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Mill, On Liberty

On certification in education:

“The examinations, however, in the higher branches of knowledge should, I conceive, be entirely voluntary. It would be giving too dangerous a power to governments, were they allowed to exclude any one from professions, even from the profession of teacher, for alleged deficiency of qualifications: and I think, with Wilhelm von Humboldt, that degrees, or other public certificates of scientific or professional acquirements, should be given to all who present themselves for examination, and stand the test; but that such certificates should confer no advantage over competitors, other than the weight which may be attached to their testimony by public opinion.”

I post this after hearing that one of my best economics students has been utterly shut out of the high-priesthood of the economics profession, and someone even closer to me, just as bright and capable, cannot even sniff a spot in a nursing program. What doth one do if one cannot even sit for the test?

Or try this:

if the employés of all these different enterprises were appointed and paid by the government, and looked to the government for every rise in life; not all the freedom of the press and popular constitution of the legislature would make this or any other country free otherwise than in name. And the evil would be greater, the more efficiently and scientifically the administrative machinery was constructed—the more skilful the arrangements for obtaining the best qualified hands and heads with which to work it.

And might this apply to North Africa?

In countries of more advanced civilization and of a more insurrectionary spirit, the public, accustomed to expect everything to be done for them by the State, or at least to do nothing for themselves without asking from the State not only leave to do it, but even how it is to be done, naturally hold the State responsible for all evil which befals them, and when the evil exceeds their amount of patience, they rise against the government and make what is called a revolution; whereupon somebody else, with or without legitimate authority from the nation, vaults into the seat, issues his orders to the bureaucracy, and everything goes on much as it did before; the bureaucracy being unchanged, and nobody else being capable of taking their place.

One Response to “Mill, On Liberty”

  1. chuck martel says:

    “The man of today, owning neither superior nor ancestors nor beliefs nor folkways, stands completely defenceless before the glittering prospect which is now held out to him, of a better state of things to be achieved, of a larger social welfare to be realized, by means of legislation, which, though it offend an outmoded law, is inspired thereto by todays better law!” Bertrand de Jouvenel, “On Power”.

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