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密尔的著作关注的是对个人的权力,而不仅仅是国家的立法权;他深切关注社会能够对个人施加的道德力量。他所写的不仅仅是一个权力过大的政府或君主的能力。多数人对个人实行暴政的能力也使他深感忧虑。由于这个原因,他在他的原则之后立即设置了警告,这也许是令人惊讶的;一个人的好是一个有效的理由”规劝他,或推理,或说服,或者恳求”(机:pg 9)。这种级别的输入机被认为是可接受的在这种情况下可能很好地缓解缺乏任何强迫性的干扰,他愿意接受——在他看来,一个足够大的力量规劝代表着近乎强迫症的效果由于社会力量,反对他经常抱怨。尽管他的原则会禁止任何实际的强迫行为,但考虑到密尔的正常的争论立场,他准备允许发生有利于保护家长主义的事件,他通常认为这是对他人的不应有的影响。国家,社会和个人之间的相互作用是密尔作品的主题,仅仅因为他所说的禁止国家进行行为的理论并不意味着他不认为应该允许这样做;事实上,在这种情况下,他不仅不禁止社会交往,而且还积极鼓励某种形式的干预,这表明他愿意允许社会试图在道德上迫使人们走上一条对相关个人伤害较小的道路。该原则本身仍然很简单,但其框架的上下文要复杂得多。


Mill’s writings were concerned with power over the individual, but not merely with the legislative power of the state; he was deeply concerned with the moral force that society was capable of exercising over the individual. It was not merely the capacity of an over powerful government or monarch about which he wrote. The capacity for the tyranny of the majority over the individual also concerned him deeply. For this reason it is perhaps surprising that he installed caveats immediately after his principle; a man’s own good was a valid reason “for remonstrating with him, or reasoning, or persuading, or entreating” (Mill: pg 9). This level of input that Mill considered acceptable under such circumstances perhaps goes a long way towards mitigating the lack of any compulsive interference that he was willing to accept – in his eyes, a sufficiently great force of remonstration represented an almost compulsive effect due to societal forces, against which he frequently railed. Even though his principle would ban any actual compulsion, consideration of Mill’s normal arguing position reveals that he was prepared to permit events in the interests of protective paternalism which he typically considered to be undue influence over others. The interplay between state, society and the individual is a leitmotif of Mill’s writings, and merely because the theory he states forbids the state from carrying out an act does not mean that he does not feel it should be permitted; indeed, in this scenario when not only does he not forbid societal interaction, but positively encourages intervention of a kind suggests that he was willing to allow society to attempt to morally force people down a route which was less harmful to the individual concerned. The principle itself remains simple, but the context in which it is framed is significantly more complex.


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