You will begin, I suppose, by thinking that people who disagree with you and oppress you must be dishonest. Cynicism is the besetting and venial fault of declining youth, and disillusionment its last illusion. It is quite a mistake to suppose that real dishonesty is at an common. The number of rogues is about equal to the number of men who act honestly; and it is very small. The great majority would sooner behave honestly than not. The reason why they do not give way to this natural preference of humanity is that they are afraid that others will not; and the others do not because they are afraid that they will not. Thus it comes about that, while behaviour which looks dishonest is fairly common, sincere dishonesty is about as rare as the courage to evoke good faith in your neighbours by showing that you trust them.
THE POLITICAL MOTIVE
No; the Political Motive in the academic breast is honest enough. It is Fear -- genuine, perpetual, heartfelt timorousness. We shall see presently that all the Political Arguments are addressed to this passion. Have you ever noticed how people say 'I'm afraid I don't ...' when they mean, 'I think I don't ...'?
The proper objects of Fear, hereafter to be called Bugbears, are (in order of importance):Giving yourself away;
What Dr ---- will say;
The Public Washing of Linen;
Socialism, otherwise Atheism;
The Great World; etc., etc., etc.
With the disclosure of this central mystery of academic politics, the theoretical part of our treatise is complete. The practical principles, to which we now turn, can nearly all be deduced from the nature of the political passion and of its objects.
The Practice of Politics may be divided under three heads; Argument: The Conduct of Business: Squaring.
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