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It is difficult, however, to summarize Herbert's analysis of these modes since it involves a great number of interwoven moral, psychological, and sociological insights. One of course must look to his writings, but chiefly his two last essays, “Mr. Spencer and the Great Machine,” and “A Plea for Voluntaryism.” Insofar as there is a division of labor between these two essays, the former focuses on the inherent dynamic of political power—the ways in which the great game of politics captures its participants no matter what their own initial intentions—while the latter essay focuses on the corrupting results of this captivity within those participants. According to Herbert, no man's integrity or moral or intellectual selfhood can withstand participation in the battle of power politics.

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I have just touched upon the evils of uniformity in education; but there is more to say on the matter. At present we have one system of education applied to the whole of England. The local character of school boards deceives us, and makes us believe that some variety and freedom of action exist. In reality they have only the power to apply an established system. They must use the same class of teachers; they must submit to the same inspectors; the children must be prepared for the same examination, and pass in the same standards. There are some slight differences, but they are few and of little value. Now, if any one wishes to realize the full mischief which this uniformity works, let him think of what would be the result of a uniform method being established everywhere–in religion, art, science, or any trade or profession. Let him remember that canon of Mr. Herbert Spencer, so pregnant with meaning, that progress is difference. Therefore, if you desire progress, you must not make it difficult for men to think and act differently; you must not dull their senses with routine or stamp their imagination with the official pattern of some great department. If you desire progress, you must remove all obstacles that impede for each man the exercise of his reasoning and imaginative faculties in his own way; and you must do nothing to lessen the rewards which he expects in return for his exertions. And in what does this reward consist? Often in the simple triumph of the truth of some opinion. It is marvelous how much toil men will undergo for the sake of their ideas; how cheerfully they will devote life, strength, and enjoyment to the work of convincing others of the existence of some fact or the truth of some view. But if such forces are to be placed at the service of society, it must be on the condition that society should not throw artificial and almost insuperable obstacles in the way of those reformers who search for better methods. If, for example, a man holding new views about education can at once address himself to those in sympathy with him, can at once collect funds and proceed to try his experiment, he sees his goal in front of him, and labors in the expectation of obtaining some practical result to his labor. But if some great official system blocks the way, if he has to overcome the stolid resistance of a department, to persuade a political party, which has no sympathy with views holding out no promise of political advantage, to satisfy inspectors, whose eyes are trained to see perfection of only one kind, and who may summarily condemn his school as “inefficient,” and therefore disallowed by law, if in the meantime he is obliged by rates and taxes to support a system to which he is opposed, it becomes unlikely that his energy and confidence in his own views will be sufficient to inspire a successful resistance to such obstacles. It may be said that a great official department, if quickened by an active public opinion, will be ready to take up the ideas urged on it from outside. But there are reasons why this should not be so. When a state department becomes charged with some great undertaking, there accumulates so much technical knowledge round its proceedings, that without much labor and favorable opportunities it becomes exceedingly difficult to criticize successfully its action. It is a serious study in itself to follow the minutes and the history of a great department, either like the Local Board or the Education Department. And if a discussion should arise, the same reason makes it difficult for the public to form a judgment in the matter. A great office which is attacked envelopes itself, like a cuttlefish, in a cloud of technical statements which successfully confuses the public, until its attention is drawn off in some other direction. It is for this reason, I think, that state departments escape so easily from all control, and that such astounding cases of recklessness and mismanagement come periodically to light, making a crash which startles everybody for the moment. The history of our state departments is like that of some continental governments, unintelligent endurance through long periods on the part of the people, tempered by spasmodic outbursts of indignation and ineffectual reorganization of the institutions themselves. It must also be remembered that the manner in which new ideas produce the most favorable results is not by a system under which many persons are engaged in suggesting and inventing, and one person only in the work of practical application. Clearly the most progressive method is that whoever perceives new facts should possess free opportunities to apply and experiment upon them.

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In a small but cheerful lodging overlooking the Thames, Angus found Markham. After a few words he began to pour out his old troubles. Was it possible to act honestly with party? Did it not lead to a constant sacrifice of convictions, or, indeed, learning to live without them? And then was party itself, morally speaking, better off; would not convictions, if simply and straightforwardly followed, place the party that so acted at a fatal disadvantage in its struggles with its rival? Were not politics an art in which a clever manipulation of the electors, and a nice opportunism in selecting measures that satisfied one portion of the people without too much offending another portion, possessed the first importance, while the high motives and great causes to which all politicians loved to appeal were as bits of broken mosaic that the Jew dealer throws in as a make-weight to complete the bargain?

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George Orwell: Politics and the English Language

Romanticism was developing in a time in which all of society's rules, limits, and restraints on how each person should act where being questioned, tried, and twisted. Wuthering Heights is a Romantic novel which uses a tale of hopeless love to describe the clash of two cultures-Ne...

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Now let us see the mischief that arises when you make the existence of indirect compulsion a ground for employing direct compulsion. First, when you do so you at once destroy the immense safeguard that exists so long as one man cannot be compelled to accept another man's view as regards his own life or happiness–that is to say, that the person who knows most about his interest and cares most about it–I mean the man's own self–must give his consent to every action that he does; and you establish a system, founded on very puzzle-headed ideas, under which each man is not to be his own special guardian, but is to be put instead under the guardianship of (say) 10,000,000 of his countrymen and countrywomen. Second, observe, that in opposing such indirect force, as is tyrannously used, by the weapon of direct force, you fall into the same mistake as those do, who try to repress a crime by methods more brutal than the crime itself; or as those do who would forcibly repress teaching, such as that of the Roman Catholic religion, because they believe that the claim to possess infallibility tends to an intolerant use of power, whenever power and this claim happen to be joined in the same persons. But could such people have their way, they would immensely increase the intolerance that exists in the world by inducing all the tolerant–as well as the intolerant–persons to fight for their opinions by intolerant means. In exactly the same way he who uses direct force to combat indirect force only restrains one injury by inflicting another of a graver kind, places the fair-minded people as well as the unfair-minded people on the side of oppression, and, by thus equalizing the actions of the good and bad, indefinitely delays the development of those moral influences to which we can alone look as the solvent of that temper that makes men use harshly the indirect power resting in their hands. Do we wish to make men juster in their daily intercourse with each other? We shall certainly not succeed by acting more unjustly in return, for however unjustly a man may use the indirect power that he possesses, his injustice will always be surpassed by those who violate the universal rights of men by applying force directly.

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Third, we believe that government might play the part of useful friend to the people, and perform many valuable services on their behalf, provided that it renounced all use of compulsion, and never attempted to impose either compulsory services or compulsory contributions upon unaggressive citizens. Freely competing with all voluntary bodies, it might become the most valuable center, during many future years, of knowledge and help and direction in such matters as education and sanitation. It is most urgent that the great work of sanitation in all its important developments should rest on voluntary methods, should be deofficialized—that is, should be divorced from compulsion; though at the same time, it should be remembered that, if necessary, men may be rightfully restrained from polluting all earth, water, or air, that does not belong to them; or from disseminating germs of disease in public places, since all such acts are acts of aggression on the person or property of others. So, also, the government might play the part of useful friend in matters of labor and trade. It might offer to all who required it, skilled advice in such matters as the safety and healthfulness of buildings, the cultivation of land, or the management of animals: it might undertake many useful experiments of various kinds, so long as it always acted on the one condition, that it would help as a friend, and never seek to play the part of the compelling and regulating authority, or the owner of bodies and minds, of the little god supreme above rights. All force (not employed in restraining force) disturbs peaceful effort, and prevents progress. We want none of it. Our true ideal is a developing every form of industrial energy and friendly cooperation, making many experiments in social life, with every citizen acting in the line of his own convictions, spending his energies and his resources in such causes as seem to him the truest and best, and with no citizen engaged in the old miserable and profitless trade of placing fetters on the hands of other citizens or of being empowered to use others against their own beliefs and desires, just because the political party, to which the A's and the B's belong, had gained its victory at the polls, and the party to which the C's and the D's belong, had suffered defeat. The rights of men are too sacred to be voted away in any contests of our political parties. Let us then once more repeat our voluntaryist principle: the rights of liberty always in the first place; the authority of government always in the second place. When once a government had accepted this limitation, and held its authority subject to the rights of the individual, it would be, we believe, loyally and generously supported by the freely given services of free men, who would no longer be called upon either to lay conscience and will at its feet, or forced to struggle with their fellowmen for the possession of that evil thing——over each other. Where the conscience, the will, the self-direction of every citizen were frankly respected, there the foolish, wasteful and mischievous rivalries of our political parties would disappear, for power would cease to be the highest prize of life, inviting all men to snatch it by any and every weapon from the hands of each other. Where governments simply protected life and property for all without difference, international jealousies, hatreds, and wars, would die out, for Americans, Germans, or Frenchmen in Great Britain, and the British in America, Germany, or France, would fare alike. Each would be protected; none would receive privileges and favors in the one country more than in the other; but all men everywhere would be left free to exercise their faculties so as to work out their own development in their own fashion. The great causes of strife and hatred would pass away. Perfect free trade and friendly cooperation would satisfy all wants, and the world at last would begin to fulfill its destiny—as the free and peaceful meeting place of all opinions, all desires and all energies.