Sunday, May 02, 2010

Levellers: One Way

A song for general election week: the Levellers at Glastonbury, but I don't know which year it comes from.

As I once wrote:

It seems we have become obsessed by Mill’s harm principle. Yet it is only a small part of On Liberty: the essence of that work is not concerned with curbing liberty at all but is a glorious hymn in favour of its expansion.

Writing in Prospect magazine last year, Richard Reeves put it well:

for Mill, liberty consists of much more than being left alone. It requires choice-making by the individual. "He who lets the world… choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation,"he writes. "He who chooses his plan for himself employs all his faculties." For Mill, a good life must be a chosen life.

Or as The Levellers said more recently: "There's only one way of life, and that's your own, your own, your own."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1994? Or 2008? Looks like one of the main stages - they were on the Pyramid in 1994 but it was a replacement stage because the old one had burn't down. Unless my memory has gone wrong. I don't think they appeared on the main stages between 1994 and 2008.

Whichever year it was I do remember once having a moment of clarity in the middle of "One Way" and thinking "um, there must be getting on for 50,000 people here, all dressed very similarly, all terribly right-on, singing this song in unison."