Each nation has its own peculiar character which distinguishes it from others. But the people of the world have more points in which they are all like each other than points in which they are different. One type of person that is common in every country is the one who always tried to do as little as he possibly can and to get as much in return as he can. His opposite, the man who is in the habit of doing more than is strictly necessary and is ready to accept what is offered in return, is rare everywhere.
Both these types are usually unconscious of their character. The man who avoids effort is always talking about his ‘rights’; he appears to think that society owes him a pleasant easy life. The man who is always doing more than his sheer talks of ‘duties’ feels that the individual is in debt to society, and not society to the individual. As a result of their view, neither of these men thinks that he behaves at all strangely.
The man who talks about his ‘rights’:
The history of the modern world is a record of highly varied activity, of incessant change, and of astonishing achievement. The lives of men have, during the last few centuries, increasingly diversified, their powers have greatly multiplied, their powers have greatly multiplied, their horizon been enormously enlarged. New interests have arisen in rich profusion to absorb attention and to provoke exertion. New aspirations and new emotions have come to move the soul of men. Amid all the bewildering phenomena, interest, in particular, has stood out in clear and growing pre-eminence, has expressed itself in a multitude of ways and with an emphasis more and more pronounced, namely, the determination of the race to gain a larger measure of freedom than it has ever known before, freedom in the life of the intellect and spirit, freedom in the realm of government and law, freedom in the sphere of economic and social relationship. A passion that has prevailed so widely, that has transformed the world so greatly, and is still transforming it, is one that surely merits study and abundantly rewards it, its operations constitute the very pith and marrow of modem history.
Not that this passion was unknown to the long ages that proceeded the modern periods. The ancient Hebrews, the ancient Greeks and Roman blazed the was leaving behind them a precious heritage of accomplishments and suggestions and the men who were responsible for the Renaissance of the fifteenth century and the Reformation of the sixteen century contributed their imperishable part to this slow and difficult emancipation of the human race. But it is in modern times the pace and vigour, the scope and sweep of this liberal movement have so increased unquestionably as to dominate the age, particularly the last three centuries that have registered great triumphs of spirit.
At what time history did the liberal movement enjoys its heyday?