Monday, 3 May 2021

"Society ... practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression..."

“[W]hen society itself is the tyrant--society collectively, over the separate individuals who compose it--is means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which ti may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society ... practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”
          ~ John Stuart Mill, from On Liberty


  1. Related, from Somerset Maugham's novel 'On Human Bondage': "“You know, there are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action.
    In France you get freedom of action: you can do what you like and nobody bothers, but you must think like everybody else.
    In Germany you must do what everybody else does, but you may think as you choose.
    They’re both very good things. I personally prefer freedom of thought.
    But in England you get neither: you’re ground down by convention. You can’t think as you like and you can’t act as you like. That’s because it’s a democratic nation. I expect America’s worse.” [Hat tip Stephen Hicks]

  2. "Criticism is something you can avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing."
    ~ Aristotle

  3. "One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways."
    ~ Bertrand Russell, from his book 'The Conquest of Happiness'


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