An analysis of john stuart mill as one of the foremost nineteenth century spokesmen for liberalism

Frank Underhill, who was then in his seventies, had long held much the same opinion, with the difference that his points of comparison were England and the United States, rather than continental Europe. What Mill offers is the contention that experience shows conduct contrary to moral principles to have undesirable consequences: it is self-defeating for an individual, and it is detrimental to a society's progress.

The United States also had intellectuals — C.

John stuart mill on liberty

If the governed are to determine how authority should be exercised, the principle of majority rule is indispensable. A select minority is always superior in quality to a great majority. It is true that he put himself there, at least to some degree, and also that he exaggerated his outsider status, but it is also true that his disaffection framed his perspective on politics and defined his sense of identity. By Hare's plan for proportional representation: all representatives would be elected ''al large" in one national constituency; to be elected, a candidatate must secure the number of votes equal to the quotient of the number of voters divided by the number of seats in the assembly; voters could list several candidates on their ballots in order of preference; any candidate who received the necessary quota of first-choice votes would immediately be elected; alternate choices would then be counted until the prescribed number of representatives was elected. The strongest argument in favor of a second chamber is that, generally, when power is diffused despotism is discouraged and compromise is encouraged; this of course is desirable. Indirect elections, where voters choose electors who in turn select the representatives, have been advocated as a means to curb the popular influence. Though the franchise should be extended as much as possible, certain qualifications for voting are imperative. According to this principle, the exercise of authority over the members of a community should be determined by the vote of a majority. Administration is a hjghly skilled business which depends on special information and rules of conduct. His political thought, like the Liberal creed itself, suffers from defects. What form of government best promotes the interests of a society? For Mill also contends that power over others corrupts those who posses it. Now, in modern society, rational opinion formation was threatened by experts who, though seemingly independent, were really the spokesmen for special interests, and by public relations men whose rise had paralleled the emergence of a new understanding of how opinion could be manipulated. The United States? Formal education, then, would not render the intellectual obsolete by making everyone an intellectual; rather, it would produce a cadre of men and women capable of recognizing independent thought and individual genius when they saw them, of tolerating heretics, and of rationally assessing the guidance they offered.

Underhill was baffled by this. His theory entails many assumptions of value which he is obliged somehow to justify.

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Relying on this criterion of "efficiency," Mill develops his case against the practice of democracy. Often his political views are so directly observations about British experience that they have no relevance for any other political system.

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This intermediate body should have a vested interest in good government of the dependency, and as little interest as possible in poor government.

To what extent do the political institutions utilize the moral and intellectual worth in the community? Mill thus concludes that the two proper criteria for evaluating forms of government are 1 the improvement of the character of the governed, and 2 the utilization of the community's virtue and talent.

Hence Mill's claim -- that a superior few who know which means is best to attain an end are competent to prescribe moral conduct in practice -- does not stand up. The principle of dissolution of the House of Commons is sound because it forestalls a serious deadlock between the executive and the legislature.

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They are indicative of a characteristic in his thought. For him the legitimacy of authority depends on the consent of the governed; without consent, rule rests on force rather than authority. Of course Mill does not intend this at all. A curious theory of morals indeed. Mill also believed -- in any elitist theory this is crucial -- that a higher degree of "intellectual and moral excellence" is always found in relatively few individuals. The only role he allows any nonprofessional to play is in connection with deciding who should rule. An instrumental end is desired not for itself but as a means to another end. The theme he elaborates throughout his argument is that the common people are not competent to govern themselves; they should be ruled by "a specially trained and experienced Few. His political thought, like the Liberal creed itself, suffers from defects. We must recognize that in practice rulers often neglect their real interest in the pursuit of their apparent interest.

In England, where Liberal principles had been vested with the sanctity of law, the dominance of the middle class was in jeopardy.

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Considerations on Representative Government, by John Stuart Mill (chapter4)