Chaitkin Article: “Compassion and Human Progress”

Published by The Lunar Society

(The Lunar Society, based in Birmingham England, continues today the work of the circles that collaborated with Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century.)

by Anton Chaitkin

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared on 6 January 1941, that  “…we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms – freedom of speech and expression …. freedom of every person to worship God in his own way …. freedom from want …. freedom from fear…”

As to “freedom from want,” Roosevelt specified that people expect to see the “enjoyment . . . of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.”

The United Nations adopted this idea of the right to a decent living standard in its founding charter and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Universal progress had only become a realistic goal due to spectacular advances in industrial power over the previous two centuries. Before then, for thousands of years, most people were desperately poor, illiterate, brutally overworked, and helpless to explain or prevent horrors of society and nature.

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