The Tyranny of the Minority Is Just as Dangerous as the Tyranny of the Majority
In a previous installment, I pointed out that in On Liberty, John Stuart Mill advocated for minority opinion to be specially “encouraged and countenanced,”1 and thus that Mill was not an absolute free market thinker where opinion is concerned. Mill suggested that minority opinion should not only to be tolerated but requires special encouragement in order to gain a fair hearing. Such special encouragement would amount to the subsidization of opinion, most likely by the state. Thus, Mill did not argue for a free and fair “marketplace of ideas.”
It should be noted here that “the marketplace of ideas” is not only an analogy, where commodities are to markets what ideas are to the public square. The public square is also market in its own right, and not only metaphorically associated with the market. The expression “the marketplace of ideas” somewhat obscures rather than clarifying the situation of opinion.
Further, I argued that Mill’s advocacy for special treatment of minority opinion does not solve the problem of “social tyranny,” which Mill suggested is “more formidable than many kinds of political oppression.”2 Rather, when minority opinion is foisted on the majority through special sanctions or subsidies, “social tyranny” is actually increased rather than diminished. To the exten
Article from Mises Wire