Only barbarians are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are, where they appear to be going, whether they wish to go there, and if so, why, and if not why not.
Injustice, poverty, slavery, ignorance - these may be cured by reform or revolution. But men do not live by fighting evils. They live by positive goals, individual and collective.
All forms of tampering with human beings, getting at them, shaping them against their will to your own pattern, all thought control and conditioning is, therefore, a denial of that in men which makes them men and their values ultimate.
The fundamental sense of freedom is freedom from chains, from imprisonment, from enslavement by others.
~ Isaiah Berlin.
We should be able to do as we like as long as we do not harm others.
In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.
Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.
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 that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
Every man who says frankly and fully what he thinks is so far doing a public service. We should be grateful to him for attacking most unsparingly our most cherished opinions.
~ John Stuart Mill.
The English feel that they are distinct from Europe, they are also tugged across the Atlantic too, so it is a good location, just off the corner of this great Eurasian mass and directed towards the Atlantic.
My father was obviously lower middle class in all sorts of ways. In my mid-teens I was obsessed by class and ambitious to rise from, lower middle class origins. I asked my father what class are we ? He said: we're too intelligent to go by that system, we're the intelligentsia.
When I was of that age, there was a vast gulf between state schools and public schools and it was a class gulf. But now, I think, it's no longer a reflection of class, it's a reflection of money. Money has won. It has always won in America but now it's won in England too. So if you put your son's name down for Eton it's because you can afford to do that, it's not because it's any class-granted right. I have no nostalgia for the class society but I have no very great enthusiasm about the money society.
If one's allowed to be proud of one's nationality, then you would have to advance British history as a model of moderation compared to the histories of most other countries.
England had its revolution a century earlier than the French, a parliamentary democracy was well established in the 18th century. The Civil War was not atrocious as civil wars usually are.