I seem to be searching for a new politics.
The movements of our time in politics, science, religion, and sociology are toward a loftier conception of the human thought and constant upward tendency. I am content with the grand, sweeping advance, stamping an optimism on the age.
Has not the time come, indeed, when politics should ascend into atmospheres and regions hitherto unknown (far, far different from the miserable business that of late and current years passes under that name) and take rank with science, philosophy, and art?
These heated, torn, distracted ages are to be compacted and made whole—
I say discuss all and expose all.
Great is liberty! Great is equality! I am their follower.
O such themes—equalities! Libertad and the divine average!
Without extinction is liberty, without retrograde is equality.
I sing to the last the equalities modern or old,
For the sake of him I typify, for the common average man’s sake,
To bring forward and modify everything else with the idea of that something a man is, divine in his own right, and a woman in hers, sole and untouchable by any canons of authority, or any rule derived from precedent, the acts of legislatures, or even from what is called religion.
The democratic principle is the only effectual method for surely, however slowly, training people on a large scale toward voluntarily ruling and managing themselves—the ultimate aim of political and all other development;
Instead of being ruled by the old complex laws, and the involved machinery of all governments, the people shall be ruled mainly by individual character and conviction.
The final meaning of democracy is to put in practice the idea of the sovereignty, license, sacredness of the individual. This idea isolates, for reasons, each separate man and woman in the world—while the idea of love fuses and combines the whole; we need satisfiers, joiners, lovers.
The influence and coloring of the great oceanic mass called society carries every member along with it; no person can entirely escape from it, whether he will or no.
Individual and society—at present they are contradictory—there are opposite sides, as to every great question—their oppositions form a serious problem and paradox.
The theory and practice of both sovereignties, contradictory as they are, are necessary.
The problem, I say, is to combine the two, so as not to ignore either; our task is to reconcile them.
As the centripetal law were fatal alone, or the centrifugal law deadly and destructive alone, but together forming the law of eternal cosmical action, evolution, preservation, and life,
So the two will merge, and will mutually profit and brace each other, and from them a greater product, a third, will arise.
Out of the fusing of these twain, opposite as they are, I seek to make a homogeneous song.
At last, only the average man of a land is important;
It is mainly or altogether to serve independent separatism that we favor a strong generalization, consolidation.
The mass, for imperative reasons, is to be ever carefully weigh’d, borne in mind, and provided for—only from it, and from its proper regulation and potency, comes the chance of individualism.
The main sustenance for highest separate personality is to come from that general sustenance of the aggregate, (as air, earth, rains, give sustenance to a tree,)
And such personality, by democratic standards, will only be fully coherent, grand, and free through the cohesion, grandeur, and freedom of the common aggregate;
The supply of such individualities wholly depends on a compacted ensemble —by itself alone, the fullness of individuality, even the sanest, would surely destroy itself.
With all the necessities and benefits of association, the valuable and well-settled statement of our duties and relations in society, (and the world cannot get along without it,) the true nobility and satisfaction of a man consist in his thinking and acting for himself. The idea of perfect individualism it is indeed that deepest tinges and gives character to the idea of the aggregate—the building up of the masses by building up grand individuals.
The forming of a great aggregate nation is, perhaps, altogether through the forming of myriads of fully develop’d and enclosing individuals—the nation, as a common aggregate of living identities, affording in each a separate and complete subject for freedom, worldly thrift and happiness, and for a fair chance for growth, and for protection in citizenship.
An individual is as superb as a nation when he has the qualities which make a superb nation;
Two main constituents for a truly grand nationality: 1st, a large variety of character, and 2d, full play for human nature to expand itself in numberless and even conflicting directions.