It is this motion Sociology that opened the floodgates to the post truth era. delving us into the modern-day political mess we are in today. The post truth era is marked by appeals to emotion, most evident in political climate concern, identity politics and economic mass immigration. The good thing about philosophy is all or most of the origins of social construction are carefully committed to paper for posterity. Meaning we can look back and ask why did we do that? We can say progressively that we have worked to protect the individual from tyranny of state or government and Society itself. Where formerly it was deemed acceptable to oppress a group on the whim of a larger group. Might is right as the out-dated saying goes. We moved further toward liberty, not just of the body but of the soul.
“Society can and does execute it’s own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough: there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development, and, if possible, prevent the formation, of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own. There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence: and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism.” On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. Sadly we find ourselves here in 2021 with the battlements of individual liberty being eroded away, with no hero workers to patch them up.
The above quote was written in 1850 and describes best the necessity of civil or social independence for the individual I think. As it would appear that today in the post truth era any notion of individual liberty has been lost. As made evident in On Liberty “People are accustomed to believe, and have been encouraged in the belief by some who aspire to the character of philosophers, that their feelings, on subjects of this nature, are better than reasons, and render reasons unnecessary….” No society can progress under such absurdity and sessions on liberty and opportunity should never be approached in modernity from such destructive and tyrannical incompetence. To continue that quote “The practical principle which guides them to their opinions on the regulation of human conduct, is the feeling in each person’s mind that everybody should be required to act as he, and those with whom he sympathizes, would like them to act. No one, indeed, acknowledges to himself that his standard of judgment is his own liking; but an opinion on a point of conduct, not supported by reasons, can only count as one person’s preference; and if the reasons, when given, are a mere appeal to a similar preference felt by other people, it is still only many people’s liking instead of one.”
Formally the word liberty was identified as the protection for the individual from the magistrate but now as addressed in 1850 we need to broaden the term liberty to include both protection from the magistrate and society at large. So as by popular opinion we cannot force upon an individual a group identity and allowing for a better moral principle dedicated to the protection of the individual in society. “They [society] have occupied themselves rather in inquiring what things society ought to like or dislike, than in questioning whether its likings or disliking’s should be a law to individuals. They preferred endeavouring to alter the feelings of mankind on the particular points on which they were themselves heretical, rather than make common cause in defence of freedom, with heretics generally.” It is very scary that one can cast from 1850 problems with direct relevance today. Group identity as it was prior to enlightenment has resurfaced its ugly head.