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I was wondering how Kant, or even Mill might respond to the issue that when doing the righteous thing, say standing up for yourself against a bully, or somebody who wants to impede on your rights, you cause said person discomfort.

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. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.

As for Mill the above passage seems to preclude standing up for what is right if it causes harm.

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  • But a bully does cause harm, and standing up to him does prevent it. Even if the person harmed is yourself, you are an other person relative to him. – Mary Dec 30 '20 at 20:20
  • On Liberty, which you quote, is concerned with exercising government power. Moreover, the very next sentence says: "He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier". In other words, this has nothing to do with self-defense, which he endorses in the previous sentence:"the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection." And it is best not to mix Kant with Mill, their ethical principles are incompatible – Conifold Dec 31 '20 at 1:43

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