John Stuart Mill on Conservatives

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 hon. Gentleman will question it. Suppose any party, in addition to whatever share it may possess of the ability of the community, has nearly the whole of its stupidity, that party must, by the law of its constitution, be the stupidest party; and I do not see why honourable gentlemen should see that position as at all offensive to them, for it ensures their being always an extremely powerful party . . . There is so much dense, solid force in sheer stupidity, that any body of able men with that force pressing behind them may ensure victory in many a struggle, and many a victory the Conservative party has gained through that power.

[John Stuart Mill, in a Parliamentary debate with the Conservative MP, John Pakington, May 31, 1866.]

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