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Are these truths self evident"" might more nearly define the purpose and content of this book, which is the winner in the contest for the best non-fiction book for the general reader written by a member of an American college or university staff. Professor Stace writes not as an academician only, for he had a distinguished career in British Civil Service in Ceylon, has written for the Atlantic and for technical journals. The test is an inquiry into the basic principles of democratic civilization as opposed to totalitarian. He assumes nothing -- he probes below the surface collection of moral attitudes to find the principles which he considers can be proved as expressions of universal human nature. To this end, he turns back the pages of history to the classic era, the Christian era, and presents three basic contributions:- the Greek ethics of reason and moderation; the Christian ethics of sympathy and selflessness; the Ntxachean ethics of will and power. Point by point, he discards, analyzes, accepts -- gets down to the roots of our Greco-Christian civilization -- and of the totalitarian civilization opposed to us. He studies, too, the differences between Fascism and Nazism, the conception of the state as an entity apart from its individuals, basic to both, to which Germany has added to the concept of race, the primacy of will, the survival of the fittest, the just for power. He weighs Plato vs Schopenhauer; Christ vs Ntzsche. And he concludes that the struggle for survival of democracy is justified by the nature of man, and that inherent in that nature are the elements that make the democratic way of life good and true and right....Everyone encounters dissenters from democracy, people who question whether or not it is worth fighting for. Here are the answers, shorn of sentimentality and verbiage. Philosophical in approach, often assuming a background knowledge that the average layman will not possess. But -- though not always easy reading it should appeal to those who liked Mind in the Making, etc.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1942
Publisher: Reynal & Hitchcock