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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

AUTHORITY    AND   THE    INDIVIDUAL
death, which is a matter to which a brave man may
remain indifferent, but is totally prevented from
causing his doctrine to be known. Innovations in
such a community can come only from the govern-
ment, and the government now, as in the past, is not
likely to approve of anything contrary to its own
immediate interests. In a totalitarian State such
events as the rise of Buddhism or Christianity are
scarcely possible, and not even by the greatest
heroism can a moral reformer acquire any influence
whatever. This is a new fact in human history,
brought about by the much increased control over
individuals which the modern technique of govern-
ment has made possible. It is a very grave fact, and
one which shows how fatal a totalitarian regime must
be to every kind of moral progress.
In our own day an individual of exceptional powers
can hardly hope to have so great a career or so great
a social influence as in former times, if he devotes
himself to art or to religious and moral reform.
There are, however, still four careers which are open
to him; he may become a great political leader, like
Lenin; he may acquire vast industrial power, like
Rockefeller; he may transform the world by scien-
tific discoveries, as is being done by the atomic
physicists; or, finally, if he has not the necessary
capacities for any of these careers, or if opportunity is
lacking, his energy in default of other outlet may
drive him into a life of crime. Criminals, in the legal
sense, seldom have much influence upon the course