Front Page Titles (by Subject) 397.: CONSTRAINTS OF COMMUNISM LEADER, 3 AUG., 1850, P. 447 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXV - Newspaper Writings December 1847 - July 1873 Part IV
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397.: CONSTRAINTS OF COMMUNISM LEADER, 3 AUG., 1850, P. 447 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXV - Newspaper Writings December 1847 - July 1873 Part IV 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, XXV - Newspaper Writings December 1847 - July 1873 Part IV, ed. Ann P. Robson and John M. Robson, Introduction by Ann P. Robson and John M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986).
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CONSTRAINTS OF COMMUNISM
In the previous issue of the Leader, 27 July, p. 416, over the signature “Ion,” appeared “One of the Consequences Considered,” by George Jacob Holyoake, the paper’s manager. This response, which was Mill’s first contribution to the Leader, appeared in the regular “Open Council” section, which was introduced by the editorial comment: “In this department, as all opinions, however extreme, are allowed an expression, the editor necessarily holds himself responsible for none.” The letter is dated “Aug. 1, 1850,” and headed “Constraints of Communism,” though the entry in Mill’s bibliography says: “A letter signed D. and (improperly) headed ‘Restraints of Communism’ in the Leader of 3d August 1850”
(MacMinn, p. 75).
A correspondent of your last week’s paper, writing in defence of what he calls “associative views,” meaning, I suppose, the organization of industry on the communistic principle, employs himself in combating people who, he says, find fault with communism, because “the harmony and competence likely to result” are supposed to be “so overwhelming that a surfeit of enjoyment is dreaded;” and this absurdity he attributes to “a recent work” called Principles of Political Economy,1 which, he says, “foreshadowed the inanity and monotony which must supervene when the spur of animal want was conquered and withdrawn.” Your correspondent has misunderstood the argument in the Political Economy. No such notion is there to be found as that “the sharp pangs of hunger” are necessary to prevent life from being inane and monotonous. So far is this from the truth, that the drudgery to which hunger, and the fear of hunger, condemn the great mass of mankind, is the chief cause which makes their lives inane and monotonous. If communism, or what is generally called by that name, would make life a dull routine, it is not because it would make everybody comfortable. When the rich are ennuyés it is not because they are “above the fear of want,” it is generally because they are not “above the fear” of other people’s opinions. They do not cultivate and follow opinions, preferences, or tastes of their own, nor live otherwise than in the manner appointed by the world for persons of their class. Their lives are inane and monotonous because (in short) they are not free, because though able to live as pleases themselves, their minds are bent to an external yoke. Now, it is this bondage which I am afraid of in the coöperative communities. I fear that the yoke of conformity would be made heavier instead of lighter; that people would be compelled to live as it pleased others, not as it pleased themselves; that their lives would be placed under rules, the same for all, prescribed by the majority; and that there would be no escape, no independence of action left to any one, since all must be members of one or another community. It is this which, as is contended in the Political Economy, would make life monotonous; not freedom from want, which is a good in every sense of the word, and which might be ensured to all who are born, without obliging them to merge their separate as well as their working existence in a community. No order of society can be in my estimation desirable unless grounded on the maxim, that no man or woman is accountable to others for any conduct by which others are not injured or damaged.
[1 ]That is, Mill’s Principles of Political Economy (1848), of which the 2nd ed. (1849) contained a more favourable discussion of communism. (See CW, Vol. III, pp. 975-87.) Holyoake had earlier reprinted in his periodical, the Reasoner, V (1848), 50-4 and 60-9, under the title “Theories of Private Property and Communism,” portions of Book II, Chap. i, of the 1st ed. of the Principles (the chapter here in question). In the Leader of 10 Aug., p. 465, Holyoake further discussed the points raised by Mill.