The elementary forces in ethics are probably as plural as those of physics are.
The various ideals have no common character apart from the fact that they are ideals.
The more this principle, laid down by Montesquieu, is considered, the more its truth is felt; the more it is combated, the more chance is given to confirm it by new proofs.
Subjects prize public tranquillity; citizens the freedom of the individual – the former prefer security of possessions, the latter security of person; subjects think the best government is the most severe, citizens that it is the mildest; the former want crimes to be punished, the latter want them prevented; subjects think it is a good thing to be feared by their neighbours, citizens prefer to be ignored by them; the former are satisfied so long as money circulates, the latter demand that the people shall have bread.
Once more, Christianity aids and forwards our intellectual progress, by teaching us to take a large and liberal view of the vast entirety of our complex and wondrously made nature.
It teaches us, if not by the express letter, certainly by the general spirit, to look on our several powers and affections, divers and seemingly inimical though they be, as equally given us by God, and therefore all to be cultivated and matured in their due and fit proportions.
Unless those who rely on such language can elaborate, we are left with category-headings but nothing to fill the space beneath. to which we might add ‘modem’, ‘inclusive’, ‘responsive’, as well as William Hague’s favourite – ‘fresh’ – and Tony Blair’s beloved ‘new’.
All sound splendid, but in fact denote qualities which may be possessed equally by the virtuous, the wicked, the wise, the ignorant or the plain stupid.
] are put forward by intellectuals in Greece concerning the good and the bad. An universal compensation prevails in all conditions of being and existence.
Some say that good is one thing and bad another, while others say that the same thing can be both, and that something may be good for some but bad for others, or sometimes good and sometimes bad for the same person. Good and ill are universally intermingled and confounded; happiness and misery, wisdom and folly, virtue and vice. And it is not possible for us, by our most chimerical wishes, to form the idea of a station or situation altogether desirable.