On Liberty

Diversity of Cultures: Promotion of Individuality and the Search for Truth

In his book On Liberty John Stuart Mill argues the importance of individual freedoms for the betterment of all of society and for the individual himself. This individuality creates a dynamic for society to adapt itself towards truth and is only restricted to the extent that it should not harm others. If then the multitude of individual beliefs, opinions, and actions are important for everyone it becomes clear that they must be protected and kept free, which means that they must be protected from the law and from the tyranny of social pressure often stemming from the majority. So if diversity of thought and action is important then surely cultural diversity is important as well, for if there were fewer cultures there would seem to be less diversity in general and thus less diversity in beliefs, opinions etc. This may indeed be the case but upon closer inspection there seems to be more than initially meets the eye and we find that there is actually a very interesting dynamic that builds between the preservation of cultural diversity and the promotion of individual thought. This is because cultures are founded on a set of underlying beliefs, so the individuality within these cultures may be stifled for the survival of the culture...

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