Repost-Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Full post here.

Key quote:

“More recently Richard Rorty made an attractive attempt to reconcile the most avant-garde postmodern theory with a defence of the institutions of the Western liberal democracies, but the Mill of On Liberty still reigns supreme.”

Related On This Site: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty bears resemblance to Mill’s Harm Principle:  From virtual philosopher: ‘Free Speech: notes and links for course at Free Word Centre’

A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”From The Boston Review: ‘Libertarianism And Liberty: How Not To Argue For Limited Government And Lower Taxes’From Slate: ‘The Liberty Scam-Why Even Robert Nozick, The Philosophical Father Of Libertarianism, Gave Up On The Movement He Inspired.’

2 thoughts on “Repost-Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

  1. This reads well. I have had a copy of On Liberty by the bed for a long time now. Not reading it is unforgivable given that Mill writes engagingly and the book is hardly a large tome. Some would think Calder’s use of the phrase “twenty first century realists” referring to the English Liberal Democratic party something of a euphemism for ‘unprincipled chancers’. I like Calder more than Clegg.

  2. Simon,

    Thanks for commenting! I return to ‘On Liberty’ as often as I can.

    As an American, I find myself using Mill as a touchstone for deeper moral claims to liberal principles, and as a bulwark against the further Left, postmoderns, greens, etc. because I see such further Left folks as having tenuous connections to the ideas that maintain individual liberty.

    We’re not as deep in the woods with big Labor, and further Left interests that lead to the problems of the NHS, council house pathologies, constant calls for nationalization etc. but we may be getting closer as time goes on.

    I think ‘unprincipled chancers’ statement highlights how important it is to get the incentives right. Pursuit of one’s ideals leads to incentives, and politicians and people who want power will fill them.

    Then you’re stuck with them.

    I just don’t generally see government as integral for allowing individuals to reach their potential, or in a very limited fashion.

    **I watched that Clegg v Farage speech on the Eurozone.

    ***I actually had some email correspondence (brief) with Rorty before he passed away, and the whole idea of postmodern liberal-Left solidarity never appealed to me much, but he was a deeply thought guy, and I appreciated his taking the time to respond.

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