New PDF release: J.S. Mill's Political Thought: A Bicentennial Reassessment

By Nadia Urbinati, Alex Zakaras

Whereas John Stuart Mill's writing continues to be a touchstone for debates over liberty and liberalism, many different dimensions of his political philosophy are usually missed. but Mill's relevance has merely grown because the finish of the chilly conflict, with the resurgence of nationalism, the emergence of latest varieties of imperial strength, and a renewed curiosity in state-building and the structure of democracy. This publication illustrates the breadth and intensity of Mill's political writings. It bargains a serious reassessment of Mill's political philosophy in gentle of contemporary worldwide improvement and political transformation.

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CW XXI: 365) So his evidence came to an end and the Commissioners dismissed him, most of them puzzled, many no doubt convinced (in the words that his contemporary James Fitzjames Stephen used to condemn Mill’s vacillation on the subject of brothels) that “there is a kind of ingenuity which carries its own refutation on its face” (Stephen 1993, 84). Legislative Purpose and the Distribution of Liberty Can we make any sense of Mill’s position? He did not rule out the possibility that the Contagious Diseases Acts might protect soldiers and sailors and also other clients and their innocent spouses from infection.

And that concern was a distributive concern. We are not required to say, therefore, that John Stuart Mill’s intervention in the debate about the Contagious Diseases Acts was inconsistent with his views expressed in On Liberty or that he must have changed his mind between 1859 and 1871. But we have not had to resort to a crude originalist rewriting of Mill to reach this conclusion. Instead we have taken the opportunity afforded by what we know of his Contagious Diseases intervention to emphasize something that we should have been emphasizing all along.

Mill used an analogy with state interference to correct the operation of market processes: “Relieving people who are in danger of starvation is liable to the same objection. . [A]ll relief . . to the indigences or distresses of our fellow creatures are liable to it, since the people themselves are often very much to blame for bringing themselves into a position in which they require relief, and no doubt the relief does in some not inconsiderable degree diminish the prudential motives for abstaining.

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