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With the destructive power of today's weapons, keeping the peace is not just a goal; it's a sacred obligation. But maintaining peace requires more than sincerity and idealism—more than optimism and good will. As you know well, peace is a product of hard, strenuous labor by those dedicated to its preservation. It requires realism, not wishful thinking.
Laborare est orare. [To work is to pray.] By the Puritan moralist the ancient maxim is repeated with a new and intenser significance. The labor which he idealizes is not simply a requirement imposed by nature, or a punishment for the sin of Adam. It is itself a kind of ascetic discipline, more rigorous than that demanded of any order of mendicants—a discipline imposed by the will of God, and to be undergone, not in solitude, but in the punctual discharge of secular duties. It is not merely an economic means, to be laid aside when physical needs have been satisfied. It is a spiritual end, for in it alone can the soul find health, and it must be continued as an ethical duty long after it has ceased to be a material necessity.
At this point, an urgent question arises: … Is it our duty to seek to become a thorough and complete human being, one quite sufficient unto himself; or, on the contrary, to be only a part of a whole, the organ of an organism? Briefly, is the division of labor, at the same time that it is a law of nature, also a moral rule of human conduct; and, if it has this latter character, why and in what degree?
The most serious problems lie in the financial sphere, where the economy's debt overhead has grown more rapidly than the 'real' economy's ability to carry this debt. … The essence of the global financial bubble is that savings are diverted to inflate the stock market, bond market and real estate prices rather than to build new factories and employ more labor.
The bourgeoisie first betrayed society through capitalism and finance, and now labor betrays it by embracing a scheme of things which sees profit only, not duty and honor, in work. This view will seem hopelessly unrealistic to those who do not admit that sentiment toward the whole is the only ultimate means of measuring value.
In speaking of the European slave trade, mention must be made of the U.S.A., not only because its dominant population was European but also because Europe transferred its capitalist institutions more completely to North America than to any other part of the globe, and established a powerful form of capitalism—after eliminating the indigenous inhabitants and exploiting the labor of millions of Africans.
From the beginning I urged upon the Government, in the strongest terms, the enlistment of negro troops, the former slaves of the rebels, not only as adding to the number and efficiency of our own forces, but chiefly on account of its depriving the enemy of just so much labor in their fields.
Nature herself, indeed, seems to have given music to us as a benefit, to enable us to endure labors with greater facility, for musical sounds cheer even the rower; and it is not only in those works in which the efforts of many, while some pleasing voice leads them, conspire together that music is of avail, but the toil even of people at work by themselves finds itself soothed by song, however rude.
Those who hold that it is no matter what happens after them, hold a wicked and inhuman doctrine... When we feel in our hearts this indifference to the fleeting, and this warm regard for the permanent, let us believe that God has implanted the instinct for a wise purpose; and then follow it as a heavenly guide. It is manifestly intended to turn us from the labors of the day — from the things which perish when the hand which formed ceases to uphold them — to tile things and objects which endure through indefinite ages — renewing, I should rather say augmenting their magnitude and their benificent fruits with every successive generation.