Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.
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Rev. A. C. Auchmuty: Gems from George, a themed collection of excerpts from the writings of Henry George (with links to sources)

Power of Thought

THE power of a special interest, though inimical to the general interest, so to influence common thought as to make fallacies pass as truths, is a great fact, without which neither the political history of our own time and people, nor that of other times and peoples, can be understood. A comparatively small number of individuals brought into virtual though not necessarily formal agreement of thought and action by something that makes them individually wealthy without adding to the general wealth, may exert an influence out of all proportion to their numbers. A special interest of this kind is, to the general interests of society, as a standing army is to an unorganized mob. It gains intensity and energy in its specialization, and in the wealth it takes from the general stock finds power to mold opinion. Leisure and culture and the circumstances and conditions that command respect accompany wealth, and intellectual ability is attracted by it. On the other hand, those who suffer from the injustice that takes from the many to enrich the few, are in that very thing deprived of the leisure to think, and the opportunities, education, and graces necessary to give their thought acceptable expression. They are necessarily the "unlettered," the "ignorant," the "vulgar," prone in their consciousness of weakness to look up for leadership and guidance to those who have the advantages that the possession of wealth can give. — The Science of Political Economy — Book II, Chapter 2, The Nature of Wealth: Causes of Confusion as to the Meaning of Wealth unabridgedabridged

WE may be wise to distrust our knowledge; and, unless we have tested them, to distrust what we may call our reasonings; but never to distrust reason itself. . . . That the powers with which the human reason must work are limited and are subject to faults and failures, our reason itself teaches us as soon as it begins to examine what we find around us and to endeavor to look in upon our own consciousness. But human reason is the only reason that men can have, and to assume that in so far as it can see clearly it does not see truly, is in the man who does it not only to assume the possession of a superior to human reason, but it is to deny the validity of all thought and to reduce the mental world to chaos. — The Science of Political Economy — Book III, Chapter 5, The Production of Wealth: Of Space and Time (unabridged)

SOCIAL reform is not to be secured by noise and shouting; by complaints and denunciation; by the formation of parties, or the making of revolutions; but by the awakening of thought and the progress of ideas. Until there be correct thought, there cannot be right action; and when there is correct thought, right action will follow. Power is always in the hands of the masses of men. What oppresses the masses is their own ignorance, their own short-sighted selfishness. — Social Problems — Chapter 22: Conclusion

LET no one imagine that he has no influence. Whoever he may be, and wherever he may be placed, the man who thinks becomes a light and a power. — Social Problems — Chapter 22: Conclusion

THE power to reason correctly on general subjects is not to be learned in schools, nor does it come with special knowledge. It results from care in separating, from caution in combining, from the habit of asking ourselves the meaning of the words we use and making sure of one step before building another on it — and above all, from loyalty to truth. — A Perplexed Philosopher (Introduction: The Reason for this Examination) ... go to "Gems from George"



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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper