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Book Name
An Autobiography
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Autobiography C 01
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Book Description


It seems to me that, for the nation as for the individual, what is most

important is to insist on the vital need of combining certain sets

of qualities, which separately are common enough, and, alas, useless

enough. Practical efficiency is common, and lofty idealism not uncommon;

it is the combination which is necessary, and the combination is rare.

Love of peace is common among weak, short-sighted, timid, and lazy

persons; and on the other hand courage is found among many men of evil

temper and bad character. Neither quality shall by itself avail. Justice

among the nations of mankind, and the uplifting of humanity, can be

brought about only by those strong and daring men who with wisdom love

peace, but who love righteousness more than peace. Facing the immense

complexity of modern social and industrial conditions, there is need to

use freely and unhesitatingly the collective power of all of us; and

yet no exercise of collective power will ever avail if the average

individual does not keep his or her sense of personal duty, initiative,

and responsibility. There is need to develop all the virtues that have

the state for their sphere of action; but these virtues are as dust in a

windy street unless back of them lie the strong and tender virtues of

a family life based on the love of the one man for the one woman and on

their joyous and fearless acceptance of their common obligation to the

children that are theirs. There must be the keenest sense of duty, and

with it must go the joy of living; there must be shame at the thought of

shirking the hard work of the world, and at the same time delight in

the many-sided beauty of life. With soul of flame and temper of steel we

must act as our coolest judgment bids us. We must exercise the largest

charity towards the wrong-doer that is compatible with relentless war

against the wrong-doing. We must be just to others, generous to others,

and yet we must realize that it is a shameful and a wicked thing not to

withstand oppression with high heart and ready hand. With gentleness and

tenderness there must go dauntless bravery and grim acceptance of labor

and hardship and peril. All for each, and each for all, is a good motto;

but only on condition that each works with might and main to so maintain

himself as not to be a burden to others.


We of the great modern democracies must strive unceasingly to make our

several countries lands in which a poor man who works hard can

live comfortably and honestly, and in which a rich man cannot live

dishonestly nor in slothful avoidance of duty; and yet we must judge

rich man and poor man alike by a standard which rests on conduct and not

on caste, and we must frown with the same stern severity on the mean and

vicious envy which hates and would plunder a man because he is well off

and on the brutal and selfish arrogance which looks down on and exploits

the man with whom life has gone hard.