What if good institutions were in fact the product of good intentions? What if the cynicism that is supposed to be rigor and the acquisitiveness that is supposed to be realism are making us forget the origins of the greatness we lay claim to - power and wealth as secondary consequences of the progress of freedom, or, as Whitman would prefer, Democracy?
Economists have a singular method of procedure. There are only two kinds of institutions for them, artificial and natural. The institutions of feudalism are artificial institutions, those of the bourgeoisie are natural institutions. In this, they resemble the theologians, who likewise establish two kinds of religion. Every religion which is not theirs is an invention of men, while their own is an emanation from God. When the economists say the present-day relations--the relations of bourgeois production--are natural, they imply that these are the relations in which wealth is created and productive forces developed in conformity with the laws of nature. These relations therefore are themselves natural laws independent of the influence of time. They are eternal laws which must always govern society. Thus, there has been history, but there is no longer any. There has been history, since there were institutions of feudalism, and in these institutions of feudalism we find quite different relations of production from those of bourgeois society, which the economists try to pass off as natural and, as such, eternal.
When it comes to the education of our young, this privilege should only be given to those whose visions are solely in the uplifting benefit of the child. There is no room for the ego in the education of children! Children should not be looked after, nor educated, by those who have not made a sacrifice within their hearts, laying down their own personal agenda and dreams, for the total ascension of the child. Even if you are to educate the children simply sitting under a tree; if you have the vision and the heart of a sage, those children will grow to be mighty men and women under your watch! And even if you wine and dine the children, putting them up in a palace; if you do not have the vision and the selfless heart of a sage, all you do is in utter vanity!
When we get out of the glass bottles of our ego, and when we escape like squirrels turning in thecages of our personalityand get into the forests again, we shall shiver with cold and frightbut things will happen to usso that we don't know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in, and passion will make our bodies taut with power, we shall stamp our feet with new powerand old things will fall down, we shall laugh, and institutions will curl up likeburnt paper.
When people criticize me for not having any respect for existing structures and institutions, I protest. I say I give institutions and structures and traditions all the respect that I think they deserve. That's usually mighty little, but there are things that I do respect. They have to earn that respect. They have to earn it by serving people. They don't earn it just by age or legality or tradition.
She has committed no crime, she has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with. She is the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance, but I cannot pity her: she is white. She knew full well the enormity of her offense, but because her desires were stronger than the code she was breaking, she persisted in breaking it. She persisted, and her subsequent reaction is something that all of us have known at one time or another. She did something every child has done-she tried to put the evidence of her offense away from her. But in this case she was no child hiding stolen contraband: she struck out at her victim-of necessity she must put him away from her-he must be removed from her presence, from this world. She must destroy the evidence of her offense.
In practice it undermines the transformation of faith. When Christians concentrate their time and energy on their own separate spheres and their own institutions-whether all-absorbing megachurches, Christian yellow-page businesses, or womb-to-tomb Christian cultural ghettoes-they lose the outward thrusting, transforming power that is at the heart of the gospel. Instead of being 'salt' and 'light' -images of a permeating and penetrating action-Christians and Christian institutions become soft and vulnerable to corruption from within.