No National Stability Without Morality -- By: Charges W. Super
BSac 54:214 (Apr 1897) p. 293
No National Stability Without Morality
There is, perhaps, no thought that occupies men’s minds more frequently at the present time than admiration for the wonderful age in which we live. Nor is this surprising. When one compares the close of the year 1896 with that of the latter years of the sixties, and examines somewhat in detail the inventions and discoveries of the intervening period, he finds himself indeed in a new world. In no one particular has public opinion undergone a more marked change than in the estimate placed upon the value of knowledge, per se. So many secrets have been wrung from the keeping of material nature, and the knowledge thus gained has been turned, in so many ways, to the effective service of man, that the world seems to be looking for its temporal salvation in this direction. That the increase of the public welfare is commensurate with the advance of knowledge is an axiom that has influenced public opinion within the last few decades to a remarkable degree.
The most tangible expression of this belief is the liberality shown, both by states and individuals, in the establishment and support of institutions for the highest education. It is entirely safe to say that more money has been donated and voted for this purpose during the last ten or fifteen years than during the entire preceding history of our country. Most of it has come from men, and by the votes of men, whose scholastic qualifications are not above the average. They have been influenced in their action by the
BSac 54:214 (Apr 1897) p. 294
tide of popular opinion, perhaps far more than by their own inclination, at least in a majority of instances. But this estimate of the value of knowledge is not confined to the United States. France has been extraordinarily liberal in its provision for both elementary and higher education. The Republic has literally covered the country with normal schools and faculties, corresponding to some extent to German universities. Germany has for a long time been conspicuous for its liberality in educational matters. Strangely, too, the Germans, under a government verging on a despotism, promote education, in order to maintain their political institutions; while France and the United States are pursuing the same course, in order to strengthen their free institutions. We have been persistently reminded that we must educate, or we must perish by our own prosperity; and that, unless we do so, we shall inevitably lose the liberties that have been handed down to us from our fathers. It is hard to see how anything can produce two diametrically opposite effects, and it may be profitable to examine the foundation upon which the popular belief rests.
If the effect of the general diffu...
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