Sunday, May 21, 2006

On JS Mill

Norm Geras points out that yesterday was the 200th anniversary of John Stuart Mill's birthday. Mill is arguably the most important political philosopher of classical liberalism, and his works remain especially valid today. For more on Mill and his writings, see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and

In the meantime, I will leave you with the Mill quote that has most influenced me:

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice,—is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.


Blogger chattr said...

BBC's Radio 4 program, 'In Our Time' was on Mill on May 18:

There's an mp3 of the show available. After a week or so, the show will only be available in streaming format (not ordinarily downloadable).

10:16 PM  

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