Essays in Social Justice

Essays in Social Justice

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Essays in Social Justice

Essays in Social Justice

Read FREE!

Excerpt

One of the surest signs of degeneration is the growth of sentimental as distinguished from practical morality, especially when it is combined with an ingrowing conscience. Sentimental morality is the sort which evaluates character and conduct by their ability to satisfy an inner sense of propriety, or to create within us the sensation of approval. Both character and conduct, under this system, come under what economists would call "consumers' goods" whose function is to please. Practical morality is the sort which evaluates character and conduct by their results. The test is thus objective and not subjective. "By their fruits ye shall know them" is robust and wholesome doctrine, though even this may be travestied by defining fruits in subjective terms, under the alluring but delusive name of spiritual goods. An ingrowing conscience is one which leads its possessor to look continually inward upon his own motives and to try perpetually to test them by some supposedly inner knowledge as to what a motive ought to be like. Such a person is like one who would try to guide himself through the world by closing his eyes to the objects around him and following an assumed inner sense of direction.

One school would have us believe that this inner knowledge, or intuition, is like the compass which the ship carries in her midst, which points unerringly to a fixed point outside the ship, and which, accordingly, becomes a safe guide. Another school, the anthropological, demonstrates conclusively that this compass does not point to any fixed . . .

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