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J. S. Mill on Obamacare


One more thing on Andrew McCarthy’s NRO piece and its lede-line: “If Obamacare passes, Obamacare is forever.”

I made a few notes, then went into a philosophy seminar I lead for the boys at Chavvers – Chavagnes, a perfectly eccentric, old-fashioned English boarding school which is located conveniently in deepest France. Our topic lately has been John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty. I mentioned McCarthy’s premise and then, as we were finishing, came across this:

Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it 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.

One more argument for tempering with caution what Mill called “the tyranny of the prevailing opinion” and all that. Okay, now I’m done.


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