Sunday, 1 June 2008
In On Liberty John Stuart Mill said a mournful but hard-to-deny thing: ‘The dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution, is one of those pleasant falsehoods which men repeat after one another till they pass into commonplaces, but which all experience refutes. History teems with instances of truth put down by persecution. If not suppressed for ever, it may be thrown back for centuries.’ On the other hand, attempts may be made to deny this by affirming, with Nietzsche, that victory and truth are the same thing; or, with Christianity, that defeat and truth are the same thing. Two very beguiling philosophical positions, those. Not true, though.