Views & Reviews Medical Classics

On Liberty

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c1891 (Published 14 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1891
  1. Helmy Haja Mydin, ST3 in respiratory medicine, Sunderland Royal Hospital
  1. enidan{at}doctors.org.uk

    Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of John Stuart Mill’s seminal work, On Liberty. In it he states that “the people who exercise power are not always the same people with those over whom it is exercised.” In a properly functioning democracy power can be exercised only by the majority, and the majority might arbitrarily discriminate against a minority.

    This led Mills to create the concept of the “tyranny of the majority.” This has very practical implications: the medical profession has a duty to stand up against any form of tyranny that serves to hamper the provision of …

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