Libertarian philosopher John Stuart Mill died 150 years ago on the 7th May, 1873.
He knew that freedom of speech underpins democratic society because it involves both speaking and listening.
“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”
One of the reasons that the country of my birth, Australia, is now moving towards being a police state, is the Victoria Police, who routinely decide who is guilty and then seek evidence to prove that presumption of guilt without being open to evidence which suggests their suspect is innocent.
They did it to Cardinal George Pell. By
They are doing it to me.
Tomorrow police who assaulted me are putting me on trial. A police officer put his fingers inside the back of my underpants a few hundred metres from the Town Hall and Lord Mayor Sally Capp ignores it.
I will fight for my rights as best I can.
And for justice in the Pell case.
I have to.
As Mill wrote:
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse ……..
……. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free …….. “
God Bless Freedom
Geoff Fox, 7th May (American time), 2023, Down Under