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Lectures to the Chinese by Alfred De Grazia

PART TWO:  The Eight Goods

Conclusion to Part Two: A Culture of Freedom

After dealing with the eight bads of America, I attempted a comparison with thirteen other nations, comprising three fourths of the Earth's human population. To may surprise, I discovered that the Americans were not as affected with misbehavior as I had feared. I have repeated the operation now upon concluding my discussion of the eight goods. The same thirteen nations were compared with America. The same apology holds: I cannot prove my estimates; they are intuitions; ,your guess may be as good as mine or better in some cases.

Again, the Americans show up in a relatively strong position. If there is potential in this world for expanding the scope of free culture, one must look to America for some important share of the leadership. Americans and their institutions appear to score especially favorably in comparison with the Egyptians, Indonesians, and Russians; and rank about equal to the Japanese, British, and West Germans.

There is considerable equality in respect to China, but in three regards--openness, justice, and friendship (particularly world friendship) --the Americans seem to me to be ahead. These are not he good tidings that one should carry to his hosts. I would be glad to confess my errors at the earliest opportunity. Meanwhile, I would be glad to arrange for one of you to come to America to announce that your intuitions are more cultivated, and that your scoring comes out differently.

Whatever the correctness of my conclusions, I find in them reasons to praise the culture of freedom. I find that a culture that is honest from the crib to the rocking chair opens up channels in all its institutions, from the government to the army, for the autonomous personality to realize itself. It invites people to organize into voluntary associations and to govern themselves by representative institutions. It favors flexible, rational, and systematic planning. It employs the kind of sanctions for deviants that are the most curative and the most beneficial for society-namely, education, reeducation, persuasion, consensus, majorities--then economic pressures, and only ultimately the use of coercion and force.

A free and open culture lets, and even insists that, its members operate on all public matters in an open manner. It encourages them to respect others and therefore to share with others, to a significant degree, the six goods of life-power, wealth, knowledge, affection, respect, and good health. The status of science is high, not because of the mysterious tricks that may be developed in the secret specializations an languages of science, but out of the scientific method, which parallels the open, rational, free processes of the mind confronted by problems, and the structured rationale of representative government. The free culture looks to a science that unfolds and synthesizes faith rather than to a corps of technicians that wheels and turns at the command of a master elite.

The culture of freedom, contrary to the culture of force, lends of the popular and public mind the power to transform old communities into new, old interests into new, old worlds into new worlds. The free culture, too, promotes the development of self-developing, self-fulfilling property, which roots itself in the small group and extends outward into the free enterprise of the market. Then and there, it is ready to hand over an enterprise grown large to all those who participate, suffer from, profit from, and are affected by its operations so that it becomes a part of all of them and relates to them and to more general dispositions of the culture, the larger institutions, the state, the world order. There is no break, no rupture, no line of battle to be drawn . As matters become public, they pass to the public. As the public develops them, they are passed all around. This then is the state, the government: all-embracing, lightly embracing; turning worldward, turning person-ward, turning upward.

It is all so clear, all so uncertain, all so sure. The world order must come, if American, Chinese, Bolivians, Indonesians, Thai, and Russians--and all, indeed--are not to be extinguished morally, economically, perhaps even physically. If we do not read the message, it is not because the message is unwritten, but because, victims of ourselves, victims of the eight bads, we insist upon repeating the wrongs of history. Confucius said: "If the people are capable of action, let them proceed along its path; but, if not, then make them first of all understand this truth."


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