These three types are the freedom of thought and opinion, tastes and pursuits and the freedom to plan our own lives. They believe that we should be able to make it our duty to follow a certain religion for the purpose of bettering our lives without being worried for prevention from the sovereign or other members of the society. Both Locke and Mill believe that a sovereign that declares democracy but behind the stage, controls the public without giving them the ability to plan their own lives is the worst place that a person could live in.
Although the epistemological arguments of Locke and Mill are quite similar, there are some differences between the two when it comes to the subject of toleration. Mill thinks that the people know what is best for them but Locke tends to think that in some cases individuals do not know what is in their own best interest. In this case Locke thinks that it is acceptable for a sovereign to present what they think is beneficial for a certain group within a society, but it is never acceptable to use force and try to force that group to stop a certain practice and conform to your ideologies. On the other hand Mill thinks that people know about their own interests better than anyone else because those interests and desires exist in that individual’s internal realm. Other people do not have the internal evidence to that would provide the grounds for judging for a person. In this case Mill thinks that even if what the sovereign is suggesting to its population is accurate, most likely the people targeted will refuse because by nature they do not like intervention in matters that are determined through an internal process and that will disturb the peace within a society.
Another dissimilarity between the two philosophers is regarding the amount of restrictions within a society. Locke thinks that people should be unrestricted in a society while Mill believes that people should be restricted within a society. Locks reasoning is that most humans by nature have good inclinations and within a political society, restriction should only be applied against those who are negatively affected by a certain aspect of a societal realm. Intolerance in this case does not take the freedom away from the public, it places the responsibility of protecting freedom into the hands of the state. Mill differs from Locke in this discussion because he believes that most of human beings lack good inclinations and when they have beliefs that may bring harm to themselves, the state should be able to intervene not as an attempt to persecute or judge their beliefs but as a way to ensure their well-being.
This essay argued that showing toleration towards dissenters is highly beneficial for the society and it is necessary for the society to function appropriately. This essay focused on the arguments brought up by John Locke and John Stuart Mill regarding toleration towards dissenster in the books “A letter Concerning Toleration” and “ On Liberty”. This essay presented the similarities and differences of the two philosophers regarding tolerating different perspectives and it concluded how the two authors believe that in order for a society to function properly, it is important for the state to let religion be separated from state matters and let people have control over their own internal beliefs. In some cases the governments that operate based on religious basis tends to show no tolerance to the dissenters of the society and that creates a serious conflict between the state and those who have views that are unacceptable to the government. In many cases the governments tends to impose religious practices to the dissenters and with refusal, persecution follows up. This conflict causes a society to exist in an unhealthy environment and it is very important to keep in mind that the seeking end result of a society should be its good health and not tolerating different perspectives and acting based on that intolerance is a beginning of an end for a society whether that action to persecute the holder of a perspective results in a success or a failure.