chapter  15
Minority in¯uence: From groups to attitudes and back again
Pages 30

We have recently celebrated two highly signi®cant anniversaries for any student of minority in¯uence who adopts a historical perspective. First, 2006 saw the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Stuart Mill, who was born on 20 May 1806. Mill, particularly in his volumes Considerations on Representative Government (1861/1924) and On Liberty (1859/ 1986), championed the cause of minorities, warned of the dangers of the `despotism of custom' (Reeves, 2007), opposed the `tyranny of the majority' and enshrined the value of liberty. As Mill famously put it, in his essay On Liberty, `If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justi®ed in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justi®ed in silencing mankind' (p. 23). Isaiah Berlin captured Mill's passionate defence of heterodoxy in his essay `John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life', `What he hated and feared was narrowness, uniformity, the crippling effect of persecution, the crushing of individuals by the weight of authority or of custom or of public opinion' (1969, p. 177).