In Search of Community
Paul Goodman’s series on American youth is completed by this third and last essay; the previous two were printed in the February and March issues. All, somewhat expanded, will appear as chapters of his new book, Growing Up Absurd, to be published in the summer by Random House.
The use of history, Benjamin Nelson has said, is to rescue from oblivion the lost causes of the past. History is especially important when those causes haunt us in the present as unfinished business.
I have spoken before of the “missed revolutions” that we have inherited. My idea is that it is not with impunity that fundamental social changes fail to take place at the appropriate time; the following generations are embarrassed and confused by their lack. This subject would warrant a special study. Some revolutions fail to occur; most half-occur or are compromised, attaining some of their objectives, effecting significant social changes; but giving up on others, producing ambiguous values in the social whole that would not exist if the change had been more thoroughgoing. For in general, a profound revolutionary program projects a new workable kind of behavior, a new actuality of the nature of man, a new whole society; just as the traditional society it tries to replace is a whole society that the revolutionists think is out of date. But a compromised revolution tends to disrupt the tradition without achieving a new social balance.
It is the argument of these essays that the accumulation of the missed and compromised revolutions of modern times, with their consequent ambiguities and social imbalances, has fallen, and must fall, most heavily on the young, making it hard to grow up.
A man who has attained maturity and independence can pick and choose among the immense modern advances and somewhat wield them as his way of life. If he has a poor society, an adult cannot be very happy, he will not have simple goals nor achieve classical products, but he can fight and work anyway. But for children and adolescents it is indispensable to have a coherent, fairly simple, and viable society to grow up into; otherwise they are confused, and some are squeezed out. Tradition has been broken, yet there is no new standard to affirm. Culture becomes eclectic, sensational, or phony. (Our present culture is all three.) A successful revolution establishes a new community. A missed revolution makes irrelevant the community that persists. And a compromised revolution tends to shatter the community that was, without an adequate substitute. But as we have argued earlier, it is precisely for the young that the geographical and historical community and its patriotism are the important environment, as they draw away from their parents and until they can act on their own with fully developed powers.
Now, let us collect the missed or compromised fundamental social changes that we have had occasion to mention; calling attention to what was achieved and what failed to be achieved, and the consequent confused situation which then actually confronts the youth growing up.
Let us start with the physical environment.
Technocracy. In our own century, philosophers of the new technology, like Veblen, or Fuller, succeeded in making efficiency and know-how the chief ethical values of the folk, creating a mystique of “production,” and a kind of streamlined aesthetics. But they did not succeed in wresting management from the businessmen and creating their own world of a neat and transparent physical plant and a practical economics of production and distribution. The actual results have been slums of engineering, confused and useless overproduction, gadgetry, and new tribes of middlemen, promoters, and advertisers.
Urbanism. As Le Corbusier or Gropius urged, we have increasingly the plan and style of functional architecture; biological standards of housing; scientific study of traffic and city services; some zoning; and the construction of large-scale projects. But nowhere is realized the ideal of over-all community planning, the open green city, or the organic relation of work, living, and play. The actual results have been increasing commutation and traffic, segregated ghettos, a “functional” style little different from packaging, and the tendency of some basic urban functions, like recreation or schooling, to be squeezed out altogether.
Garden City. Their opposite numbers, the Garden City planners after Ebenezer Howard, have achieved some planned communities protected by green belts. But they did not get their integrated towns, planned for industry, local commerce, and living. The result is that actual suburbs and garden cities are dormitories with a culture centering around small children, with absence of the wage earner. “Planning” like the so-called shopping centers disrupts such village-communities as there were. The effort to conserve the wilds succumbs to the cars and all areas are regulated.
Let us proceed to economic and social changes.
New Deal. The Keynesian economics of the New Deal has cushioned the business cycle and maintained nearly full employment. It has not achieved its ideal of social balance between public and private works. The result is an expanding production increasingly consisting of corporation boondoggling.
Syndicalism. Industrial workers have won their unions, obtained better wages and working conditions, and affirmed the dignity of labor. But they gave up their ideal of workers’ management, technical education, and concern for the utility of their labor. The result is that a vast majority couldn’t care less about what they make, and the labor movement is losing force.
Class Struggle. The working class has achieved a striking repeal of the iron law of wages; it has won a minimum wage and social security. But the goal of an equalitarian or freely mobile society has been given up, as has the solidarity of the underprivileged. The actual result is an increasing rigidity of statuses and some of the underprivileged tending to drop out of society altogether. On the other hand, the cultural equality that has been achieved has been the degradation of the one popular culture to a low common denominator.
Production for Use. This socialist goal has been missed, resulting in many of the other failures here listed.
Sociology. During the past century, the sociologists have achieved their aim of dealing with mankind in its natural groups or groups with common problems, rather than as isolated individuals or a faceless mass. Social science has replaced many prejudices and ideologies of vested interests. But, on the whole, social scientists have given up their aim of fundamental social change and an open-experimental method determining its goals as it went along: the pragmatist ideal of society as a laboratory for freedom and self-correcting humanity. The actual result is an emphasis on “socializing” and “belonging,” with the loss of nature, culture, group solidarity and group variety, and individual excellence.
Next, political and constitutional reforms.
Democracy. The democratic revolution succeeded in extending formal self-government and opportunity to nearly everybody, regardless of birth, property, or education. But it gave up the ideal of the town meeting, with the initiative and personal involvement that alone could train people in self-government and give them practical knowledge of political issues. The actual result has been the formation of a class of politicians who govern, and who are themselves symbolic front figures.
The Republic. Correspondingly, the self-determination won by the American Revolution for the regional states, that should have made possible real political experimentation, soon gave way to a national conformity; nor has the nation as a whole conserved its resources and maintained its ideals. The result is a deadening centralism, with neither local patriotism nor national patriotism. The best people do not offer themselves for public office, and no one has the aim of serving the Republic.
Freedom of Speech. Typical is the fate of the hard-won constitutional freedoms, like freedom of speech. Editors and publishers have stopped trying to give an effective voice to important but unpopular opinions. Anything can be printed, but the powerful interests have the big presses. Only the safe opinion is proclaimed and other opinion is swamped.
Liberalism. The liberal revolution succeeded in shaking off onerous government controls on enterprise, but it did not persist to its goal of real public wealth as the result of free enterprise and honestly informed choice on the market. The actual result is an economy dominated by monopolies, in which the earnest individual entrepreneur or inventor, who could perform a public service, is actively discouraged; and consumer demand is synthetic.
Agrarianism. Conversely, the Jeffersonian ideal of a proud and independent productive yeomanry, with natural family morals and a cooperative community spirit, did in fact energize settling the West and providing the basis for our abundance. But failing to cope with technological changes and withstand speculation, “farming as a way of life” has succumbed to cash-cropping dependent on distant markets and is ridden with mortgages, tenancy, and hired labor. Yet it maintains a narrow rural morality and isolationist politics, is a sucker for the mass-culture of Madison Avenue and Hollywood, and in the new cities (e.g. migrating to California) is a bulwark against genuine city culture.
Liberty. Constitutional safeguards of person were won. But with the increasing concentration of state power and mass pressures, no effort was made to give to individuals and small groups new means easily to avail themselves of the safeguards. The result is that there is no longer the striking individuality of free men; even quiet nonconformity is hounded; there is no asylum from coast to coast; and the Organized System of monopolies dictates what you wear and whom you marry.
Fraternity. This short-lived ideal of the French Revolution, animating a whole people and uniting all classes as a community, soon gave way to a dangerous nationalism. The ideal somewhat revived as the solidarity of the working class, but this too has faded into either philanthropy or “belonging.”
Brotherhood of Races. The Civil War won formal rights for Negroes, but failed to win social justice and factual democracy. The actual result has been segregation, and fear and ignorance for both whites and blacks.
Pacifism. This revolution has been entirely missed.
Let us proceed to some more general moral premises of modern times.
Reformation. The Protestant Reformation won the possibility of living religiously in the world, freed individuals from the domination of the priest, and led, indirectly, to the toleration of private conscience. But it failed to withstand the secular power; it did not cultivate the meaning of vocation as a community function; and in most sects the spirit of the churches did not spring from their living congregations but was handed down as dogma and ascetic discipline. The final result has been secularism, individualism, the subordination of human beings to a rational economic system, and churches irrelevant to practical community life. Meantime, acting merely as a negative force, the jealous sectarian conscience has driven religion out of social thought.
Modern Science. The scientific revolution associated with the name of Galileo freed thinking of superstition and academic tradition and won attention to the observation of nature. But it failed to modify and extend its method to social and moral matters, and indeed science got further from ordinary experience. With the dominance of science and applied science in our times, the result has been a specialist class of scientists and technicians, the increasing ineptitude of the average person, a disastrous dichotomy of “neutral” facts vs. “arbitrary” values, making impossible a natural ethics, and a superstition of scientism that has put people out of touch with nature, as well as arousing a growing hostility to science.
Enlightenment. The Enlightenment unseated tyrannies of state and church with a triumph of reason over authority. But its universalism failed to survive nationalism, except among specialists of science and learning, and its ideal of encyclopedic reason as the passionate guide to life degenerated to the 19th-century Encyclopaedia Britannica. Now even science is concealed for strategic purposes; there is international communication without brotherhood; and it is felt that the rule of reason is infinitely impractical.
Honesty. The revolt of honest speech that we associate with Ibsen, Flaubert, etc. and also with the muckrakers, broke down the hypocrisy of Victorian prudishness and of exploiting pillars of society; it re-opened discussion and renovated language; and it weakened official censorship. But it failed to insist on the close relation between honest speech and corresponding action. The result has been a weakening of the obligation to act according to speech, so that, ironically, the real motives of public and private behavior are more in the dark than ever before.
Popular Culture. This ideal, that we may associate in literature with the name of Sam Johnson and the Fleet Street journalists, and in the plastic arts with Morris and Ruskin, freed culture from aristocratic and snobbish patrons. It made thought and design relevant to everyday manners. But it did not succeed in establishing an immediate relation between the writer or artist and his audience. The result is that the popular culture is controlled by hucksters and promoters like a saleable commodity, and our society, inundated by cultural commodities, remains uncultivated.
Finally, some reforms directly connected with children and adolescents.
No Child Labor. Children have been rescued from the exploitation and training of factories and sweat shops. But, relying on the public schools and the apprentice training in an expanding and open economy, the reformers did not develop a philosophy of capacity and vocation. Nor, since there were many small jobs, did they face the problems of a growing boy needing to earn some money. In our days, the result is that growing youths are idle and vocationally useless, and often economically desperate. The schools, on the contrary, become apprentice training grounds paid for by the public.
Compulsory Education. This gave to all children a certain equality of opportunity in an open expanding industrial society. Formal elementary discipline was sufficient when the environment was educative and provided opportunities for advancement. In our circumstances, formal literacy is less relevant, and overcrowding and official interference make individual attention and real teaching impossible; so that it could be said that the schools are as stupefying as they are educative, and compulsory education is often like a jail.
Sexual Revolution. This has accomplished a freeing of animal functioning in general, has pierced repression, importantly relaxed inhibition, weakened legal and social sanctions, and diminished the strict animal training of small children. The movement has not so much failed as that it is still in process, strongly resisted by inherited prejudices, fears, and jealousies. By and large it has not won practical freedom for older children and adolescents. The actual present result is that they are trapped by inconsistent rules, suffer because of excessive stimulation and inadequate discharge, and become preoccupied with sexual thoughts as if these were the whole of life.
Permissiveness. Children have more freedom of spontaneous behavior, and their dignity and spirit are not crushed by humiliating punishments in school and in very many homes. But this permissiveness has not extended to provide also means and conditions: young folk might be sexually free but have no privacy; they are free to be angry, but have no asylum to escape from home, and no way to get their own money. Besides, where upbringing is permissive, it is necessary to have strong values and esteemed behavior at home and in the community, so that the child can have worthwhile goals to structure his experience; and of course it is just these that are lacking. So permissiveness often leads to anxiety and weakness instead of confidence and strength.
Progressive Education. This radical proposal, aimed at solving the dilemmas of education in the modern circumstances of industrialism and democracy, was never given a chance. It succeeded in destroying the faculty-psychology in the interests of educating the whole person, and in emphasizing group-experience, but failed to introduce learning-by-doing of real problems. The actual result of the gains has been to weaken the academic curriculum and foster adjustment to society as it is.
Let us consider the beginning, the ending, and the middle of these little paragraphs.
The names I have printed in italics form, in their summation, a kind of program of modern man. It is evident that every one of these twenty-odd positions was invented-and-discovered as a response to specific historical conditions. The political positions were developed to oppose the absolutism of the kings who had unified the warring feudal states; the economic ideals fitted expanding enterprise and settling the West; the program for children and adolescents has been a response to modern industrialism and urbanism; and so forth. But it does not follow, as some sociologists think, that they can therefore be superseded and forgotten as conditions change.
Consider the following of C. Wright Mills: “The ideals that we Westerners associate with the classic, liberal, bourgeois period of modern culture may well be rooted in this one historical stage of this one type of society. Such ideals as personal freedom and cultural autonomy may not be inherent, necessary features of cultural life as such.” This is like saying that tragic poetry or mathematics were “rooted” in the Greek way of life and are not “inherently” human. This kind of thinking is the final result of the recent social-scientific attitude that culture is added onto a featureless animal, rather than being the invention-and-discovery of human powers. This is effectually to give up the modern enterprise altogether. But we will not give it up. New conditions will be the conditions of, now, this kind of man, stubbornly insisting on the ideals that he has learned he has in him to meet.
Yet the modern positions are not even easily consistent with one another, to form a coherent program. There have been bitter conflicts between Liberty and Equality, Science and Faith, Technology and Syndicalism, and so forth. Nevertheless, we will not give up one or the other, but arduously try to achieve them all and make a coherent program. And indeed, experience has taught that the failure in one of these ideals at once entails failure in others. For instance, failure in social justice weakens political freedom, and this compromises scientific and religious autonomy. “If we continue to be without a socialist movement,” says Frank Marquart, “we may end up without a labor movement.” The setback of progressive education makes the compulsory school system more hopeless, and this now threatens permissiveness, and so forth.
There is no doubt, too, that in our plight new modern positions will be added to these, and these too will be compromised, aborted, their prophetic urgency bureaucratized and ironically transformed into the opposite. But there it is.
If we now collect the actual, often ironical, results of so much noble struggle, we get a clear but exaggerated picture of our American society. It has: slums of engineering—boondoggling production—chaotic congestion—tribes of middlemen—basic city functions squeezed out—garden cities for children—indifferent workmen—underprivileged on a dole—empty “belonging” without nature or culture—front politicians—no patriotism—an isolationist nationalism bound for a cataclysmically disastrous finish—wise opinion swamped—enterprise sabotaged by monopoly—prejudice rising—religion otiose—the popular culture debased—science specialized—the average man inept—youth idle and truant—youth sexually suffering and sexually obsessed—youth without goals.
This picture is not unjust, but it is exaggerated. For it omits, of course, all the positive factors and the ongoing successes. We have a persisting grand culture. There is a steady advance of science, scholarship, and the fine arts. A steady improvement in health and medicine. An economy of abundance and, in many ways, a genuine civil peace. And most of all there is the remarkable resilience and courage that belong to human beings. Also, the Americans, for all their folly and conformity, are often thrillingly sophisticated and impatient of hypocrisy.
Yet there is one grim actuality that even this exaggerated picture does not reveal, the creeping defeatism and surrender by default to the organized system of the state and semi-monopolies. International Business Machines and organized psychologists effectually determine the method of school examinations and personnel selection. As landlords, Webb and Knapp and Metropolitan Life decide what our domestic habits should be; and, as “civic developers” they plan communities, even though their motive is simply a “long term modest profit” on investment, while millions are ill-housed. “What is good for General Motors,” says Secretary Wilson, “is good for the country,” even though it is demonstrably ruinous for the cities, ruinous for the young, etc. Madison Avenue and Hollywood not only debauch their audiences but, pre-empting the means of communication, they prevent anything else from existing. With only occasional flagrant breaches of legality, the interlocking police forces and the FBI make people cowed and speechless. That Americans can allow this kind of thing rather than demolishing it with a blow of the paw like a strong lion, is the psychology of missed revolutions.
For our positive purposes in this essay, it is the middle parts of our paragraphs that warrant study: the failures, the fallings-short, the compromises. Imagine that these modern radical positions had been more fully achieved, we should have a society where:
A premium is placed on technical improvement and on the engineering style of functional simplicity and clarity. Where the community is planned as a whole, with an organic integration of work, living, and play. Where buildings have the variety of their functions and the uniformity of the prevailing technology. Where a lot of money is spent on public goods. Where workers are technically educated and have a say in management. Where no one drops out of society and there is an easy mobility of classes. Where production is primarily for use. Where social groups are laboratories for solving their own problems experimentally. Where democracy begins in the town meeting and a man seeks office because he has a program. Where regional variety is encouraged and there is pride in the Republic. And young men are free of conscription. Where all are citizens of the universal Republic of Reason. Where it is the policy to give an adequate voice to the unusual and unpopular opinion, and to give a trial and a market to new enterprise. Where people are not afraid to make friends. Where races are factually equal. Where vocation is sought out and cultivated as God-given capacity, to be conserved and embellished, and where the church is the spirit of its congregation. Where ordinary experience is habitually scientifically assayed by the average man. Where it is felt that the suggestion of reason is practical. And speech leads to the corresponding action. Where the popular culture is a daring and passionate culture. Where children can make themselves useful and get their own money. Where their sexuality is taken for granted. Where the community carries on its important adult business and the children fall in at their own pace. And where education is concerned with fostering human powers as they develop in the growing child.
In such a Utopian society, it would be very easy to grow up. There would be plenty of objective, worthwhile activities for a child to observe, fall in with, do, learn, improvise on his own. It is not the spirit of modern times that makes our society difficult for the young; it is that that spirit has not sufficiently realized itself.
In this light, the present plight of the young is not surprising. In the rapid changes, people have not kept enough in mind that the growing young also exist and the world must fit their needs. (So instead, we have the present phenomena of excessive attention to the children as such, in psychology and suburbs, and coping with “juvenile delinquency” as if it were an entity.) Adults fighting for some profoundly conceived fundamental change naturally give up, exhausted, when they have achieved some gain that makes life tolerable again and seems to be the substance of their demand. But to grow up, the young need a world that makes easier sense.
Indeed, the bother with the above little Utopian sketch is that many adults would (I hope) be restive in such a stable modern world if it were achieved. They would say: it is a fine place for growing boys. I agree.
I think the case is as follows: every profound new proposal, of culture or institution, invents-and-discovers a new property of “Human Nature.” Henceforth it is going to be in these terms that a young fellow will grow up and find his identity and his task. So if we accumulate the revolutionary proposals of modern times, we have named the goals of modern education. We saw that it was the aim of Progressive Education to carry this program through.
The existing local community, region, and nation is the real environment of the young. Conversely, we could define community spirit and patriotism as the conviction in which it is possible to grow up. (An independent and not-too-defeated adult confronts a broader historical, international, and cosmic scene as his environment for action; and he can live by dissent.)
Fundamental changes occurring with unusual rapidity have shattered tradition. We have no recourse to going back, there is nothing to go back to. If we are to have a stable and whole community in which the young can grow to manhood, we must painfully perfect the revolutionary modern tradition that we have.
Yet this stoical resolve is, paradoxically, a conservative proposition, aiming at stability and social balance. For often it is not a question of making innovations, but of catching up and restoring right proportions. But no doubt in our runaway one-sided way of life, the proposal to conserve human resources and develop human capacities has become a radical innovation.
Right proportion cannot be restored by adding a few new teachers formally equivalent to the growth of population. We must look for the human scale in our present situation to find how many more minds must be put to educating. Even Dr. Conant says that we must nearly double our present annual expenditure for teaching alone, not counting plant and the central schools he wants.
It must be understood that with the increase in population and crowding, the number and variety of human services increase geometrically, and the laissez-faire areas, both physical and social, decrease. Therefore the units of human service, such as school classes or the clientele of a physician (and even political districts), ought to be made smaller, to avoid the creation of masses, mass-teaching, mass-medicine, mass-psychotherapy, mass-penology. Yet our normal schools and medical schools cannot cope with even the present arithmetical increase.
Similarly, right proportion requires reversing the goal in vocational guidance, from fitting the man to the machine and chopping him down to fit, to finding opportunity in the economy that brings out the man, and if you can’t find such an opportunity, make it. This involves encouraging new small enterprises and unblocking and perhaps underwriting invention. Again, if at present production is inhuman and stupid, it is that too few minds are put to it: this can be remedied by giving the workman more voice in production, and the kind of training to make that voice wise.
Probably, right proportion involves considerable decentralizing and increasing the rural-urban ratio. Certainly it involves transforming the scores of thousands of neglected small places, hopelessly dull and same, into interesting villages that someone could be proud of. A lot of the booming production has got to go into publicly useful goods, proportionate to the apparently forgotten fact that it is on public grounds, because of public investment and the growth of population, that private wealth is produced and enjoyed and reinvested. We have to learn again, what city-man always used to know, that belonging to the city, to its squares, its markets, its neighborhoods, and its high culture, is a public good; it is not a field for investment to yield a long-term modest profit to a promoter. A proportionate allocation of public funds, again, is not likely to devote more money to escape roads convenient for automobiles than to improving the city center. (If I may make a pleasant suggestion, we could underwrite a handsome program for serious adult leisure by a 10 per cent luxury tax on new cars; it would yield over a billion.)
Since prosperity itself has made it more difficult for the underprivileged immigrant to get started, right proportion requires devoting all the more money and ingenuity to helping him find himself and get started. And some way will have to be found, again, for a man to be decently poor, to work for a subsistence without necessarily choosing to involve himself in the total high standard economy. One way of achieving this would be directly producing subsistence goods in (relative) isolation from the total economy.
In arts and letters, there is a right balance between the customary social standard and creative novelty, and between popular entertainment and aesthetic experience. Then, to offset Hollywood and Madison Avenue, we must have hundreds of new little theaters, little magazines, and journals of dissenting opinion with means of circulation, because it is only in such that new things can develop and begin to win their way in the world.
It is essential that our democratic legislatures and public spokesmen be balanced by more learned and serious voices that, as in Britain, can disinterestedly broach fundamental issues of community-plan, penal code, morality, cultural tone, with some certainty of reaching a public forum and some possibility of being effective. For there is no other way of getting the best to lead, to have some conviction and even passionate intensity, to save America from going to managers, promoters, and politicians by default.
Certainly right proportion, in a society tightly organized and conformist, requires a vast increase in the jealous safeguards of civil liberties, to put the fear of God back into local police, district attorneys, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Here is a program of more than a dozen essentials, all practicable, all difficult. A wiser and more experienced author could no doubt suggest a dozen more. The prevalent presumption that it is hard to think of ways out of our troubles, that we need “a new ethics, a new aesthetics,” is not serious. And the other prevalent presumption, that it is infinitely impractical to follow the suggestions of reason, is not serious. It is not impractical; it is that some people don’t want to, and the rest of us don’t want to enough.
Let me expand one of the above points: making sense of adult leisure.
What are the present goals of the philosophers of leisure, for instance the National Recreation Association? And now imagine those goals achieved. There would be a hundred million adults who have cultured hobbies to occupy their spare time: some expert on the flute, some with do-it-yourself kits, some good at chess and go, some square-dancing, some camping out and enjoying nature, and all playing various athletic games. Leaf through the entire catalogue of the National Recreation Association, take all the items toegther, apply them to one hundred million adults—and there is the picture. The philosophy of leadership, correspondingly, is to get people to participate, everybody must “belong.”
Now even if all these people were indeed getting deep personal satisfaction from these activities, this is a dismaying picture. It doesn’t add up to anything. It isn’t important. There is no ethical necessity in it, no standard. One cannot waste a hundred million people that way.
The error is in the NRA’s basic concept of recreation. Let me quote from a recent editorial in Recreation: Recreation is “any activity participated in . . . merely for the enjoyment it affords. . . . The rewards of recreational activities depend upon the degree to which they provide outlets for personal interests.” Outlets again, as in the Governor of New York’s prescription for the juvenile delinquents. But enjoyment is not a goal, it is a feeling that accompanies important ongoing activity. Pleasure, as Freud said, is always dependent on function.
From the present philosophy of leisure, no new culture can emerge. What is lacking is worthwhile community necessity, as the serious leisure of the Athenians had community necessity, whether in the theater, the games, the architecture and festivals, or even the talk.
That we find it hard to think in these terms is a profound sign of our social imbalance. Yet we do not need “a new ethics, a new aesthetic.” For the activities of serious leisure are right there, glaring, in our communities, to avoid shame and achieve grandeur.
But the question is: if there is little interest, honor, or manliness in the working part of our way of life, can we hope for much in the leisure part?
* * *
The best exposition of what I have been trying to say in this essay is the classic of conservative thinking, Coleridge’s On the Constitution of the Church and State. His point in that essay is simply this: In order to have citizens, you must first be sure that you have produced men. There must therefore be a large part of the common wealth specifically devoted to cultivating “freedom and civilization,” and especially to the education of the young growing up.