The Faith of a Liberal: Selected Essays by Morris R. Cohen

By Morris R. Cohen | Go to book overview

pelling them to enter," it kept up the habit of intolerant persecution for many centuries. Those who believe that many of the finer fruits of civilization were thereby choked should be careful about strengthening the forces of intolerance.

When the Communists tell me that I must choose between their dictatorship and Fascism, I feel that I am offered the choice between being shot and being hanged. It would be suicide for liberal civilization to accept this as exhausting the field of human possibility. I prefer to hope that the present wave of irrationalism and of fanatical intolerance will recede and that the great human energy which manifests itself in free thought will not perish. Often before, it has emerged after being swamped by passionate superstitions. There is no reason to feel that it may not do so again.


13
MINIMIZING SOCIAL CONFLICTS

THROUGHOUT THE AGES the great religious teachers, prophets, and saints have preached the grace of universal peace and the folly of human strife, and men of good will have persistently sought for remedial or preventive measures against our destructively pugnacious inclinations. Yet the intensely bitter conflicts raging today in international affairs, and in our class warfare on economic, religious, racial, and political grounds, all make the long-hoped-for day seem as far off as ever. One is thus tempted to yield to despair and let the waves of fanatical hatred spread and engulf all the hard-earned gains of recent centuries.

____________________
Reprinted from The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 203, p. 114 ( May 1939).

-119-

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