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A Study of Political Ideologies

Understanding how classical liberal John Stuart Mill would react to a viral meme and drone laws may be an anachronistic concept that makes your head spin, but students in Eric O’Connor’s AP European history class did just that. Their mental twister punctuates O’Connor’s lesson on the political ideology of liberalism. O’Connor’s lesson centered around Mill’s philosophy that people should be free to live their lives, and that people should be free to act out their beliefs, as long as no one is harmed. To put a current spin on the discussion, O’Connor showed students a meme from the famous video involving a protestor attacking self-proclaimed white nationalist Richard Spencer during an interview on the street. O’Connor asked the students to discuss whether it was right to attack someone whose belief systems focus on racial hatred and what they think Mill would have said. The rich discussion touched on a number of ethical points and allowed students to weigh the 19th century philosopher’s belief systems with pop culture and modern day events.