Democracy and Social Ethics eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 164 pages of information about Democracy and Social Ethics.
philanthropist, who has taxed his individual will beyond the normal limits and has lost his clew to the situation among a bewildering number of cases.  A man who takes the betterment of humanity for his aim and end must also take the daily experiences of humanity for the constant correction of his process.  He must not only test and guide his achievement by human experience, but he must succeed or fail in proportion as he has incorporated that experience with his own.  Otherwise his own achievements become his stumbling-block, and he comes to believe in his own goodness as something outside of himself.  He makes an exception of himself, and thinks that he is different from the rank and file of his fellows.  He forgets that it is necessary to know of the lives of our contemporaries, not only in order to believe in their integrity, which is after all but the first beginnings of social morality, but in order to attain to any mental or moral integrity for ourselves or any such hope for society.



As democracy modifies our conception of life, it constantly raises the value and function of each member of the community, however humble he may be.  We have come to believe that the most “brutish man” has a value in our common life, a function to perform which can be fulfilled by no one else.  We are gradually requiring of the educator that he shall free the powers of each man and connect him with the rest of life.  We ask this not merely because it is the man’s right to be thus connected, but because we have become convinced that the social order cannot afford to get along without his special contribution.  Just as we have come to resent all hindrances which keep us from untrammelled comradeship with our fellows, and as we throw down unnatural divisions, not in the spirit of the eighteenth-century reformers, but in the spirit of those to whom social equality has become a necessity for further social development, so we are impatient to use the dynamic power residing in the mass of men, and demand that the educator free that power.  We believe that man’s moral idealism is the constructive force of progress, as it has always been; but because every human being is a creative agent and a possible generator of fine enthusiasm, we are sceptical of the moral idealism of the few and demand the education of the many, that there may be greater freedom, strength, and subtilty of intercourse and hence an increase of dynamic power.  We are not content to include all men in our hopes, but have become conscious that all men are hoping and are part of the same movement of which we are a part.

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Democracy and Social Ethics from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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