The devotion to literary—or to speak more generally—intellectual power, that prevails in this country, is, in fact, one of the remarkable traits in the national character, and is much more deep and fervent,—whatever our author may think of it,—than that which is paid to wealth. Mere wealth commands in this country,—as it must, and when tolerably well administered, ought to command every where,—consideration and respect, but creates no feeling of interest in its owner. Intellectual eminence, especially when accompanied by high moral qualities, seems to operate like a charm upon the hearts of the whole community. This effect is much more perceptible here than in Europe, where the intellectual men are overshadowed by an hereditary privileged class, who regard them every where as inferior, and in some countries refuse to associate with them at all. The highest professional or literary distinction gives no admission to most of the courts of Europe, and only on a very unequal footing to the fashionable circles. A lawyer or a clergyman of talent is occasionally allowed a seat at the foot of a nobleman’s table, but to aspire to the hand of his daughter would be the height of presumption. At the close of a long life of labour he takes his seat, too late to receive any great satisfaction from his new position, in the House of Lords, as Chancellor, Chief-Justice, or Bishop. Through the whole active period of his life he has moved, as a matter of course, in a secondary sphere. With us, on the contrary, great wealth, the only accidental circumstance that confers distinction, is commonly the result of a life of labour. The intellectual men assume at once, and maintain through life, a commanding position among their contemporaries,—give the tone in the first social circles,—and, at the maturity of their powers and influence, receive from their fellow-citizens demonstrations of attachment and respect, which have rarely, if ever, been shown before to the eminent men of any other country. The Presidentships and the Governorships, the places in the cabinet, and on the bench of justice, in Congress and in the State Legislatures,—the commissions in the Army and Navy,—the foreign embassies,—elsewhere the monopoly of a few privileged families,—are here the rewards of intellectual preeminence. Lord Brougham, though certainly in every way one of the most illustrious and truly deserving public characters that have appeared in England in modern times, has never received from his countrymen any proof of approbation half so flattering, as the sort of civic triumph with which Mr. Clay and Mr. Webster were lately welcomed on their respective visits to the East and the West Mr. Irving, since his late return from Europe, has been the object of more attention of a public kind, than was shown through the whole course of his life to Sir Walter Scott, undoubtedly the most popular British writer of the last century.
The characteristic of provincialism, in society and literature, is imitation: provincials dare not be themselves; they dare do nothing for which they have not, or think they have not, a warrant from the metropolis. In regard to society, this remark is too hacknied to need illustration. It is equally true in respect to literature. In the one, as in the other, the provinces take their tone from the capital. It rarely happens that a book has any success in the provinces, unless a reputation acquired in the capital has preceded its arrival. But, in regard to literature, Boston and New York are as much provincial cities as Norwich or Liverpool, and much more so than Edinburgh (which indeed is a kind of literary and social metropolis in itself, and partakes but partially of the provincial character). There been a Franklin, and there has been a Burns: there will always be persons of extraordinary genius, or extraordinary energy, capable of making their way against one kind of obstacle as against another. But, of the illustrious men of letters in France and England, though a majority have been provincials by birth, nearly all have spent their best years in the capital, and their works have been written in and for London and Paris. The courage which has made them dare trust to their own inspirations, either in thought or in language, as well as the modesty which has saved them from (what stops the progress of most aspirants in a very early stage) the misfortune of being too easily pleased with their own performances—have been learned in the literary metropolis of the nation, and in contact with the direct influence of its leading minds.
Countries separated by half the globe do not present the natural conditions for being under one government, or even members of one federation. If they had sufficiently the same interests, they have not, and never can have, a sufficient habit of taking counsel together. They are not part of the same public: they do not discuss and deliberate in the same arena, but apart, and have only a most imperfect knowledge of what passes in the minds of one another. They neither know each other’s objects, nor have confidence in each other’s principles of conduct.
Mill was confident that Britain had conferred on India solid benefits, including greater peace, order, and unity under law than the country had ever enjoyed before and than any native despot seemed able to ensure. It had introduced the vitalizing influence of highly trained and competent administrators who furthered social progress and prepared for the time, however remote, when India would rule itself. Although Mill accepted the superiority of British culture, he denied that cultural differences were due to racial differences. A variety of influences, such as education, state enactments, and special social and historical circumstances were more important than race. Nowhere is he more explicit on this subject than in his “Of all vulgar modes of escaping from the consideration of the effect of social and moral influences on the human mind, the most vulgar is that of attributing the diversities of conduct and character to inherent natural differences.” Donald Winch reminds us that Mill shared this view with other members of the liberal and classical school of political economy, who derived it from eighteenth-century thinkers. They assumed that human nature was the same wherever found and that it could always be elevated in the scale of civilization by effective government and assiduous education. They also assumed that it was Britain’s inescapable obligation to accomplish this goal in India.
223. . When it is manifested as the total gift of two persons in their complementarities, love cannot be reduced to emotions or feelings, much less to mere sexual expression. In a society that tends more and more to relativize and trivialize the very experience of love and sexuality, exalting its fleeting aspects and obscuring its fundamental values, it is more urgent than ever to proclaim and bear witness thatof conjugal love and sexuality exist where there is a full and total gift of persons, with the characteristics of and . This truth, a source of joy, hope and life, remains impenetrable and unattainable as long as people close themselves off in relativism and scepticism.
Certain it is, that there scarcely ever was a period when logic was so little studied, systematically, and in a scientific manner, as of late years; while, perhaps, no generation ever had less to plead in extenuation of neglecting it. For if, in order to reason well, it were only necessary to be destitute of every spark of fancy and poetic imagination, the world of letters and thought might boast, just now, of containing few besides good reasoners; people to whom, one would imagine, that logic must be all in all, if we did not, to our astonishment, find that they despise it. But the most prosaic matter-of-fact person in the world must not flatter himself that he is able to reason because he is fit for nothing else. Reasoning, like all other mental excellencies, comes by appropriate culture: not by exterminating the opposite good quality, the other half of a perfect character. Perhaps the mere reasoners, with whom the world abounds, would be considerably less numerous, if men really took the pains to learn to reason. It is a sign of a weak judgment, as of a weak virtue, to take to flight at the approach of every thing which can, by any remote possibility, lead it astray. Men who, for want of cultivation, have the intellects of dwarfs, are of course the slaves of their imagination, if they have any, as they are the slaves of their sensations, if they have not; and it is partly, perhaps, because the systematic culture of the thinking faculty is in little repute, that imagination also is in such bad odour; there being no solidity and vigour of intellect to resist it where it tends to mislead. The sublimest of English poets composed an elementary book of logic for the schools; but our puny rhymsters think logic, forsooth, too dry for them; and our logicians, from that and other causes, very commonly say with M. Casimir Perier,
In 1861 his praise of Durham’s Report remained confident and forcible. It began, he wrote, “A new era in the colonial policy of nations” and remained an imperishable memorial to its author’s courage, patriotism, and liberality, as well as to the intellect and sagacity of his associates Wakefield and Buller (563). Such a generous assessment was far from acceptable to all the contemporary Radicals, Roebuck in particular was forthright in criticizing Durham, especially for his contemptuous attitude to the French Canadians and their nationality. Although Mill praised Durham’s Report for advocating the general principle of colonial autonomy, he nowhere subjects it to a detailed and public analysis or meets the legitimate criticisms lodged against it at the time, especially those directed against the apparent impracticability of the formal terms for colonial autonomy.
This gives a correct indication of the scope and purpose of the book. It is rightly termed “The Rationale of Political Representation,” not “The Rationale of Government.” It attempts an outline of a part only of the philosophy of government, not the whole. The philosophy of government, a most extensive and complicated science, would comprise a complete view of the influences of political institutions; not only their direct, but what are in general so little attended to, their indirect and remote influences: how they affect the national character, and all the social relations of a people; and reciprocally, how the state of society, and of the human mind, aids, counteracts, or modifies the effects of a form of government, and promotes or impairs its stability. Such is not the design of this work; and, considered in this comprehensive sense, the science itself is in its infancy. But the advantages of a representative government, and the principles on which it must be constructed in order to realise those advantages, form a branch of the subject, the theory of which, so far as one branch can be considered separately from the rest, may be regarded as nearly perfect; and to the exposition of this, the work before us is dedicated.
Of this fundamental truth an acute sense is manifested by our author. He rests the necessity of a popular government upon one primary axiom: “That men will, in the majority of cases, prefer their own interest to that of others, when the two are placed in competition.” (P. 68.) Whoever denies this, denies the principle on which, it is most certain, he himself habitually acts, when the interest at stake happens to be his own. It is the principle which all persons, when at liberty to follow their inclinations, uniformly observe in the guardianship of their own property. They do not appoint an agent, with liberty to do as he pleases, and without reserving the power of instantaneous dismissal. If they did, they would expect that the obligations of his trust would be disregarded, when in competition either with the interest of his pocket or with that of his ease.
311. One of the most significant characteristics of the new organization of work is the physical fragmentation of the cycle of production, promoted in order to obtain greater efficiency and greater profits. In this perspective, the traditional space-time coordinates within which the cycle of production formerly took place undergoes an unprecedented transformation that determines a change in the structure of work itself. All of this has significant consequences for the life of individuals and communities subjected to radical changes both on the level of material conditions and of culture and values. On the worldwide and local levels, this phenomenon presently involves millions of people, independently of their profession, social standing or cultural preparation. The reorganization of time, its standardization and the changes currently underway in the use of space — comparable in extent to the first Industrial Revolution insofar as they involve every sector of production, on every continent, independent of their level of development — are therefore to be considered a crucial challenge, also at the level of ethics and culture, in the area of defining a renewed system for the defence of work.