"A State which dwarfs its men, in order that
they may be more docile instruments in its hands --
even for beneficial purposes -- will find that
with small men no great thing can really be accomplished."
by:
John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873) English philosopher and economist
Rating:
Categories:
 
Bookmark and Share  
Reader comments about this quote:
Government doesn't work. Certainly not for "ordinary Americans".
 -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
  •  
    Such is the tendency of centralized government and the policies of uniformity that follow. Thankfully, nothing can keep a good man down.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
  •  
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood      
    What I love about that quote is the implication that those who seek to keep other people down, while actually thinking of themselves as great, are actually small-minded themselves.
     -- Tom Osborne, Los Angeles, CA     
  • 1
  •  
    Such is the 'hope' of the current statist theocracy that now infests this nation.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 3
  •  
     -- G. Nafziger, Tehachapi, CA      
    Tom Osborne, good observation and I agree. It is also exactly why they always fail in the long run, they really are no greater than anyone else.
     -- Anon     
  • 1
  •  
    Tom, not only are they small minded, they are afraid. That's why they (the Obamunists) are going after your guns and ammunition. That's why they are spying on you. If someone else was trying to steal your money, your guns and your freedom and enslave your children...how would you react? (don't answer that, just think about it)
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 1
  •  
    Thankfully, unlike King George W who was a small man seeking to bring all down to his level, we now have the hope of reversing this trend and returning to a approach of meritocracy where the cream rises to the top rather than being skimmed off and surpressed.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US     
  •  
    A from Reston, good to see you, your're still lots of laughs (-; just disturbed and wrong, not haha ;-)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
  •  
    Great quote and small men cannot govern either, thank goodness we have had the occasionally large man enter the public arena on occasion. Need I mention Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, Rossevelt etcetera. I will leave Clinton and Obama for others to mention. We need small men out of government as well as out of private enterprize.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
  • 2
  •  
    With small men come small ideas, with small men come intolerance, with small men come weakness of character, with small me come anger, with small men come despotism, with small men come criticism, with small men come belief in myths, with small men come crowds, with small men come divorce with all things.
     -- RBESRQ     
  •  
    Now we even elect them to be President.
     -- warren, olathe     
  •  
    I find it interesting that even though there appears to be agreement about the quote, some agree that the 'small' man should be dwarfed by the state -- which is not what John Stuart Mill was trying to imply -- quite the opposite actually. Waffler and Reston obviously support the statist theocracy.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 4
  •  
    RBESRQ, you missed the point entirely. With respect to the 'state' WE are the small men, and that whenever the state tries to keep the individual down and ineffectual (i.e. 'small') we can not expect great things to come about. It is the individual that is enterprising and ingenius, not the 'state.' This describes Communism perfectly.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
  •  
    E Archer, agreed.
     -- Anon     
  •  
    Archer, I must respectfully disagree with your statement that 'WE' are all small men. You are only small from your deeds and words, and, of course from your own thoughts. States don't make you small though they try - it is the determination of love for all humanity that brings us above the smallness of such thoughts and actions. I also disagree with your assumption that the state has control over our destiny - it is precisely when the state does try 'to keep the individual down and ineffectual' that humans rise to the occasion and like the phoenix challenges authority. As Margaret Mead so eloquently expressed 'A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." It's that 'small' group who rise to the occasion that changes the world. Smallness is for small people. This perfectly describes America today and any government or state, be it communism, fascism, theocracy, democracy, or any other -cracy, that has lost the heart of the people. Archer, you really must think before you put words into that immortal realm - lets take your statement: On one hand you admit individuals are small "WE are the small men' and then you go on to say 'It is the individual that is enterprising and ingenious, not the 'state.' This describes Communism perfectly.' It is precisely when the state tries to keep us down and ineffectual that we rise to the occasion. There will always be that portion of society that remains for ever on the fence of mediocrity and who will change their position when threatened the State. You may not be Spartacus but there are many who are and are waiting to throw the spear. Your retort will probably remind us what you said: "With respect to the 'state' We are small men,...' It's precisely that respect that makes those so inclined, and by their deeds, small men. Locke, goes into great depth on these very points. Let's see some constructive criticism from this blog instead of always putting life down - let's see some sparks of enlightenment and hope.
     -- RBESRQ     
  •  
    P.S. When Locke concludes his Second Treatise he did not take into consideration the power of corporations and the power they wield over government and communications, if he had, this concluding statement would be revised.
     -- RBESRQ     
  •  
    RBE, I agree with you, but I was referring to the context of the quote. Mill is saying that when the state dwarfs over men, we become 'small' and debilitated by the statist oppression and thus less able to make a difference, to be ingenius, to find our own way. I also said in my first comment that "you can't keep a good man down" so I agree that sometimes adversity brings out the best in us -- BUT that is hardly a reason to support what Mike calls the 'statist theocracy'! ;-) And there are some things that cannot be cured by optimism -- you may as well advocate praying -- sometimes out of our desperation we finally ACT and rout out the 'devil' in our midst.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
  •  
    Archer, good response, thanks. I have battled, not so much with my own conscience, but with the conscience of mankind. Because in the end we are all connected and without an understanding of an intellect, that seems suicidal at times, humanity will become factional more and more - to a point we will end up as the tribes we came from. The disconnect even between those on this blog is just the tip of the iceberg.
     -- RBESRQ     
  •  
     -- A.WOODS, Gloucester      
    The State, as it grows, consumes liberty, innovation and inspiration leaving mediocrity in its wake.
     -- empty pockets, Mandeville     
  • 2
  •  
     -- Ronw13, Oregon      
    RBE, there is no such thing as the conscience of mankind.

    Just like there is no corporate good will. The collective consciousness of mankind is but the sum of all individual consciousness. The 'Self' is not the group even though, yes, we are all interconnected. YOUR conscience is your own.

    In a free republic you are considered to be personally responsible for acting in accordance with your own conscience. You may vote, serve on a jury, join military ranks, choose what crops to farm, choose what foods to eat. And what holds it altogether is the HONOR of the common man.

    Such a life of sovereignty requires integrity -- and compassion since we all falter from time to time. BUT to intentionally be deceptive, knowingly steal or oppress, are acts of war. To defend oneself is not only a right but a duty to one's family. When we join together by mutual agreement to protect and defend each other's liberty, lives, and property, we do so out of our right to defend ourselves individually.

    Such an agreement, voluntarily entered into, requires the conscientious judgement of its members to function. But none are given power that they do not already have, and none have given away any power in order to make this compact. What they have agreed to is a process of 'justice' designed to protect each other from each other. The purpose of the agreement to the rules is to prevent mob rule or military rule. We call this the 'law.'

    RBE, collectivist rhetoric promotes the removal of all boundaries -- until we are all One. Philosophically, that is fine, but politically, yikes! The distribution of power is absolutely necessary for liberty, not the centralization of power. We cannot all drink from one stream. Are diversity and multiculturalism merely means to one world government?

    This ultra-nationalism is fascism to the highest degree. And I suppose you know how all the world should now live in this borderless world? Holy F$%k! Just like the Russian Revolution, tear down the world -- mind you, half of the common people will be wiped out, the very folks you supposedly care about -- only to have a centralized military government end up in power. RBE, think of that globally, and you have your 'utopia.' Of course, you will be dead, but no matter, you will have served your purpose well. RBE, you may seriously need to take a look at the level of programming you are under.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  •  
     
    Rate this quote!
    How many stars?
    0
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5

     
    What do YOU think?
    Your name:
    Your town:
        CLICK JUST ONCE!

    More Quotations
    Get a Quote-A-Day! Free!
    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box.
    RSS Subscribe
    Quotes & Quotations - Send This Quote to a Friend

    © 1998-2018 Liberty-Tree.ca