(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"

INDIVIDUAL    AND   SOCIAL   ETHICS
part concerned with my brain. But when a farmer in
Herefordshire is caught in a blizzard, it is not the
government in London that feels cold. That is why
the m^i<ta^wmjm. is_the bearer of good and evil,
andjaot^ou the one hand, any separate part of a niaxi,
or on the other hand, any collection of men. To
*•   isj» .     ~l "- *    '                               '                         "                                *                   *                                   """"
believe that there can be good or evil in a collection
of human beings, over and above the good or evil
in the various individuals, is an error; moreover, it
is an error which leads straight to totalitarianism,
and is therefore dangerous.
There are some among philosophers and statesmen
who think that the State can have an excellence of
its own, and not merely as a means to the welfare of
the citizens. I cannot see any reason to agree with
this view. "The State" is an abstraction; it does not
feel pleasure or pain, it has no hopes or fears, and
what we think of as its purposes are really the
purposes of individuals who direct it. When we
think concretely, not abstractly, we find, in place of
"the State," certain people who have more power
than falls to the share of most men. And so glorifica-
tion of ' cthe State" turns out to be, in fact, glorification
of a governing minority. No democrat can tolerate
such a fundamentally unjust theory.
There is another ethical theory, which to my mind
"is also inadequate; it is that which might be called
the "biological" theory, though I should not wish to
assert that it  is held by biologists.  This view is
derived  from  a  contemplation  of evolution.
117