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Full text of "Authority and the individual"

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Between those who care most for social cohesion
and those who primarily value individual initiative
there has been an age-long battle ever since the time
of the ancient Greeks. In every such perennial con-
troversy there is sure to be truth on both sides; there
is not likely to be a clear-cut solution, but at best
one involving various adjustments and compromises.
Throughout history, as I suggested in my second
lecture, there has been a fluctuation between periods
of excessive anarchy and periods of too strict govern-
mental control. In our day, except (as yet) in the
matter of world government,  there has been too
much tendency towards authority, and too little care
for the preservation of initiative. Men in control of
vast organizations have tended to be too abstract in
their outlook, to forget what actual human beings
are like, and to try to fit men to systems rather than
systems to men.
The lack of spontaneity from which our highly
organized societies tend to suffer is connected with
excessive control over large areas by remote authori-
One of the advantages to be gained from decentrali-
zation  is  that  it  provides  new  opportunities for
hopefulness and for individual activities that embody
hopes.  If our political thoughts are all concerned^
with vast problems and dangers of world catastrop
it is easy to become despairing. Fear of war, fe
revolution, fear of reaction, may obsess you ac^nore
to your temperament and your party