It would perhaps be unkind to assign the nullity to Mill, despite his words in passages 10, 8, 9, 13 and maybe 11. It would perhaps be unkind since he does glance at the essential question in another passage — 3. What the passage says is that he gives some or other utilitarian answer to all ethical questions, including the question before us of what moral rights an individual possesses, what legal and customary rights he ought to have.
This will be a liberalism of fear (in Judith Shklar’s celebrated phrase) but it must also be a liberalism of hope. As in a double helix, fear of the human barbarism that can always return will be intertwined with hope for a human civilisation that we partly have, and of which we may yet build more. Like Neptune’s trident, a renewed liberalism will have three prongs. The first is the defence … Read More