Skip to main content

Full text of "Authority and the individual"

See other formats

which cannot be tolerated in a civilized society.
There are other forms of initiative, such as that of
the well-established inventor, which everybody re-
cognizes to be useful. But there is a large intermediate
class of innovators of whose activities it cannot be
known in advance whether the effects will be good
or bad. It is particularly in relation to this uncertain
class that it is necessary to urge the desirability of
freedom to experiment, for this class includes all
that has been best in the history of human achieve-
Uniformity, which is a natural result of State con-
trol, is desirable in some things and undesirable in
others. In Florence, in the days before Mussolini,
there was one rule of the roads in the town and the
opposite rule in the surrounding country. This kind
of diversity was inconvenient, but there were many
matters in which Fascism suppressed a desirable kind
of diversity. In matters of opinion it is a good thing
if there is vigorous discussion between different
schools of thought. In the mental world there is
everything to be said in favour of a struggle for
existence, leading, with luck, to a survival of the
fittest. But if there is to be mental competition,
there must be ways of limiting the means to be em-
ployed. The decision should not be by war, or by
assassination, or by imprisonment of those holding
certain opinions, or by preventing those holding
unpopular views from earning a living. Where
private enterprise prevails, or where there are many