“All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.”—John Stuart Mill, All Minus One: John Stuart Mill’s Ideas on Free Speech
“We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.” — John Stuart Mill
“Not the violent conflict between parts of the truth, but the quiet suppression of half of it, is the formidable evil; there is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides; it is when they attend only to one that errors harden into prejudices, and truth itself ceases to have the effect of truth, by being exaggerated into falsehood.” — John Stuart Mill
“Strange that they should imagine that they are not assuming infallibility, when they acknowledge that there should be free discussion on all subjects which can possibly be doubtful, but think that some particular principle or doctrine should be forbidden to be questioned because it is certain, that is, because they are certain that it is certain. To call any proposition certain, while there is anyone who would deny its certainty if permitted, but who is not permitted, is to assume that we ourselves, and those who agree with us, are the judges of certainty, and judges without hearing the other side.” — John Stuart Mill
“The whole strength and value, then, of human judgment, depends on the one property, that it can be set right when it is wrong; reliance can be placed on it only when the means of setting it right are kept constantly at hand.” — John Stuart Mill
“Yet it is as evident in itself, as any amount of argument can make it, that ages are no more infallible than individuals; every age having held many opinions which subsequent ages have deemed not only false but absurd; and it is as certain that many opinions, now general, will be rejected by future ages, as it is that many, once general, are rejected by the present.” — John Stuart Mill
“For while everyone well knows himself [herself] to be fallible, few think it necessary to take any precautions against their own fallibility, or admit the supposition that any opinion of which they feel very certain may be one of the examples of the error to which they acknowledge themselves to be liable.” — John Stuart Mill
“… the present age … has been described as ‘destitute of faith, but terrified of skepticism…'” — John Stuart Mill
Two days before the election, my daughter asked me who would win. I told her I had a premonition. Biden would win, then Trump would do a recount and win, then Biden would do a recount and win, and that would be the final decision. So far we’re on track. I don’t much care.
In my humble and yet infallible opinion, democracy in the US is a thing of the past. We seem to have an unelected shadow government that probably overlaps with the anonymous private stockholders of the FED. These people make the big decisions and the big mistakes, as best I can tell.
So I don’t let myself waste emotions and time on politics.
But freedom of speech is another matter, an entirely greater issue than the question of whose aged puppet lives in the White House for a few years.
The gatekeepers of science journals and the censors of the internet probably do more harm to humanity and the Earth than our shadow government ever could. They do it by silencing and marginalizing the outliers and politically incorrect voices of society, gagging those who disagree with the latest cultural dogmas and the so-called settled science, a term reflecting convenient ignorance of the history of science.
If only these powerful unelected leaders of ours would read and embrace John Stuart Mill’s love notes to them.
And where the devil is Monty Python when we need ’em, anyway?
“John Steward Mill
Of his own free will
On half a pint of shandy
Got particularly ill.”
Socrates showed us that to have a worthy opinion, you need to engage in debate with those of opposite opinion. That would mean listening to those who trigger you, those who upset and disgust you, and those who would ban and outlaw your worldview for the “greater good” of their own. Long ago, the people in charge understood this…
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
Today, more than ever, having a reliable opinion means listening to those whom you instantly recognize as liars. You know they’re lying because their so-called facts contradict the true facts delivered to you by those you trust.
But we all trust our sources mainly because they agree with our own opinions. Might as well admit it. This human tendency is never wise. Scientific breakthroughs, for example, struggle long uphill battles against the reigning dogma of the day and its intrenched adherents whose grant money depends on status quo research.
Both sides of every question must be openly spoken and debated, but the fact is, in today’s PC-controlled world, discussing controversial issues has become nearly impossible. You’re often not allowed to speak. For instance…
If you doubt CO2 is the major cause of climate change,
if you think that the currently lower COVID-19 death rates despite rising infection rates cast doubt on the wisdom of a renewed lockdown,
if you doubt that the complexity of our genetic code could be the sole product of random mutation, genetic drift, and natural selection in a mere 13.8 billion years,
if you doubt that advanced human technology came about for the first time on Earth in the last 12,000 years, starting with about 300,000 years of hunters, gatherers and drooling troglodytes,
if you doubt the wisdom of preaching depressing, nihilistic “scientific” materialism to children as if it were anything more than an untestable assumption of religion-phobes,
if you think the COVID-19 virus might have originated in a research laboratory,
or if you have an opinion about UFOs that differs from the mainstream media’s casual reports, then…
Well-intentioned gatekeepers and the shadowy power heads will silence you, cancel your account, lie about you, discredit you, or at least keep your voice confined to an AI info bubble limited to people who already agree with your ridiculous ideas.
And many of your neighbors will thank the control freaks for their disservice to truth and human awakening.
So this is my plea for open-minded discussion and the questioning of every “indisputable truth” however painful it is to question. We must all place our sacred cows under the spotlight of sincere discussion.
Love through listening,
Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD
Please send this to a Monty Python fan or to a young person who has no mnemonic for Western philosophers.