约翰·斯图亚特·密尔(John Stuart Mill)将伤害原则描述为:“干涉他人自由选择生活的理由是，如果他们冒着伤害他人的风险。”(Warbuton,23岁)，表明在你明确煽动暴力或人身伤害他人之前，你的言论自由权利将得到维护。尽管伤害原则是证明政府干预正当性的一个重要方面，但约翰•斯图尔特•穆勒(John Stuart Mill)承认言论的脆弱性。他将演讲视为在保持多数利益的同时获得个人自由的一种方式。”(麦高文,771)。显然，言论自由对于个人和集体的成长是必要的，这一观点由另外两位理论家亚历山大·梅克尔约翰和托马斯·斯坎伦表达。Meiklejohn需要演讲的保护个人自由民主的重要方面在他引用“一个社会才会真正民主自由批评政府,告诉我们代表我们希望他们做什么和自由讨论公众所关注的事务”(麦高文,770)。密尔(John S. Mill)主张个人成长的重要性，而亚历山大?在《压缩》一书中，托马斯•斯坎伦(Thomas Scanlon)通过倡导个人自由和自治，对这两种理论提出了质疑，他声称，“如果国家限制表达，那么在决定做什么和想什么时，我们甚至无法考虑一些可能性。””(麦高文,770)。他指出了允许国家监管的危险，以及它可能如何损害我们获得个人自由的自然能力。虽然很明显，国家对言论自由的限制在利益上与成本上是分开的，但有一些形式的言论毫无道理地有害于公共卫生。考虑到这一点，所有和任何国家干预都必须通过危害测试来证明其正当性。
John Stuart Mill, describes the Harm Principle as, “The justification for interference with someone’s freedom to live their life as they choose is if they risk harming other people.” (Warbuton,23), indicating that your right to freedom of expression will be upheld until you clearly incite violence and or physical harm onto another. Although the harm principle is a pillar aspect to justifying the interference from the state, John Stuart Mill acknowledged the vulnerability of speech. He attributed speech as a way to obtain individual liberty while maintaining the majority interest, he quotes, “By saying what we think and by attending to the opinions and reactions of others, we as a society, are more likely to form better-justified and hence true beliefs.” (McGowan,771). It is evident that free speech is necessary for personal and communal growth, and this idea is expressed by two other theorists, Alexander Meiklejohn, and Thomas Scanlon. Meiklejohn takes the protection of speech from individual liberty to a vital aspect for democracy in his quote “A society will only be genuinely democratic if we are free to criticize the government, tell our representatives what we want them to do and freely discuss matters of public concern” (McGowan, 770). John S. Mill argues the importance of individual growth, while Alexander Meiklejohn advocates for the projected better function of a democratic society with the protection of free speech. In compression, Thomas Scanlon brings the two theories into question by advocating for individual liberty and autonomy, and claims that “If the state limits expression, then we are prevented from even considering some possibilities when deciding what to do and think.” (McGowan, 770). He points out the dangers of allowing state regulation and how it could impair our natural ability to obtain individual liberty. While it is evident that state-imposed limitation on one’s freedom of expression is parted on benefits over costs, there are some forms of expression that are unjustifiably harmful to the public health. With this in mind, all and any state intervention must be justified through the harm test.