The Blight of Bias

Partizanship is usually associated with politics,—for which there is certainly no lack of occasion,—and thought of as mildly offensive. Many good men even frankly accept the term as defining their attitude on this or that subject, and there is special need just now of wakefulness to the blighting effects of its nature and influence, and of intelligent devotion to that proving of "all things" which St. Paul so earnestly commended to the Thessalonians. We have come upon a time when unless men are saved from the dominance of mortal sense relations, they are likely to reach conclusions and express judgments which are not wise and fair, for the reason that they are not grounded in knowledge of facts but rather in inherited or educated bias. It is a time when an understanding of the truth of being, and of the falsity of material sense as revealed in Christian Science, is imperative, if we would be compassionate, just, and helpful toward all.

Personal bias is characteristically unprogressive. It stands for the prejudice that "closes the door to whatever is not stereotyped" (Science and Health, p. 144). It witnesses to an ignorance that is often quite unteachable, or to a selfishness that is largely indifferent to the means of securing its ends. It invariably distorts judgment, makes one blind to the faults of his own clan or party, and thus directly contributes, in local, national, and international politics, to the power of "manipulating machines." It tends to enslave one to the rule of astute personality; and when we remember the extent to which this has obtained in legislative affairs, we are led to wonder that, despite its prevalence, representative government has not perished from the earth. The substitution of loyalty to a party, a combine, or a creed, for loyalty to public interest, to mankind, to truth, is a clever act to which error is ever resorting, and perhaps in no other way is the mesmerism of mortal sense and the gullibility of the well-intentioned made more pitifully manifest.

Partizanship not only gives a power to the plunderer which can be beneficially wielded only by the patriot, but it always conduces to the weakening of the ethical unit; it divides and distracts those redemptive forces of society which, if they are to win, must be at-one and inseparable. Thus many of the ills of partizanship appear upon the plane of the religious life. When but a moiety of it is added to educated opinions, broad-minded and cooperative denominationalism speedily degenerates into that contentious sectarianism which has so often made it possible for the legions of evil to hold high carnival and enlarge their borders.

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September 19, 1914

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