Courtesy Reuters

The Modern Diplomat

EVEN the least thoughtful of diplomats must look nowadays with dismay upon the field of his professional activity. If it is the purpose of diplomacy to develop and diversify international relationships, to avoid international conflicts, to foster understanding and thereby promote confidence, tolerance and mutual esteem, then clearly it has failed and failed miserably. And today, to make its tasks still more difficult, new causes of conflict between nations are being added to those which the past has accustomed us to consider as usual, if not inevitable.

We have often relied upon the play of divergent and conflicting currents of opinion inside a given country to temper that country's foreign policy and mitigate whatever asperities it might from time to time display. In other words, we placed a certain measure of confidence in the ability of individuals to reason for themselves and to offer independent criticism. Such a view implied, of course, that a considerable number of persons had received an adequate education and as a result were capable of offering resistance to irrational emotionalism. In the world in which now we are living that conception of the rôle of the individual is no longer as generally valid as it used to be, and in large and important areas it is energetically repudiated. Education, far from taking as its essential purpose the development of an autonomous personality, is becoming a factory process for the wholesale manufacture of standardized automatons conditioned to respond to emotional appeals. In many lands, propaganda is substituted for education and a crude emotionalism has usurped the place of those qualities, moral and intellectual, heretofore intimately linked with the very idea of the human personality. Nor is the child the only victim. The adult is preyed upon by the same forces, and thanks to a directed press and the influence of the motion picture and the radio shows unmistakable signs of becoming incapable of independent thought and action.

Coincidently with the eclipse of the individual as such

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