Essays | Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire

But who is there among the political party calling themselves Conservatives, that professes to have any such object in view? to employ the interval of respite which might hope to gain by withstanding democracy, in qualifying the people to wield the democracy more wisely when it comes? not far rather resist any such endeavour, on the principle that knowledge is power, and that its further diffusion would make the dreaded evil come sooner? that the character of the higher classes needs renovating, to qualify them for a more arduous task and a keener strife than has yet fallen to their lot? Is not the character of a Tory lord or country gentleman, or a Church of England parson, perfectly satisfactory to them? Is not the existing constitution of the two Universities—those bodies whose especial duty it was to counteract the debilitating influence of the circumstances of the age upon individual character, and to send forth into society a succession of minds, not the creatures of their age, but capable of being its improvers and regenerators—the Universities, by whom this their especial duty has been basely neglected, until, as is usual with neglected duties, the very consciousness of it as a duty has faded from their remembrance,—is not, we say, the existing constitution and the whole existing system of these Universities, down to the smallest of their abuses, the exclusion of Dissenters, a thing for which every Tory, though he may not, as he pretends, die in the last ditch, will at least vote in the last division? The Church, professedly the other great instrument of national culture, long since perverted (we speak of rules, not exceptions) into obedience to established maxims and constituted authorities—what Tory has a scheme in view for any changes in this body, but such as may pacify assailants, and make the institution wear a less disgusting appearance to the eye? What political Tory will not resist to the very last moment any alteration in that Church, which prevent its livings from being the provision for a family, its dignities the reward of political or of private services? The Tories, those at least connected with parliament or office, do not aim at having good institutions, or even at preserving the present ones: their object is to profit by them while they exist.

How politeness became a tool of radical democratic ..

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There are, we believe, few real thinkers, of whatever party, who have not reflected with some anxiety upon the views which have become current of late, respecting the irresistible tendency of modern society towards democracy. The sure, and now no longer slow, advance, by which the classes hitherto in the ascendant are merging into the common mass, and all other forces giving way before the power of mere numbers, is well calculated to inspire uneasiness, even in those to whom democracy presents nothing alarming. It is not the uncontrolled ascendancy of popular power, but of any power, which is formidable. There is no one power in society, or capable of being constituted in it, of which the influences do not become mischievous as soon as it reigns uncontrolled—as soon as it becomes exempted from any necessity of being in the right, by being able to make its mere will prevail, without the condition of a previous struggle. To render its ascendancy safe, it must be fitted with correctives and counteractives, possessing the qualities opposite to its characteristic defects. Now, the defects to which the government of numbers, whether in the pure American or in the mixed English form, is most liable, are precisely those of a public, as compared with an administration. Want of appreciation of distant objects and remote consequences; where an object is desired, want both of an adequate sense of practical difficulties, and of the sagacity necessary for eluding them; disregard of traditions, and of maxims sanctioned by experience; an undervaluing of the importance of fixed rules, when immediate purposes require a departure from them—these are among the acknowledged dangers of popular government: and there is the still greater, though less recognised, danger, of being ruled by a spirit of suspicious and intolerant mediocrity. Taking these things into consideration, and also the progressive decline of the existing checks and counterpoises, and the little probability there is that the influence of mere wealth, still less of birth, will be sufficient hereafter to restrain the tendencies of the growing power by mere passive resistance; we do not think that a nation whose historical give it any choice, could select a fitter basis upon which to ground the counterbalancing power in the State, than the principle of the French Upper House. The defects of are, in substance, those of unskilled politicians. The mode of raising a power most competent to their correction, would be an organization and combination of the skilled. History affords the example of a government carried on for centuries with the greatest consistency of purpose, and the highest skill and talent, ever realized in public affairs; and it was constituted on this very principle. The Roman Senate was a Senate for life, composed of all who had filled high offices in the State, and were not disqualified by a public note of disgrace. The faults of the Roman policy were in its ends; which, however, were those of all the of the ancient world. Its choice of means was consummate. This government, and others distantly approaching to it, have given to aristocracy all the credit which it has obtained for constancy and wisdom. A Senate of some such description, composed of persons no longer young, and whose reputation is already gained, will necessarily lean to the Conservative side, but not with the blind, merely instinctive spirit of conservatism, generated by mere wealth or social importance unearned by previous labour. Such a body would secure a due hearing and a reasonable regard for precedent and established rule. It would disarm jealousy, by its freedom from any class interest, and while it never could become the really predominant power in the State, still, since its position would be the consequence of recognised merit and actual services to the public, it would have as much personal influence, and excite as little hostility, as is compatible with resisting in any degree the tendencies of the really strongest power.

Essays and Politics – ANTHOLOGY

We shall not enter into the considerations by which the author attempts to impress upon the Peers this elevated view of their function in the commonwealth. On a new body, starting fresh as a senate, those considerations might have influence. But the senate of France is not a new body. It set out on the discredited foundation of the old hereditary chamber: and its change of character only takes place gradually, as the members die off. To redeem a lost position is more difficult than to create a new one. The new members, joining a body of no weight, become accustomed to political insignificance; they have mostly passed the age of enterprise, and the Peerage is considered little else than an honourable retirement for the invalids of the public service. M. Duveyrier’s suggestion has made some impression upon the public, it has gained him the public ear, and launched his doctrines into discussion; but we do not find that the conduct of the Peers has been at all affected by it. Energy is precisely that quality which, if men have it not of themselves, cannot be breathed into them by other people’s advice and exhortations. There are involved, however, in this speculation, some ideas of a more general character; not unworthy of the attention of those who concern themselves about the social changes which the future must produce.

This has scared many professionals from contesting elections and has increasingly allowed charlatans to dominate the political arena.
John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XVIII - Essays on Politics and Society Part I (On Liberty) [1977]

Confero essays on education philosophy and politics

it is to be hoped, is gone by, when any defence would be necessary of the “liberty of the press” as one of the securities against corrupt or tyrannical government. No argument, we may suppose, can now be needed, against permitting a legislature or an executive, not identified in interest with the people, to prescribe opinions to them, and determine what doctrines or what arguments they shall be allowed to hear. This aspect of the question, besides, has been so often and so triumphantly enforced by preceding writers, that it needs not be specially insisted on in this place. Though the law of England, on the subject of the press, is as servile to this day as it was in the time of the Tudors, there is little danger of its being actually put in force against political discussion, except during some temporary panic, when fear of insurrection drives ministers and judges from their propriety; and, speaking generally, it is not, in constitutional countries, to be apprehended, that the government, whether completely responsible to the people or not, will often attempt to control the expression of opinion, except when in doing so it makes itself the organ of the general intolerance of the public. Let us suppose, therefore, that the government is entirely at one with the people, and never thinks of exerting any power of coercion unless in agreement with what it conceives to be their voice. But I deny the right of the people to exercise such coercion, either by themselves or by their government. The power itself is illegitimate. The best government has no more title to it than the worst. It is as noxious, or more noxious, when exerted in accordance with public opinion, than when in opposition to it. If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

The process flow of women into politics thoroughly shake the stereotype: the policy - for men, family, children - for women.

Public Administration and Politics - Sample Essays

Mill makes two far-reaching qualifications to his principle that the boundaries of state and nation should coincide. First, circumstances may sometimes render it difficult or impossible to implement: for example, in parts of Europe, notably the Austrian Empire, nationalities were so intricately intermingled as to make separate national states impracticable. In such cases the people affected must make a virtue of necessity and tolerantly accept life together under regimes of equal rights and equal laws. Second, it is often socially advantageous for a small nationality, rather than pursuing political independence, to merge in a larger one. He thinks it preferable for a Breton or Basque to become a part of the richly-endowed French nation than “to sulk on his own rocks, the half-savage relic of past times, revolving in his own little mental orbit, without participation or interest in the general movement of the world” (549). He believes that this also applies to the Welshman and the Scottish Highlander. Whatever his sympathy for such small nations, he is confident that their members would reap cultural benefits from close association with the larger nation, and in return confer benefits. In this type of situation it is essential for the weaker to receive not only equal justice but equal consideration, and thus help to blend qualities inherent in the different nationalities to the advantage of mankind.

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We put it to those who call themselves Conservatives, whether, when the power in society is passing into the hands of the masses, they really think it possible to prevent the masses from making that power predominant as well in the government as elsewhere? The triumph of democracy, or, in other words, of the government of public opinion, does not depend upon the opinion of any individual or set of individuals that it ought to triumph, but upon the natural laws of the progress of wealth, upon the diffusion of reading, and the increase of the facilities of human intercourse. If Lord Kenyon or the Duke of Newcastle could stop these, they might accomplish something. There is no danger of the prevalence of democracy in Syria or Timbuctoo. But he must be a poor politician who does not know, that whatever is the growing power in society will force its way into the government, by fair means or foul. The distribution of constitutional power cannot long continue very different from that of real power, without a convulsion. Nor, if the institutions which impede the progress of democracy could be by any miracle preserved, could even they do more than render that progress a little slower. Were the Constitution of Great Britain to remain henceforth unaltered, we are not the less under the dominion, becoming every day more irresistible, of public opinion.