John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill


Liberty and Truth are Allied Values

truth requires liberty to flourish September 7th, 2021

Albert Einstein said, “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

I found John Stuart Mill’s ideas on the freedom-truth relationship very enlightening and interesting when re-reading his book, On Liberty. Frankly, I hadn’t thought much about that exact relationship even though I have studied liberty and truth to some degree over the years. In some sense, I knew that a closed society or a cult would not facilitate the search for truth – that much is obvious. But in America, for example, the idea that truth is only apprehensible under conditions of openness and freedom and individuality is worth sustained consideration. What follows is a summation of Mill’s ideas about this relationship, and a little commentary from myself and relevant luminaries.

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Fulfillment and Happiness Are Worthy Goals

fulfillment and happiness March 5th, 2018

According to half of the population, it’s all about happiness. Whatever gets you through the night, as it were. Football, nachos, sex, rest, hanging out by the pool – these are considered lower-level forms of happiness. The extremely influential 19th-century philosopher and more-or-less libertarian John Stuart Mill, however, noted that in this “utilitarian” pursuit of the greatest happiness by the greatest number, much is lost. He favored higher pleasures, and noted that it is better to be Socrates unsatisfied than a pig satisfied. American writer George Will put it this way: “Modern Americans travel light, with little philosophic baggage other than a fervent belief in the right to the pursuit of happiness.” We can do better, and go deeper; somewhere between pigs and philosophers lies the truth. In this blog, I will explore the fundamentals of finding fulfillment and happiness, considering them as worthy goals for a person who wishes to live life in the best possible way. Psychology and philosophy will assist me, as usual!

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Libertarian Quotes by Scholar David Boaz

libertarian February 6th, 2018

One modern expert on libertarian thought is Cato Institute scholar, David Boaz. I enjoyed reading his book The Libertarian Reader. Another interesting book seems to be Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom. He really knows the subject well, and for those who are interested in the strengths of the philosophy, he (and the myriad contributors to the compendium) lays it out clearly. I personally am not a libertarian per say, but I do see libertarianism as offering some “leavening” for my generally progressive outlook. Enjoy these David Boaz quotes: 

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Liberty: A Summary and Critique

liberty September 11th, 2017

Philosopher and economics expert Joanne Baldine, Ph.D. offers the following: “According to classical liberalism, the idea of liberty – as the word suggests – is preeminent. It’s the idea around which many people from different political persuasions still unite…. You will find both the ‘arch-conservative’ and the ‘extreme liberal’ agree on this point: that is, the importance of liberty. Still, the interpretations of liberty differ, depending on whom you ask.” She goes on to highlight “…the key liberalist ideas that issue from the people I consider to be the most important architects of liberalism: John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, and John Stuart Mill.” In this blog, I will share a few thoughts about each of these thinkers, and many others, as well. The goal is to see what this idea of liberty is all about. I start off slow and get to the heart of the matter. Anything that the two polarities of the political spectrum can agree upon is worth exploring!

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