Democracy is the Least Hateful System: Forster

E. M. Forster defended democracy in Two Cheers for Democracy as “less hateful” than other contemporary forms of government.

” The people I admire most are those who are sensitive and want to create something, or discover something, and such people get more of a chance under democracy than elsewhere. They found religions, great or small, or they produce literature and art, or they do disinterested scientific research, or they may be what is called ‘ordinary people’, who are creative in their private lives, bring up their children decently, for instance, or help their neighbours. All these people need to express themselves; they cannot do so unless society allows them the liberty to do so, and the society which allows them most liberty is a democracy”:

” What I Believe” (1939)

What is Wrong with Capitalism?

As one of the great Anglican archbishops put it, if an economic system ” is abundantly effective in producing and distributing material goods, but creates or intensifies divisions and hostilities between people, that system is condemned, not on economic but on moral grounds, not because it fails to deliver the goods, but because it is a source of wrong personal relationships”:

William Temple, Christianity and the Social Order (1942).

The State Exists for its Citizens

William Temple wrote that each individual was the child of God ” and destined for eternal fellowship with God… All life should be conducted and ordered with this dignity in view. The State must not treat the person as having value only so far as they serve its ends, as totalitarian states do; the State exists for its citizens, not the citizens for the State” , as people like the Nazis believed.

Christianity and the Social Order (1942)

Does Evolution Make Life Meaningless?

“As we look at the continuous course of Evolution, we ought not to say: ‘ After all, it all comes from a nebula with no life or meaning, so it , too, is without life or meaning’. Rather we should say: ‘ See what has come from that dead nebula; how full of potentiality it really was”.

We cannot interpret the higher and more complex in terms of the lower and simpler; rather we must interpret the lower in terms of the higher, seeing in it the potentiality of the latter. Origin is not to be confused with either essence or validity. If people tell us that religion is the survival of natural magic, we reply: ‘ And so is the science that told you so; but that does not affect the validity either of the science or the religion’ “.

William Temple, The Nature of Personality (1915)

Mind at the End of its Tether

In one of his last works H. G. Wells wrote this:

” The writer sees the world as a jaded world devoid of recuperative power… The old men behave for the most part meanly and disgustingly, and the young are spasmodic, foolish and all too easily misled. Man must go steeply up or down and the odds seem to be all in favour of his going down and out. If he goes up, then so great is the adaptation demanded of him that he must cease to be a man. Ordinary man is at the end of his tether. Only a small, highly adaptable minority of the species can possibly survive”:

Mind at the End of its Tether (1945)

H. G. Wells on Insane Rulers

In 1939 Wells declared that Hitler was insane:

“But insanity has its advantages as well as its handicaps. It involves an abnormal concentration of purpose and nervous energy. In its phase of mania it abolishes or at least defers fatigue and sustains long spells of sleepless vigilance and penetrating distrust far beyond the compass of normal people”

The Fate of Homo Sapiens

See any parallels?