James Michener s essay We Can Create a Decent Society defines his concept of humanism and liberalism, which he defines them of being both dangerous and a vilifying type. Michener s definitions of humanism and liberalism will be stated in the next two paragraphs; starting with humanism which will be followed with liberalism.
Michener defines humanism as being kind, showing sorrow to the poor, and doing thing to protect and profit the world. He believes that humanity must do something to improve the lot of the poor, have taxes that would endeavor to improve the quality of the national life, Congress should have acts hoping to improve the conditions of the nation as a whole, movements to lessen police brutality, have bills to maintain a fair balance between the contending forces in our society, have movements to improve education, and protect public health or strengthen the supervision of agencies running wild. He also believes that learning and reading the arts of Plato and Socrates can profit the world, learn the strict analyze of Immanuel Kant, the behaviors of the three Thomases-Aquinas, More, and Jefferson- and the political leadership of Lincoln and Roosevelt. But a restriction of a religious doctrine is not good because common men like himself could be in peril. Also that perpetual problems can not be solved with pure reasons unless poetry, art, and social vision have modified it.
Since Michener is a liberal he believes that wrong and immortal choices made makes him remember that he has been passive and inattentive too long, to remember that one of the noblest purposes for which human beings are put on earth is to strive to make their societies better, to see to it that gross inequalities are not perpetuated. And to halt them requires both effort and financial contributions, usually in the form of taxes. He had spent his best money not on himself but to improve the community and the government because he believed in liberalism. He also believes that free flow of idea is good and when something of ill will is done it hurts him. Like when universities double their fees or when children s playgrounds are being closed down while bowling alleys for grown men are being opened up it hurts him.
As a conclusion, the definitions of humanism and liberalism were intertwined. Michener was an altruistic person and strongly believed in liberalism and humanism. Overall the definitions of humanism and liberalism meant being concerned about others and willing to respect ideas, beliefs, or behaviors different from yourself.