Conchshell Chronicles

July 2023 Conchshell Chronicles

July 2023 Conchshell Chronicles

The Rationalist movement and the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th century proclaimed the goodness of mankind,’ - that men and women were basically good, but had been oppressed by government, religion and society in general. Philosophers like Rousseau, Locke, and Voltaire proposed changes to government, education, economic systems, and social order to give mankind the opportunities to demonstrate their inherent goodness.

One of these champions of mankind’s goodness was Beatrice Webb, who was a member of the Fabian Society, a British socialist society that advocated intervention in economics, education, and government to promote social democracy. She and her husband Sidney, founded and funded the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1895. She worked hard all her life to see mankind walk in the fullness of goodness.

But then there was World War I, where 25% of all British males between ages 20 and 30 were either killed or wounded in that bloody war- over one million casualties. That was followed by a bloody revolution in Russia, where millions were slaughtered by the socialist-communist government.

Beatrice kept a diary, and in 1925 she wrote: In my dairy in  1890 I wrote: ‘I have staked everything on the essential goodness of human nature,’ but now, 35 years later, I have realized how permanent are the evil impulses and instincts in us and how little they seem to change- like greed for wealth and power and how mere social machinery will never change that. We must ask better things from human nature but will we get a response? No amount of      science or knowledge has been of any avail and unless we curb the bad impulse how will we get better social institutions?”

A remarkable statement from someone who should know!

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