Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Jurisprudence Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Courts

PDF

2011

Jurisprudence

Selected Works

Steven D. Smith

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

The Hollowness Of The Harm Principle, Steven D. Smith Dec 2011

The Hollowness Of The Harm Principle, Steven D. Smith

Steven D. Smith

Among the various instruments in the toolbox of liberalism, the so-called “harm principle,” presented as the central thesis of John Stuart Mill’s classic On Liberty, has been one of the most popular. The harm principle has been widely embraced and invoked in both academic and popular debate about a variety of issues ranging from obscenity to drug regulation to abortion to same-sex marriage, and its influence is discernible in legal arguments and judicial opinions as well. Despite the principle’s apparent irresistibility, this essay argues that the principle is hollow. It is an empty vessel, alluring but without any ...