Monday, May 22, 2006

Scruton on J.S. Mill

Roger Scruton argues that J.S. Mill, the Utilitarian, foreshadowed statist leftism, valuing a collectivist approach to society and happiness above individualism, and that Mill didn't understand that wisdom is rarer than rationality. It was Mill, we read, who first described the Conservative Party as "the stupider party".

Scruton (who has himself metamorphosed into a latter-day country squire) points out that the squires who surrounded Mill in Parliament may well have been intellectually inferior to Mill, but that they "recognised the limits of the human intellect" and were thus wiser than the liberal sage.

Scruton himself, we infer, is an example of that rare species, an intellectual who has kept hold of his common sense.

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