Friday Quotation: J.S. Mill

“The likings and dislikings of society, or of some powerful portion of it, are thus the main thing which has practically determined the rules laid down for general observance, under the penalties of law or opinion.  And in general, those who have been in advance of society in thought and feeling, have left this condition of things unassailed in principle, however they may have come into conflict with it in some of its details.  They have occupied themselves rather in inquiring what things society ought to like or dislike, than in questioning whether its likings or dislikings should be a law to individuals.  They preferred endeavoring to alter the feelings of mankind on the particular points on which they were themselves heretical, rather than make common cause in defence of freedom, with heretics generally.  The only case in which the higher ground has been taken on principle and maintained with consistency, by any but an individual here and there, is that of religious belief:…”

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (New York:  Barnes & Noble, 2007), 8-9.

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Categories: Philosophy, Public Debate

Author:chr1

An independent blogger seeking to discuss deeply while keeping an open mind. I'm mostly on the right, but living in Seattle I have to think about what that means on a daily basis. I like to read philosophy.

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