And intelligence might quantitatively overshadow any

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and intelligence might quantitatively overshadow any hindrance to public and political virtue and intelligence, so on balance good despotism might satisfy test (1) for a good form of government. Mill is arguing that representative government is ideally best. The alternative is that some nonrepresentative, nondemocratic political institutions would be best. Call such institutions authoritarian. Mill assumes that authoritarian government must be despotic, must manage all public and private activities in the society. But authoritarianism could be nondespotic, or nontotalitarian in 20th century language. Authoritarianism could be liberal. Notice that in given circumstances, a democratic government might massively violate Mill’s Liberty Principle and also might pass oppressive laws that amount to tyranny of the majority. In given circumstances, authoritarian government might do better to protect a wide sphere of individual liberty, respect and enforce people’s moral rights (other than the putative right to a 3
Donnelle M. Carrington Philosophy 147 Charles Goodman Study Sheet for Midterm democratic say), and adhere to Mill’s Liberty Principle than would any feasible democratic political arrangements. Mill’s arguments against authoritarianism presuppose that the authoritarian regime pursues certain despotic policies and do not hold in the general case. Mill’s conclusion might still be right, but the argument looks to be flawed. A perhaps better argument is that any autocratic government that succeeds in educating and improving the people who are ruled will eventually produce people who demand representative institutions. Either the rulers acquiesce in this demand or society moves in a retrograde direction. Good despotism might exist for a time but eventually undermines itself in this way. Mill: “Evil for evil, a good despotism, in a country at all advanced in civilization, is more noxious than a bad one; for it is far more relaxing and enervating to the thoughts, feelings, and energies of the people.” Despotism weakens a people, much as hot baths are supposed to weaken the individual who indulges in them. But even when the people being governed are civilized, educated, they might be disposed to perpetrate great evil on each other if left free to do so, and any form of representative institutions would unleash the disposition. Hot bath style weakening of the mental faculties might be superior to a bloodbath. In chapter XVI, Mill notices this. He holds that a people fit for representative institutions should be united in culture and interests as national solidarity unites people. On this basis Mill opposes including more than one national community within a single state: One people, one state. Mill: “The ideally best form of government is that in which the sovereignty, or supreme controlling power in the last resort, is vested in the entire aggregate of the community; each citizen not only having a voice in the

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