Quote [67] – Commonality vs Diversity

We have treasured our educational system also as a firm pillar of the liberal community. This faith, however, is not unanimously shared. One critic has said: “Education (is) by its very nature an individual matter…not geared to mass production. It does not produce people who instinctively go the same way…(yet) our millions learn the same lessons and spend the same thing at exactly the same time. For one reason and another we are more and more ignoring differences, if not trying to obliterate them. We seem headed toward a standardization of the mind, what Goethe called ‘the deadly commonplace that fetters us all.’” This speaker was not part of a Berkeley rally; it was Edith Hamilton, one of our greatest classicists. Make gentle the life of this world
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Quote [65] – Past Hopes For Future Of Collectivism Over Division

We learn, at the last, to look at out brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort.  We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force.  We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others.  We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others.  We must recognise that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.  Our lives on this plant are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land.

Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a solution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us as brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Make gentle the life of this world

Quote [64] – Society, Dignity & Social Security

We must turn the power and resources of our private enterprise system to the underdeveloped nation within our midst.  This should be done by bringing into the ghettos themselves productive and profitable private industry – creating dignified jobs, not welfare handouts, for the men and youth who now languish in idleness. Make gentle the life of this world
The jobs have fled to the suburbs, or have been replaced by machines, or have moved beyond the reach of those with limited education and skills …

The fact is, if  we want to change these conditions – those of us here in this room, those of us who are in the establishment, whether it be business, or labour, or government – we must act.  The fact is that we can act.  And the fact is also that we are not acting.

Make gentle the life of this world
Our society – all our values, our views of each other, and our own self-esteem; the contribution we can make to ourselves, our families, and the community around us – all these things are built on the work we do.  But too many of the inhabitants of these areas are without the purpose, the satisfaction, or the dignity that we find in our work. Make gentle the life of this world
And there are others: on the back roads of Mississippi, where thousands of children slowly starve their lives away, their minds damaged beyond repair by the age of four or five; in the camps of the migrant workers, a half million nomads virtually unprotected by collective bargaining or social security, minimum wage or workmen’s compensation, exposed to the caprice of fate and the cruelty of their fellow man alike; and on Indian reservations where the unemployment rate is 80 percent, and where suicide is not a philosopher’s question but the leading cause of death among young people. Make gentle the life of this world
And the effects of the shortage of meaningful employment are reinforced by a welfare structure which is frequently destructive both of individuals and of the community in which they live.

More basically, welfare itself had done much to divide our people, to alienate us one from the other.  Partly this separation comes from the understandable resentment of the taxpayer, helplessly watching your welfare rolls and your property tax rise.  But there is greater resentment among the poor, the recipient s of our charity.  Some of it  comes from the brutality of the welfare system itself: from the prying bureaucrat, an all powerful administrator deciding at his desk who is deserving

Make gentle the life of this world

 

Quote [55] – Social Prosperity, Art & Beyond Maintenance

“If one would estimate the damage done by the great political catastrophe to the development of human civilisation, one must remember that culture in its higher forms is a delicate plant which depends on a complicated set of conditions and is wont to flourish only is a few places at any given time.  For it to blossom there is needed, first of all, a certain degree of prosperity, which enabled a fraction of the population to work at things not directly necessary to the maintenance of life; secondly, a moral tradition of respect for cultural values and achievement, in virtue of which this class is provided with means of living by the other classes, those who provide the immediate necessities of life.

During the past century Germany has been one of the countries in which both conditions were fulfilled.  The prosperity was, taken as a whole, modest but sufficient; the tradition of respect for culture vigorous.  On this basis the German Nation has brought forth fruits of culture which form an integral part of the development of the modern world.  The tradition, in the main, still stands; the prosperity is gone.  The industries of the country have been cut off almost completely from the sources of raw materials on which the existence of the industrial part of the population was based.  The surplus necessary to support the intellectual worker has suddenly ceased to exist.  With it the tradition which depends on it will inevitably collapse also, and a fruitful nursery of culture turn to wilderness.”

The world as I see it

Quote [54] – Wages, The Economy – Production and Consumption

“My personal opinion is that those methods are preferable which respect existing traditions and habits so far as that is in any way compatible with the end in view.  Nor do I believe that a sudden transference of the control of industry to the hands of the public would be beneficial from the point of view of production; private enterprise should be left its sphere of activity, in so far as is has not already been eliminated by industry itself in the form of cartelization.

There are, however, two respects in which this economic freedom ought to be limited.  In each branch of industry the number of working hours per week ought so to be reduced by law that unemployment is systematically abolished.  At the same time minimum wages must be fixed in such a way that purchasing power of the workers keeps pace with production.

Further, in those industries which have become monopolistic in character through organisation on the part of the producers, prices must be controlled by the state in order to keep the creation of new capital with reasonable bounds and prevent the artificial strangling of production and consumption.  In this way it might perhaps be possible to establish a proper balance between production and consumption without too great a limitation of free enterprise, and at the same time to stop the intolerable tyranny of the owners of the means of production (land, machinery) over wage-earners, in the widest sense of the term”

The world as I see it

Quote Book – [37] – Social Exclusion & Society

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night.  This is the violence of institutions: indifference and inaction and slow decay.  This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because of their skins have different colours.  This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a mans among other men.  And this, too, afflicts us all.

..put a Candid Camera team in a ghetto school and watch what a rotten system of education it really is.  Film a mother staying up all night to keep the rats from her baby… Then I’d ask people to watch it and experience what it means to live in the most affluent society in history – without hope.

Quote Book – [35] – Government & Society

Even as the drive toward bigness [and] concentration . . . has reached heights never before dreamt of in the past, we have come suddenly to realize how heavy a price we have paid . . . in loss of the values of nature and community and local diversity that found their nurture in the smaller towns and rural areas of America. And we can see, as we enter the last third of the twentieth century, that the price has been too high.
The question now assumes even greater urgency, as the growth of cities propels us toward the “mass society” – that frightening vision of people as interchangeable units, the middle class as powerless as the poor to affect the decisions of government.
One great problem is sheer growth, growth which crowds people into slums, thrusts suburbs out over the countryside, burdens to the breaking point all our old ways of thought and action-our systems of transportation and water supply, education, and even garbage collection. It also weighs heavily on our means of raising money to finance these vital services.

A second problem is the destruction of the physical environment, stripping people of contact with sun and fresh air, clean rivers, grass, and trees, condemning them to a life among stone and concrete, neon lights, and an endless river of automobiles.

A third problem is the increasing difficulty of transportation, adding concealed unpaid hours to the work week, removing man from the social and cultural amenities that are the heart of the city, sending destructive swarms of automobiles across the city, leaving behind them a band of concrete and a poisoned atmosphere.  And sometimes, as in Watts, our surrender to the mobile so crippled public transportation that thousands literally could not afford to go to work elsewhere in the city.

A fourth destructive force is the concentrated poverty and racial tension of the urban ghetto, a problem so vast that the barest recital of its symptoms is profoundly shocking.

The fifth is both the cause and consequence of all the rest. It is the destruction of the sense, and often the fact, of community, of human dialogue, of the thousand invisible strands of common experience and purpose, and of the affection and respect which tie men to their fellows.

It is expressed in such words as community, neighbourhood, civic pride, friendship. It provides the life-sustaining force of human warmth, or security among others, and a sense of one’s own human significance in the accepted association and companionship of others

Change is crowding our people into cities scarred by slums – encircles by suburbs which sprawl recklessly across the countryside, where movement is difficult, beauty rare, life itself more impersonal, and security imperiled by the lawless.
Therefore, the time has come … when we must actively fight bigness and over concentration, and seek instead to bring the engines of government, of technology, of the economy, fully under the control of our citizens, to recapture and reinforce the values of a more human time and place.
Growth has polluted our water and poisoned our air, and stripped us of contact with sunlight, trees and lakes.  Government has foundered as new agencies had proliferated, splitting tasks and energies among dozens of distant and unconnected bureaus.  Individuals have lost touch with the institutions of society, even with one another; and thus have become more and more both perpetrators and victims of coldness, cruelty, and violence.

Make gentle the life of this world

Quote Book – [32] – Society: People and its Government

If there is anything that we’ve learned during the 1960’s, all of us who are here, it is that violence is not the answer to our problems.  And let no one say that violence is the courageous way, that violence is the short route, that violence is the easy route.  Because violence will bring no answer : It will bring no answer to your union; it will bring no answer to your people; it will bring no answer to us here in the United States, as a people.

Punishment is not prevention.  History offers cold comfort to those who think grievance and despair can be subdued by force.  To understand is not to permit; but to fail to understand is the surest guarantee of failure.

Men without hope, resigned to despair and oppression, do not make revolutions.  It is when expectation replaces submission, when despair is touched with the awareness of possibility, that the force of human desire and the passion for justice are unloosed.
It is not bigness that should be our goal.  We must attempt, rather to bring people back to … the warmth of community, in the worth of individual effort and responsibility …and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.
An Essential Foundation

Community demands a place where people can see and know each other, where children can play and adults work together and join in the pleasures and responsibilities of the place where they live.

Action on any one front alone will not succeed.  Providing a man a job, while in my judgment the most important step we can take, will not improve the schools his children attend or assure that medical care will be available even though he can afford it.  Building new housing without providing social services or transportation to get to work or accessible health services will result in one slum replacing another.  Improving the quality of education or job training without any promise of a job at the end will not ease the dropout rate.  But action on all these matters in concert will build a community.

The city is … a place where men should be able to live in dignity and security and harmony, where the great achievements of modern civilisation and the ageless pleasures afforded by natural beauty should be available to all.

[Another great task] is to confront the poverty of satisfaction – a lack of purpose and dignity – that inflict us all.  Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.

Governments can err, presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that Divine Justice weights the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm hearted in a different scale.  Better the occasional faults of a government living in the spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.
Government is a very rough business, you must be content with very unsatisfactory results – Sir George Cornewall

Make gentle the life of this world

Quote Book – [31] – Society & Free speech

If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all the youthful vision and vigour, then there is something wrong with our colleges.  The more riots that come on college campuses, the better world for tomorrow – William Allen White
Every dictatorship has ultimately strangles in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited.

Make gentle the life of this world

 

Quote Book – [30] – Society & Government

Everything that makes man’s life worthwhile – family, work, education, a place to rear one’s children, and a place to rest one’s head – all this depends on decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people.  Therefore, the essential humanity of men can be protected and preserved only where government must answer – not just to the wealthy, not just to those of a particular religion, or a particular race, but to all of its people.
There are hazards in debating American policy in the pace of a stern and dangerous enemy.  But that hazard is the essence of our democracy.  Democracy is no easy form of government.  Few nations have been able to sustain it.  For it requires that we take the chances of freedom; that the liberating play of reason be brought to bear in events filled with passion; that dissent be allowed to make its appeal for acceptance; that men chance error in their search for the truth…
The constitution protects wisdom and ignorance, compassion and selfishness alike.  But that dissent which consists simply of sporadic and dramatic acts sustained by neither continuing labour or research – that dissent which seeks to demolish while lacking both the desire and direction for rebuilding, that dissent which, contemptuously or out of laziness, casts aside the practical weapons and instruments of change and progress – that  kind of dissent is merely self-indulgence.  It is satisfying, perhaps, only to those who make it

Make gentle the life of this world