C.W. Mill - The Higher Immorality
What I got out of Mill was the idea that to advance into the upper echelons of society one must adopt certain attitudes. This is how the system protects itself; those who are given the power to change it must have the values to not change it. A similar example is changing the voting system in Canada. It would be very difficult for a party who won using the current voting system to change to proportional representation because that is the system that rewarded them. Now what about life? The rich and powerful are fabulously respected, and they aren’t going to change a thing. It would be biting the hand that feeds you. There is exceptions of to the rule, but a few out of a thousand, my suspicion is that the system can weather the heat =).
Here is an example:
Michael Ignatieff - In a recent issue of the New Internationalist (click on back issues, then it is #385, then it is an article titled World Beaters) there was an article featuring Mr. Ignatieff “In ‘Nation Building Lite’ (July 2002), Ignatieff calls for heavy handed nation-building in Afghanistan: ‘The [Afghans] understand the difficult truth that their best hope of freedom lies in a temporary experience of imperial rule.’ And to work, ‘imperial power requires controlling the subject people’s sense of time, convincing them that they will be ruled forever.’ Mr. Ignatieff used to be the director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. In May 2004, weeks after the photos of American soldiers torturing hooded Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad he wrote: “Defeating terror requires violence… indefinite detention of subjects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war…Permissible forms of duress might include forms of sleep deprivation that do not result in lasting harm to mental or physical health, together with disinformation and disorientation (like keeping prisioners in hoods) that would produce stress’…could he really believe that repressive violence can be split into tidy categories?”
Ignatieff just won a liberal seat in the recent election and is considered a candidate for the leadership race. This seems supportive of Mill’s point, that to advance you must adopt the values of the system. It seems that Mr. Ignatieff is doing quite well at adopting the values of success.