(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Authority and the individual"

THE   ROLE    OF   INDIVIDUALITY
tional morality that was preferred by those who had
no sympathies outside their own herd.
Religious and moral innovators have had an im-
mense effect upon human life, not always, it must be
confessed, the effect that they intended, but never-
theless on the whole profoundly beneficial. It is true
that in the present century we have seen in important
parts of the world a loss of moral values which we
had thought fairly secure, but we may hope that this
retrogression will not last. We owe it to the moral
innovators who first attempted to make morality a
universal and not merely a tribal matter, that there
has come to be a disapproval of slavery, a feeling of
duty towards prisoners of war, a limitation of the
powers of husbands and fathers, and a recognition,
however imperfect, that subject races ought not to
be merely exploited for the benefit of their con-
querors. All these moral gains, it must be admitted,
have been jeopardized by a recrudescence of ancient
ferocity, but I do not think that in the end the moral
advance which they have represented will be lost to
mankind.
The prophets and sages who inaugurated this moral
advance, although for the most part they were not
honoured in their own day, were, nevertheless, not
prevented from doing their work. In a modern
totalitarian State matters are worse than they were
in the time of Socrates, or in the time of the Gospels.
In a totalitarian State an innovator whose ideas are
disliked by the government is not merely put to