The Outlook


By W. J. CAMERON, Ford Motor Co.

Broadcast over the Nation-Wide Network of the Columbia Broadcasting System from Detroit, September 28, 1941

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VIII, pp. 32.

PEOPLE everywhere are asking, "What has happened to our world? What has become of human wisdom and human kindness? Whither has our civilization vanished? What does it all mean and what will be the end of it all?" Well, the world is just what it always was—not necessarily what one thought it was. Human wisdom never was so wise as human kindness is kind, and there is wisdom and kindness still among the people. As for civilization, wherever it was it still is. And the meaning of it all may be that the world is in the giant throes of a terrific new birth of unity. Terrible as the spectacle is, the end, unless all truth be false, will be better than we suppose.

May it not be that much of our surprise and disappointment is due to the premises on which we have built some of our thinking? Take for example our thought about the human race. Are we certain it is fully human as yet in all its elements? No, but we are certain it steadily plods upward toward humanity. And is it consciously a race as yet? No, but its gross errors are steadily knocking the idea of racial unity into its collective head. Nowhere in the world has the realization of racial unity made greater progress than among our own and kindred peoples, but we don't need anyone to tell us that even here the sense of racial unity is still a sadly defective thing. So, maybe we have been expecting too much of something that isn't there, but the radiant point is that it's going to be there.

Take our thought of human goodness: Are we aware that our general idea of justice, goodness and kindness is not universally shared? These qualities, to be sure, are the heritage of the human heart everywhere, and they will break through one day with revolutionary force, but in large portions of the earth now, they are violently stamped out as weaknesses. We are disappointed and bewildered because we

thought these virtues were everywhere acknowledged and emulated. The spirit of justice and brotherhood is still an infant crying in the night of the world, but that spirit nevertheless is here, and in spite of the Herods that seek its life it shall grow to be king of men.

These things—humanity, racial solidarity, the social virtues—are in the making, and in these days the making is very rapid.

Now, whether or not this is your view there is one thing you cannot miss seeing—the greatness of all social phenomena today—the rapid unification of the world. One of the stars to steer by in every world confusion is mankind's progress toward unity. As long as that unifying process continues, and we can see it, we may know the world has not been jogged off its course. Ever since the solitary were set in families, and families gathered into clans, and clans became tribes, and tribes grew into federations, and federations into nations, and nations into empires, and empires fell to find a deeper basis of association, this unifying process has not ceased. Twenty years ago the world was broken into scores of hostile fragments; today it has been united into two. Only two world camps confront each other today, representing two basic tendencies. And in our camp—the camp of all who would be free—you will find white men and black men and yellow men; hyperboreans and antipodeans; orientals and occidentals; monarchists, republicans and communists; democracies and dictatorships; Jews, Confucians, Christians and Mohammedans—all in one camp, united in resisting the philosophy of human slavery and the program of human degradation. Talk of unity!—the world never has seen a unity like it!

As long as you can see this going on, lift up your heads, for the subterranean forces that carry and decide the issues are moving with speed and power.