JohnStuart Mill is arguably one of the greatest philosophers of alltimes. One of his most important views related to the ethical systemof utilitarianism. The utilitarianism through is based on the viewthat an ethical actions should maximize the benefit or happinesswhile minimizing suffering. In one of his work, On Liberty, Millestablished the standards that govern the how authority and libertyrelates. Nonetheless, the importance of liberalism in the humansociety, according to Mill, is founded on the liberty virtues ofliberty contained in his liberty theory rather than natural rightsand the utilitarian ethical theories. He argues that it is importantto promote the notion of individuality which results into humandevelopment and promote liberal thoughts (Heywood, 2004).

Inhis philosophical thoughts, Mill seeks to establish the limits of theauthority of the society and sovereignty of an individual. He alsoasks the question of to what extent should individuality and societyinfluence human life. While both individuality and the society shouldhave there respective share in human life, how much is assigned toeach should be for the good of everyone (Heywood, 2004). As such,Mill explains how to differentiate between the aspects of human lifethat must be assigned to the society and individual. He argues thatthere is a need to allow individuals to pursue their interest inlife, but these endeavors should not harm others. He strongly arguesagainst selfish indifference by stating that a liberal human societyshould result into more good rather than coercion. Therefore, if anindividual does harm to himself, there should be no fear ofpunishment. The society should therefore punish the neglect ofresponsibility to others and not what brought about the neglect(Heywood, 2004).

Thereis no doubt that the ex-police chief Robern Copeland statement andactions thereafter were unethical in the modern society. By usingthe ‘N-word’ in reference to President Obama, the police chiefwas a racist (Glenza, 2014). There is no doubt that Mill would haveargued that the chief of police was unethical and out of order in hisreference to the society. The utterances of the police chiefattracted a lot of condemnation demanding his immediate resignation.This is what Mill would describe as social tyranny. Mill also arguedthat although liberalism promotes individual sovereignty, theresultant freedom is accompanied by responsibilities. As a chief ofpolice, Robern Copeland had the responsibility of being unbiased anda role model in the society. Robern Copeland being a racist is notissue but by virtual of his position and his ability to influenceother people makes it an important social issue. Although RobernCopeland was in a position to gauge the impacts of his statement, herefused to apologize (Glenza, 2014). Therefore, due to the publicdisliking of the action and the possible negative implication, Millwould have argued for the resignation or sacking of the police chief.


Iagree with the answer by the first student. The student thinks thatMill would be argue that the chief of police has the right to believethe way he wishes as well as express his thoughts. However, thefreedom of sovereignty has consequences and therefore individuals areexpected behave accordingly. Due to his position, the chief of policeis required to treat all people equally irrespective of their race. He also has the ability to influence or demand unbiased conducts fromhis juniors. Therefore, Mill would have argued that the chief ofpolice was not immune to the reactions that followed his utterances.


Ialso agree with the conclusion of the second student. According tohis judgment, by using the N-word to the president of the UnitedStates, the chief of police was irrational. He also clarifies thatthe fact that the chief of police is irrational does not mean thesociety is also irrational, irrespective of the position he holds.The student gives three reasons why Mill would have argued in favorof firing or resignation of the chief of police. These reasonsinclude the fact that he was responsible for his actions, the publicoutcry against his statement and the defamation law.


Glenza,J. (2014). NewHampshire police commissioner resigns over Obama N-word slur,available athttp://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/19/new-hampshire-police-commissioner-quits-obama-slur

Heywood,A. (2004). PoliticalTheory,New York, NY. Palgrave Mamillan.