What Shall We Exclude, What Include?

Where primogeniture rules, the eldest son succeeds to the kingdom, becomes heir to the estate. Younger sons become travelers, adventurers, explorers, seeking in strange places and new countries for some gift of fortune whereby they may establish a family, and build a house of their own to inherit. Kipling recites the problem when speaking of "the weary way the younger son must tread until he comes to hearth and saddle of his own."

Adventuring in uncivilized lands, the fortune seeker may have acquired a sort of kingdom because of his native powers. If in the world of the blind the one-eyed man is king, so in the world of the ignorant and superstitious the civilized man may be the superior, and control for a time the labor and service of those who look upon his knowledge with wonder. He may use his power to do good service and improve the general welfare, or he may act monopolistically to diminish the general resources for personal profit, make his caprice law, and deny to others rights and ownership. Thinking thus is self-adulation, praying not except to declare in pride: Mine is the kingdom and the power, mine is the transient glory. At this point, suppose him to be searched for and summoned to come back home to inherit and rule his father's house. How different would his new obligations be! Courtesy would have to be regarded, for noblesse oblige. There would be the tradition of dignity and honor, of keeping the word given, of swearing to one's own hurt but changing not. Caprice would have to yield to the law of the land. The welfare of others would have to be considered before self-interest. As the owner of an estate in a united realm, his would be to consider, and labor for, the welfare of the whole kingdom, thereby to advance happiness and peace on earth.

The man who was yesterday's nobody and becomes today's somebody must quickly learn to exclude the sourness, self-will, and recklessness of the past, and to include a kinder sense of duty, a desire for worthiness, a new for the one who was father. If such a story as has been told should be history, it is put to a good purpose if used as parable.

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"When Love is at the helm"
December 2, 1939

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