George Bernard Shaw

Everybody's Political What's What

Confronted with these facts our sentimental hearthstone vaporing about parental care and me sacredness of the family as the inviolable unit of human society is only an excuse for doing nothing. Element­ary civilization is impossible without a moral code like the Ten Commandments, a technique of language, writing, and arithmetic, and a legal code of compulsory behavior completely abolishing individual liberty and free will within its scope. Unless people can be depended on to behave in an expected manner they cannot live in society, and must be either corrected or, if incorrigible, killed. Their life must be mostly dictated and institutional, and mere activities determined and predicable. And somebody must teach me codes to the children. They must be imposed on the child dogmatic­ally until it is old enough to understand them.
They can be imposed in various ways, by merciless whippings of children and cruel punishments of adults as well as by less savage and mischievous methods ; but they must be imposed somehow, or me human world will be an Alsatian madhouse. The necessity is fundamental; and the statesman who imagines that a formula of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, will solve all his problems will discover, if he is capable of learning from experience, that liberty must give way to equality and that fraternity may mean either the fraternity of Cain and Abel or the friendship of David and Jonathan. Children, if they are to grow up as citizens, must learn a good deal that their parents could not teach them even if they had the necessary time. The statesman must make provision for this teaching or he will presently find himself faced with the impossible task of maintaining civilization witl1 savages instead of citizens.
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