Persuasion

Found a great quote in a piece that wgreen linked to. I couldn’t access it due to technical reasons, so here’s the original piece from Skousen’s website-

This one small excerpt in a 300-page book changed my entire political philosophy.

Here’s what it says:

“The creation of the world — said Plato — is the victory of persuasion over force… Civilization is the maintenance of social order, by its own inherent persuasiveness as embodying the nobler alternative. The recourse to force, however unavoidable, is a disclosure of the failure of civilization, either in the general society or in a remnant of individuals…

“Now the intercourse between individuals and between social groups takes one of these two forms: force or persuasion. Commerce is the great example of intercourse by way of persuasion. War, slavery, and governmental compulsion exemplify the reign of force.”

Professor Whitehead’s vision of civilized society as the triumph of persuasion over force should become paramount in the mind of all civic-minded individuals and government leaders. It should serve as the guideline for the political ideal.

Let me suggest, therefore, a new political creed: The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilized society.

Voltaire has a similar idea.

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