Thursday, March 22, 2007

3 John Stuart Mill quotes Morocco should consider

I'm reading J.S. Mill's On Liberty for class, and I'm struck by how appropriate much of what he wrote can be applied to the Western Sahara, especially in regards to censorship. If only Morocco paid more attention to J.S. Mill and less to its internet-monitoring technology, maybe ARSO wouldn't be blocked in Dakhla.

1. "If any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is assume our own infallibility." While I'm sure some people would have no problem attributing infallibility to the Moroccan government, for those of us who do, Mill is right--by suppressing different opinions in the Western Sahara and online, Morocco is only giving them more credibility.

2. "Many opinions now general will be rejected by future ages, as it is that many, once general, are rejected by the present." The Sahrawi cause might seem hopeless sometimes, and a majority of Moroccans may think of Western Sahara as the southern provinces. But circumstances and ideas change with time.

3. "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing than one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." This is my favorite, and I think most relevant to the situation in the occupied territory. Witness Moroccan security forces vs. Hamdi Lembarki, Aminatou Haidar, Ali Salem Tamek, Mohammed Daddach, or countless others.


  1. J.S. Mill's position on self-determination was shady as anything. Check out his disingenuously titled "A few words on non-intervention" (pdf here), a thinly-veiled paen to the British Empire.

  2. Ah, you caught me. When I wrote that post I forgot about his fondness for saying everyone should have free choice, except children, and EXCEPT the minor races. JS Mill!