This text argues that previous studies of John Stuart Mill's work have neglected his egaliltarianism and thus seriously misuderstood his views. Maria Morales demonstrates that Mill was fundamentally concerned with how the exercise of unjust or arbitary power by some individuals over others sabotages the possibility of human well-being and social improvement. Mill therefore believed that "perfect equality" - more than liberty - is the foundation of democracy and that democracy is the moral ideal for the organisation of human life in all of its dimensions. By reinterpreting Mill, Morales also challenges 20th-century views of liberalism, and addresses contemporary communitarian and feminist criticisms of of liberalism. She argues that, because the progressiveness of Mill's moral and political ideals has been obscured, so has an important strand of the liberal tradition. Liberalism need not be based on an abstract, atomistic, individualistic model of social life. This text should be of use to students as well as scholars of Mill, women's studies, political theory, the history of feminism, and social and political philosophy.
Maria H. Morales is assistant professor of philosophy at Florida State University.