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Quotes From John Stuart Mill

2015-07-15

I stumbled across another site today.  This one is called Wikiquotes, and it contains great quotations.  I was looking up the expression, “Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.” which was claimed to have come from John Stuart Mill.  Well, in fact, it did, and so did many other wonderful quotes, such as,

“Since the state must necessarily provide subsistence for the criminal poor while undergoing punishment, not to do the same for the poor who have not offended is to give a premium on crime.”

This comes from the page,  https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Stuart_Mill as do many other piquant statements.  This JS Mill guy must have been a genius.

Here is a quote that must have been written in relation to the Civil War as it was put down in 1862:

  • War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much 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.
  • “The Contest in America,” Fraser’s Magazine (February 1862); later published in Dissertations and Discussions (1868), vol.1 p. 26

Here’s one more, from a speech given in 1867, that is often paraphrased:

Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.

Finally, the quote I was looking for was actually stated in this way:

I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

It was spoken in Parliamentary debate in response to a Conservative MP in 1866.

 

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