In an expansion of a series of lectures given in 1948 under the Walgreen Foundation, William Orton discusses the basis and limitations of government action and urges a reassessment of the fundamental principles of our democracy. He defines the role of the intellectuals, charts the obstacles to objective thinking, and suggests successive goals to effect the trend towards big government, remote from the people's needs, far removed from the moral in the direction of the economic processes. He argues against the necessity of multiplication of controls, stating that the major political systems thrive on the act of affirmation as to the nature of man, not on legitimized coercion. In his analysis of the tumbling processes of British social legislation he proves that the evidence in final summation is that the basis of effective state action is moral. We are going through a period of transition from an individualistic to an associative society, from a negative to a positive idea of state. Our insecurity results in the transfer of demands from the individual to the state- and there will come a day of reckoning. In final sections he relates his conclusions as to unionisation, the profit sharing system, competition or control to the central theme of his argument.