In a book called ‘The Gutenberg Galaxy’, published in 1962, the media guru Marshall McLuhan declared the ‘the new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village’. This was an extraordinary seerlike insight, well ahead of its time, but McLuhan’s simile of ‘global village’ is inadequate, both as description and prescription. Villages are small, usually homogeneous and conformist places. Tolerance is not their hallmark. When things get rough, villagers who have been neighbours all their lives can end up murdering each other: Serb and Bosniak, Hutu and Tutsi. ‘Global village’ is neither where we are nor where we should want to be.
– “Cosmopolis” in “Free Speech” by Timothy Garton Ash, p.18
“ To refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.”
“ Why is it, then, that there is on the whole a preponderance among mankind of rational opinions and rational conducts? …. it is owing to a quality of the human mind, the source of everything respectable in man either as an intellectual or as a moral being, namely, that his errors are corrigible. He is capable of rectifying his mistakes, by discussion and experience. Not by experience alone. There must be discussion, to show how experience is to be interpreted.”
Mill 提出的 Tyranny of Majority，亦並非限於或只著眼於政治制度。他所擔心的，似乎是在政治制度以外的 tyranny of majority。
“The tyranny of majority was at first, and still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant – society collectively, over the separate individuals who composes it – its means of tyrannizing are not restricted to the acts when it may do by the hands of its political functionaries."
此段用上了 " But reflecting persons perceived… " 以及前句 “was at first, and still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating…" 可見，其實在 public authorities 中的 tyranny of majority 並非他所最感憂慮的。
“Society can and does execute its 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 practises a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppressions, 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."
而作為鋪陳論點，在寫出上面兩段之前，Mill 其實提到了，有關 self-government ( 自治？）及 people （人民）二字未能完全反映真實。他認為：
“The ‘people’ who exercise the power are not always the same people with those over whom it is exercised; and ‘self-government’ spoken of is not the government of each by himself, but of each by all the rest"
而人民的意志 ( will of the people) 往往指的，是最多數人的意志，或人群中最活躍發言的人的意志；多數人（The majority) ，則是「被認可為多數人的一群（”those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority” )。這裡可見，即使在說 “tyranny of majority”，也不見得等同於，人是最多。「多數人」可能只是一群被認可、接受作為 majority 的一群人，人數多寡可能並不重要。
最關鍵的一句，是 “The people, consequently, may desire to oppress a part of their number; and precautions are as much needed against this as against any other abuse of power.”
Side Note 2 : John Stuart Mill 的文字頗難讀，感覺上很精煉，但又常常在句中加插較詳細的解釋，因此句子結構多層且複雜，逗號之多，有時候真的讀到頭昏眼花。
Side Note 3：讀到 “it practises a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppressions, 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.” 此段，腦海中思緒浮出文革。文革似乎是把 tyranny of ruler + tyranny of majority 兩者混合出的結果。文革以外，大抵納粹也是同樣的情形。然而民族之不同性格似乎使兩個國家朝向兩種相反的道路走去。
Side Note of Side note 3 : 近來亦越來越有意欲想學學德文，看看這個國家民族的思考方法。
同時，這書也探討了有關真我。Meusault 一直不願意為了其他人高興而假裝出具有情感。他是那樣簡單的一個人：有就是有， 沒有就是沒有。當中沒有造作，也沒有故意的壓抑。He is what he is. 他對於存在的肯定，就是他肯定他是這樣的人。與一般人相反，他並不會為了讓事情好辦一點， 或好看一點而假裝關心那些他認為沒必要關心的事情。這既可視為存在是建基於什麼之上，也可以說是主角對於是「真」的堅持。他拒絕為了任何方便或利益而假裝，甚至拒絕為了自己的性命假裝。