The Rationalism and Romanticism of John Stuart Mill

Source: Quillette
by Laurie Wastell

“John Stuart Mill was, by his own lights, a liberal and a progressive. Human advancement is his cause, and the ‘despotism of custom’ his foe, one he inveighs against repeatedly in his most famous work, On Liberty. … today Mill is either attacked as a Faustian apologist for limitless autonomy or praised as a rationalist enlightenment visionary: though they differ on the merits of his vision, both liberals and anti-liberals view Mill as a progressive. However, it is not so easy to place Mill unequivocally in the progressive camp. Indeed, the venerated founder of classical liberalism often evinces a seemingly anti-modern cultural critique, which in our own times is characteristic of the dissident Right.” (06/21/22)