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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

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social cohesion that have occurred in historical times,
we may observe a two-fold movement.
On the one hand, there is a periodic development,
from a loose and primitive type of organization to a
gradually more orderly government, embracing a
wider area, and regulating a greater part of the lives
of individuals. At a certain point in this development,
when there has recently been a great increase in
wealth and security, but the vigour and enterprise
of wilder ages has not yet decayed, there are apt to
be great achievements in the way of advancing civili-
zation. But when the new civilization becomes
stereotyped, when government has had time to
consolidate its power, when custom, tradition, and
law have established rules sufficiently minute to choke
enterprise, the society concerned enters upon a
stagnant phase. Men praise the exploits of their
ancestors, but can no longer equal them; art becomes
conventional, and science is stifled by respect for
This type of development followed by ossification
is to be found in China and India, in Mesopotamia
and Egypt, and in the Graeco-Roman world. The end
comes usually through foreign conquest: there are
old maxims for fighting old enemies, but when an
enemy of a new type arises the elderly community
has not the adaptability to adopt the new maxims
that can alone bring safety. If, as often happens, the
conquerors are less civilized than the conquered, they
have probably not the skill for the government of a