John Stuart MillJohn Stuart Mill, (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist

John Stuart Mill Quote

“If all mankind minus one were of one opinion and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that person that he, if he had the power, would be in silencing mankind… If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

John Stuart MillJohn Stuart Mill
~ John Stuart Mill

On Liberty, 1859

Ratings and Comments

Logan, Memphis, TN

Ah, the great case against absolute majority rule systems and absolute dictatorial regimes.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

In this quote the majority still rules even if wrong, but they have the opportunity to change, it does not say that they have to take the opportunity. Nor does it say that the one minority opinion, though it be correct, has the right to rule. For have we not heard it said, "I would rather be right than President." This is the case for patience in such a understand the benefits of majority rule and the need to muddle through even when it is in error.

  • Reply
RobertSRQ    8/19/08

In showing another the truth you must always remember to be humble and speak quietly. Often those who lie do so for they are week and need help from those who speak the truth.

Mike, Norwalk


Ken, Allyn, WA

It's only the dishonest who are on the losing side (although they be a majority) that try to silence dissent. How do you "win" an argument if you're on the losing side? Call your opponent Hitler and quickly walk away.

E Archer, NYC

The majority rarely possess knowledge of the truth. Another reason might does not make right, no matter how many fools have been enlisted to enforce their own deception.

Ronw13, Oregon

Truth aletheia, is polarizing, concerning sound doctrines of our Liberty and Freedom. Aletheuo,to be true, in doctrine and profession, to deal faithfully or truly with anyone, But speaking the truth in love, am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth ? Truths collision with error exposes corruption polarizing the nation today. WWG1WGA to MAGA to KAG


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