The Altruist in Politics - Benjamin Cardozo - Страница 1 из 8

By Benjamin Cardozo
Transcriber's Note:
"The Altruist in Politics" was delivered by Cardozo as his commencement
oration at Columbia College in 1889. It was never copyrighted. Columbia
University, which administers Cardozo's literary estate, has explicitly
granted permission to Project Gutenberg to publish it.
There comes not seldom a crisis in the life of men, of nations, and of
worlds, when the old forms seem ready to decay, and the old rules of
action have lost their binding force. The evils of existing systems
obscure the blessings that attend them; and, where reform is needed, the
cry is raised for subversion. The cause of such phenomena is not far to
seek. "It used to appear to me," writes Count Tolstoi, in a significant
passage, "it used to appear to me that the small number of cultivated,
rich and idle men, of whom I was one, composed the whole of humanity,
and that the millions and millions of other men who had lived and are
still living were not in reality men at all." It is this spirit-the
spirit that sees the whole of humanity in the few, and throws into the
background the millions and millions of other men-it is this spirit that
has aroused the antagonism of reformers, and made the decay of the old
forms, the rupture of the old restrictions, the ideal of them and of
their followers. When wealth and poverty meet each other face to face,
the one the master and the other the dependent, the one exalted and

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