To what extent do you agree with JS Mill that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will is to prevent harm to others".
I can't tell you whether you agree or disagree with this statement, nor measure the extent. However, I can give you a few hints on how to proceed.
First, let me give you my interpretation of what your instructor expects. He or she doesn't care whether you agree or disagree with Mill. However, you must demonstrate that you understand what the statement means and how it might apply to current social situations.
So, let's look at the Harm Principle the statement from John Stuart Mill that you are being asked to examine?and ensure that you understand it. I found two good web resources for you from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The first is on Mill: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mill/. If you scroll down the page to the subhead "Moral Philosophy: Utilitarianism", you will see that Mill believed that sometimes an individual's desire conflicts with the moral standard that society applies. He argued that "the moral worth of actions is to be judged in terms of the consequences of those actions."
How can you apply this to something you know? Let's look at some current moral standards:
? Murder: What are the consequences of this action? Don't consider the societal consequences if you murder someone. The ultimate ...
Information and assistance is provided in putting together a paper on JS Mill's political theory in the solution.