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Mill’s Take On Sarah Palin

April 7, 2011

Upon reading The Subjection of Women by J.S. Mill, I made an instant connection to Sarah Palin in the Presidential elections of 2008 and 2012. I remember back in 2008 that a lot of people were concerned with Sarah Palin becoming the Vice President of the United States. A ton of people rejected her simply because she was a woman. I recall various Saturday Night Live Skits mocking Palin such as the one below.

In this Saturday Night Live skit, one can see the satirical comedy at Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton when the actress says, “It’s time for a women to make it to the white house,” and the other women exlamins, “No! It’s mine!” SNL is mocking these two women on national television purely because they are females running for important political positions.

I also came across an article the today reporting that Sarah Palin lost the GOP support in the upcoming presidential election.

Why did Palin lose support to become the next President? Many would claim that since we never had a woman as President before, it’s not a good idea. Mill would have a problem with this reasoning for several reasons. He states that, “The preceding considerations are amply sufficient to show that custom, however universal it may be, affords in this case no presumption, and ought not to create any prejudice, in favour of the arrangements which place women in social and political subjection to men,” (660).  He continues to explain how in history, people were born into there positions, specifically in politics. If a noble citizen had a son, that child would automatically have a political position. However, “…human beings are no longer born in their place in life, and chained down by an inexorable bond to the place they are born to, but are free to employ their faculties, and such favourable chances as offer, to achieve the lot which may appear most desirable,” (660). Mill’s ideas can be directly applied to Sarah Palin running for president in the 2012 elections. Although she was born a female and the United States never had a woman as president, she should still have a fair chance at the election.

J.S. Mill would also have a problem with denying Palin as a legitimate candidate for president based purely on tradition alone. The United States never had a female as president before, so how would there be any basis to say that the president should be a male. This custom, “…rests upon theory only; for there never has been trial made of any other: so that experience, in the sense in which it is vulgarly opposed to theory, cannot be pretended to have pronounced any verdict,” (654). It is undeniably unfair to conclude that Sarah Palin is not a valid candidate for president just because she is a woman.

Would you agree with Mill in his critique of Sarah Palin? Voice your opinion.


  1. Zack Orsini permalink
    April 8, 2011 7:17 PM


    “It is undeniably unfair to conclude that Sarah Palin is not a valid candidate for president just because she is a woman.”

    Although I agree with the above statement, it should be noted that there are a myriad of reasons why Sarah Palin is not a good candidate for the presidency/vice presidency and NONE OF THEM have to do with the fact that she is a woman. Sarah Palin, simply put, is completely underqualified for the job. Here’s a quick YouTube video of clips from interviews of Sarah Palin (which speak for themselves in revealing her inadequacy):

    As stated in class by Professor Lavaque-Manty, Mill was in favor of meritocracies. A meritocracy is a system in which the person who is most qualified for a particular job is the one who is given that particular job. Race, gender, etc. are not taken into account when someone is determining who is best qualified for a job. Although I think Mill would want to allow Palin to be a candidate in the running for the presidency (just as he would want to allow anyone else who wanted to run to be a candidate), I think that he would see that she is underqualified for the job, and, for this reason he would probably not vote for her.

    In closing, here’s a word from Matt Damon:

  2. Emily Slaga permalink
    April 9, 2011 9:17 AM

    I see the point you’re trying to make, but Sarah Palin might not have been the best example. I totally agree that being a woman should not hurt your chances of running for office. But Sarah Palin has set a public image that makes her seem ridiculously unqualified for the job. There are reasons that there were so many skits about her on SNL and people made fun of her. She’s just not qualified, or at least doesn’t know how to present her qualifications intelligently to the public. Not to mention, she didn’t even finish her term as governor of Alaska, she quit! But, to answer your question, yes I’d agree with Mill’s view that she should be allowed to run. Everyone should have their chance.

  3. jasonkraman permalink
    April 10, 2011 10:17 PM

    I would like to take a different slant on this post, because I dont think the fact that she is a women should be the chief concern. I think Mill would encourage Sarah Palin to run for the Presidency because she would bring new opinions(although questionable) to the table. Mill is all for debate and discussion on supposed truths and would applaud Palin for her unique approach to politics. I do not think Mill would want Sarah Palin to become our President but I think he would definitely be in favor of her running for the position.

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