Monday, January 10, 2000

‘The main source’

“Success or failure will be conditioned upon the way in which the average man, the average woman, does his or her duty. The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed… .
“The stream will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation. Therefore it behooves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average citizen is kept high; and the average cannot be kept high unless the standard of leaders is very much higher.”
Theodore Roosevelt, in a 1910 speech quoted by Ralph Reed in “America’s Real Gold Standard,” in the Fall 1999 issue of Rising Tide

Of Scouts and gays

Of human nature

“What is left of Freud, out of the beliefs that were so intellectually pervasive in mid-century? Psychotherapy remains, in profuse variety, but only remnants of Freudianism. What is left of B.F. Skinner? Behaviorism is still a productive branch of psychology, but the Skinnerian vision of human nature that once seemed so compelling is dead. As for Marx, does anything at all survive? For more than a century, Marxism was throughout continental Europe the leading intellectual framework for thinking about how political institutions can realize the nature of man. That edifice has collapsed utterly… .

“The great conflicts of the last two centuries have in large part been the story of differing views of human nature translated into political codes. Communism’s use of Marxism was the paradigmatic example, explicitly and aggressively asserting that human nature is soft plastic that can be molded into any configuration by society’s political and economic institutions.”

Charles Murray, writing on “Deeper Into the Brain,” in the Jan. 24 issue of National Review

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