R. v. Labaye as a starting-point, I will argue that the Supreme Court's decision in this matter is actually more in keeping with the sentiments of J.S. Mill than it is the view-points of Devlin - though the minority clearly echoes the viewpoint of Devlin that the state should enforce morality. With this part of the paper out of the way, I will then argue that I much prefer the J.S. Mill approach (and the majority's position) because, however distasteful it may be to many, "immoral" acts done in private after reasonable precautions have been taken to shield unwilling individuals from witnessing them - and which do not involve demonstrable harm to anyone - are not worthy of criminalization; people's sex lives should remain their own business unless damage to others is involved.

From the Paper:

Law and Morality: Mill, Devlin, and the Proper Outer Boundary for Individual Rights In his classic essay, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill insisted that personal liberty could only be constrained if an individual's conduct was such that he (or she) was threatening the safety of others; in other words, state power could only be legitimately exercised over private citizens to prevent harm from befalling other members of the community. For his part, Devlin, in his own classic work, Morals and the Criminal Law, insisted that the collective interest takes precedence over individual prerogatives and that the community was well within its rights to suppress immoral

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Law and Morality: Mill, Devlin, and the Proper Outer Boundary for Individual Rights (2008, December 01) Retrieved June 06, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/essay/law-and-morality-mill-devlin-and-the-proper-outer-boundary-for-individual-rights-137319/

MLA Format

"Law and Morality: Mill, Devlin, and the Proper Outer Boundary for Individual Rights" 01 December 2008. Web. 06 June. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/essay/law-and-morality-mill-devlin-and-the-proper-outer-boundary-for-individual-rights-137319/>

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