On Compromise eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 203 pages of information about On Compromise.
  The saying that small reforms may be the worst enemies of great ones
  In what sense true
  Illustration in the Elementary Education Act
  Wisdom of social patience
  The considerations which apply to political practice do not apply to
    our own lives
  Nor to the publication of social opinions
  The amount of conscience in a community
  Evil of attenuating this element
  Historic illustration
  New side of the discussion
  Is earnestness of conviction fatal to concession of liberty to others? 
  Two propositions at the base of an affirmative answer
  Earnestness of conviction consistent with sense of liability to error
  Belief in one’s own infallibility does not necessarily lead to
  The contrary notion due to juristic analogies in social discussion
  Connection between the doctrine of liberty and social evolution
  The timid compromisers superfluous apprehension
  Material limits to the effect of moral speculation
  Illustration from the history of Slavery
  Illustration from French history
  Practical influence of a faith in the self-protecting quality of a

  Note to page 242.

  The Doctrine of Liberty




The design of the following essay is to consider, in a short and direct way, some of the limits that are set by sound reason to the practice of the various arts of accommodation, economy, management, conformity, or compromise.  The right of thinking freely and acting independently, of using our minds without excessive awe of authority, and shaping our lives without unquestioning obedience to custom, is now a finally accepted principle in some sense or other with every school of thought that has the smallest chance of commanding the future.  Under what circumstances does the exercise and vindication of the right, thus conceded in theory, become a positive duty in practice?  If the majority are bound to tolerate dissent from the ruling opinions and beliefs, under what conditions and within what limitations is the dissentient imperatively bound to avail himself of this toleration?  How far, and in what way, ought respect either for immediate practical convenience, or for current prejudices, to weigh against respect for truth?  For how much is it well that the individual should allow the feelings and convictions of the many to count, when he comes to shape, to express, and to act upon his own feelings and convictions?  Are we only to be permitted to defend general principles, on condition that we draw no practical inferences from them?  Is every other idea to yield precedence and empire to existing circumstances, and is the immediate and universal workableness of a policy to be the main test of its intrinsic fitness?

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On Compromise from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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