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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

AUTHORITY    AND   THE   INDIVIDUAL
struggle for existence is supposed to have gradually
led to more and more complex organisms, culmina-
ting (so far) in man. In this view, survival is the
supreme end, or rather, survival of one's own species.
Whatever increases the human population of the globe,
if this theory is right, is to count as 'good,'' and what-
ever diminishes the population is to count as "bad."
I cannot see any justification for such a mechanical
and arithmetical outlook. It would be easy to find
a single acre containing more ants than there are
human beings in the whole world, but we do not
on that account acknowledge the superior excellence
of ants. And what humane person would prefer a
large population living in poverty and squalor to a
smaller population living happily with a sufficiency
of comfort?
It is true, of course, that survival is the necessary
condition for everything else, but it is only a condition
of what has value, and may have no value on its own
account. Survival, in the world that modern science
and technique have produced, demands a great deal
of government. But what is to give value to survival
must come mainly from sources that lie outside
government. The reconciling of these two opposite
requisites has been our problem in these discussions.
And now, gathering up the threads qf our dis-
cussions, and remembering all the dangers of our
time, I wish to reiterate certain conclusions, and,
more particularly, to set forth the hopes which I
believe we have rational grounds for entertaining.
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