or a report with lots-o-commas
Now, it is with great pleasure to take a moment, or two, of your time to share with you the central weapon that my brilliant, thoughtful, long-since-dead-by-nearly-over-one-hundred-and-fifty-years, friend, John Stuart Mill, English Victorian, political philosopher, and the G-daddy of liberalism.
As you might have noticed, or will notice, or could notice if you so chose to notice, that I am using an inordinate, some might say just the right amount, of commas in every sentence that I write. This is, of course, not a mistake on your writer’s part. No, absolutely not. And as you may have experienced while reading, that is if you have read one of the most important works on human liberties since, maybe, the US constitution, strike that, The Bill of Rights, the incredibly brilliant work On Liberty that John Stuart Mill, the author whom I call my friend, is written in an intensively nuanced way. That is, if you might have guessed, Mill wrote in such a way as to dance around his desired subjects so artfully and to such a degree that most readers come out a little cross-eyed, and sore. So bear with me, these next sections were a delight to dance through as well, and I take full liberty to express the awesome power that is…
The Trident of Liberty
We all have some understanding of what liberty means to us, and given the current political climate, many would say they demand justice for the liberties so wretchedly stolen from them. With that said, it is important to note that the topics of personal liberty have been argued for centuries by some of the greatest minds, and the dumbest, and to such a degree that we can agree that there are three fundamental features to liberty.
The first of the personal liberties that you have, regardless of what The Party might say, there is none that can stop you from thinking what it is that you think. And if fact, it is these thoughts that you have inside that 3 & 1/3 pound brain of yours, that are entirely yours and you are at liberty inside that brain to think what ever you want. You, the very accountable, the very responsible, the individual that you are, you own whatever goes on inside of that brain to such an extent that there is no way for any governing body to stop you from that. As such, you are free inside your mind, regardless of whether you are living in fantasy land or in some semblance of reality, you are free to have whatever opinions that you have.
That actually brings us to the next liberty that Mill, my good friend John Stuart Mill, has to say about opinions, which is that none of us are the absolute authority on the universe, and we are perfectly fallible. We are unable to be infallible, and to be infallible is simply absurd a notion, albeit many act as if they are the finality of truth in all things big and small. Well, again, as we have said before, each are allowed to have whatever opinion they have, and they are free to express those opinions that they have, even if those opinions are absolutely stupid, inane, or insane-in-the-membrane. Now, the reason it is such that you are free to express the opinions that you have in your mind is that it is one of the ways in which you, or anyone for that matter, can actually encounter your opinions in a palatable, or even palpable, way. And as such, the only way that you can actually change your opinion, or change your thoughts on a matter, is to encounter the expressed opinions, either your own or those of others, yes, even if they are stupid. You wouldn’t know they were stupid if they never expressed their opinions, would you? In conjunction with this, there is your freedom to read and write whatever you would like as the written word is, as it so happens to be, a brilliant means of expressing and engaging with opinions, even if they be your own.
Now this brings us to, probably, the most important idea that we can examine from my very, very dead friend, John Stuart Mill. You have the absolute freedom to associate with whomsoever you choose, and likewise, others have the freedom to associate with you if they so choose. And there seems to be no better a time than now, in a time where the world has become more connected than ever before, to bring again to light the brilliantly expressed opinion of my good buddy, JSM, that each of you must, as your 3 & 1/3 pound brain demands of you, exercise your ability to come into contact with others’ opinions so that you might form a more perfect opinion of yourself and of the world around you. And as immense a challenge as it is to come into contact with the outside world, what with the power of the internet, your liberty of thought requires you to come into contact with people whom you disagree, or agree, with so that you may form a more perfect opinion.
While a simple blog post that explores the basic liberties brought to light by John Stuart Mill will never do justice to him for the nuance and subtlety that is expressed in such a seminal work about the human condition, even if it is almost two-hundred years old, let us know in the comments below if you have read, or not read, the absolutely wonderful, and boring, examination on human liberties, and the state’s role in governing. Or don’t leave any comments and we won’t be mad, or we might. You won’t really know until we tell you in a long winded opinion piece about how you really should leave more comments or you aren’t expressing your liberty to fullest.
Okay, so I am stretching it just a little bit here, aren’t I?