Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Liberals Can Lie

While reading a book about liberal philosophy and history, I came across this short passage where the authors explain John Stuart Mill's justification for "misdirection" or lying.

It seems that such practices are allowed when used to enlighten unenlightened Christians...

Here is the quote:

"Veracity was not either Mill’s main goal in retelling history. Indeed, John Stuart Mill followed his father in believing that, in striving to move mankind forward to a positivist, rationalist approach to life, philosophers must often teach through misdirection. The philosopher, in Mill’s view, has a duty to move mankind out of the shadows of religious ignorance and into the sunlight of pure reason. This goal made it necessary to eradicate religion, if necessary through falsehoods, in order to free individuals from the last vestige of the European old regime." Stephen M. Klugewicz and Lenore T. Ealy, History, on Proper Principles, Essays in Honor of Forrest McDonnald, ISI Books, Wilmington, Del., 2010, p. 254.

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