inconsistency is carried through his belief that liberty as he espouses works best in civilized societies and won’t apply to barbarians. So backward societies (like Singapore and Malaysia?) need an education in virtue, even coercion, while enlightened ones don’t because they can reason values for themselves and are unlikely to rape women. It merely means that every idea is conditional or contingent, and depends on the position you define. That’s my beef – contingent. You always have to smuggle in some boundaries, or maybe a bearded man or two from ancient Greece.
“Mr. Mill’s principle throughout assumes existence of an ideal state of things in which everyone has precisely the position which, with a view to the general happiness of the world, he ought to hold. If such a state of things existed there would be some plausibility in saying that no one ought to interfere with anyone else except for the sake of protecting himself against attack, by maintaining the existing state of things. But as no such state of things exists or ever yet existed in any age or country, the principle has at present no locus standi.”
“There is hardly a habit which men in general regard as good which is not acquired by a series of more or less painful and laborious acts. The condition of human life is such that we must of necessity be restrained and compelled by circumstances in nearly every action of our lives.”
It was he who also said government is a mild form of coercion. That's how we are. People do not in general seek public or common good but personal interest first. Perhaps 'coercion' isn't nice, but it just means we need regulations. Unless you are a libertarian with an anarchic bent, you wouldn’t argue that’s a bad thing. Slavery was abolished in the US not because reasonable men and women agreed it was unacceptable. In fact they argued that abolishment would harm the economy. A government went to war to end it, unhappily for the South.
This is why Michael Sandel wrote that, “The public philosophy by which we live cannot secure the liberty it promises because it cannot inspire the sense of community and civic engagement that liberty requires.” Hmm, I wonder if he is referring to voter turnout too.