Page:The future of democracy.djvu/15

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it is impelling people to the recognition of the infinite worth of the humblest human being.

Let us see, if that be our ideal, what it carries with it. I want to-night to take this opportunity of putting before you my own view as to what this means for the future policy of the nation. Of course here I touch politics, but I am not speaking to you as a Liberal or a Conservative. If you ask me, I think that our old political creeds have been too narrow. I think the old political ideas are passing away, and that you will find an altogether new organisation of parties springing, up. I want to speak to you as one who has a definite conviction about this matter, and who is only anxious—I am no longer young, but I feel this strongly, and have done so for some time—to devote such time as I have left of my life to the working out of the ideals of which I speak, and contributing as much humble effort as I can to their attainment. So I am not speaking as a politician attached to this Party or the other, but as an individual, and what I put before you represents my personal faith.

The ideal is what I have stated to you—the infinite value of human personality, humble and great standing on the same footing. Let us see what follows from that: it is not the notion of abstract equality. You cannot make all men equal. I will tell you why—because Nature is too powerful. One woman is born beautiful, and another ugly, and that makes a great difference. One man is born with brains, and another without them. One has bad health, and another good health. You cannot alter this fact, and you will never get complete equality in this world. Therefore dismiss that abstract idea of equality from your minds. It is an old notion that has obsessed many people. It has often obsessed the Labour Movement. It did so in 1848, when the idea was that all men should be the same, and that, translated into practice, meant that nobody should rise higher than his fellow. Then there