I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any honorable Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist
Debate in Parliament with John Pakington (31 May 1866)

Often paraphrased "Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." Misquoted in Courtney, Life of John Stuart Mill (1889) as "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it."

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Dec-15
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3 thoughts on “Debate in Parliament with John Pakington (31 May 1866)”

  1. Obama Worshiper

    So it’s not just their accent that makes the British sound intelligent, they are intelligent, at least more so then the average American voter. Hahahaha. And at least by a 150 years!

    1. Philip Cohen

      “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.”—Isaac Asimov, “A Cult of Ignorance” (1980) http://bit.ly/2C5FE4A

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