countering false

The circumstances which surround different classes and individuals, and shape their characters, are daily becoming more assimilated….they now read the same things, listen to the same things, see the same things, go to the same places, have their hopes and fears directed to the same objects….

John Stuart Mill feared that abject conformity can occur by a natural social process of complacency and cultural adaptation, not requiring an autocracy or a tyrant to impose it.

Such a ‘soft despotism, he thought, can prove as great a threat to the freedom of the individual as the repressive state.