Mill

“The Criterion of a Good Form of Government”          See below for PDF copy  ~20 pages
from Considerations on Representative Government by John Stuart Mill                                                                                 
Friday, November 10, 2017, Time: 9:30 - 11:30
Location: Northbrook Public Library, Civic Room

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873) was an English philosopher, political economist and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century", Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control.

Mill was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by his predecessor Jeremy Bentham, and contributed significantly to the theory of the scientific method. A member of the Liberal Party, he was also the first Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage.

In this chapter, Mill argues for representative government, the ideal form of government in his opinion. One of the more notable ideas Mill puts forth in the book is that the business of government representatives is not to make legislation. Instead Mill suggests that representative bodies such as parliaments and senates are best suited to be places of public debate on the various opinions held by the population and to act as watchdogs of the professionals who create and administer laws and policy. In his words:

“Their part is to indicate wants, to be an organ for popular demands, and a place of adverse discussion for all opinions relating to public matters, both great and small; and, along with this, to check by criticism, and eventually by withdrawing their support, those high public officers who really conduct the public business, or who appoint those by whom it is conducted.”

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Philip Zawa,
Oct 7, 2017, 12:09 PM
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