Unit two:The Fifth Freedom by Seymour St.John

candy0521 时间:2006-05-09 19:26  959次点击 | 0 关注

UNIT two


Beginning with the earliest pioneers, Americans have always highly valued their freedoms, and fought hard to protect them. And yet, the author points out that there is a basic freedom which Americans are in danger of losing.
What is this endangered freedom? For what reasons could freedom-loving Americans possibly let this freedom slip away? And what-steps can they take to protect it — their fifth freedom?

The Fifth Freedom by Seymour St. John

More than three centuries ago a handful of pioneers crossed the ocean to Jamestown and Plymouth in search of freedoms they were unable to find in their own countries, the freedoms of we still cherish today: freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. Today the descendants of the early settlers, and those who have joined them since, are fighting to protect these freedoms at home and throughout the world.

And yet there is a fifth freedom — basic to those four — that we are in danger of losing: the freedom to be one's best. St. Exupery describes a ragged, sensitive-faced Arab child, haunting the streets of a North African town, as a lost Mozart: he would never be trained or developed. Was he free? "No one grasped you by the shoulder while there was still time; and nought will awaken in you the sleeping poet or musician or astronomer that possibly inhabited you from the beginning." The freedom to be one's best is the chance for the development of each person to his highest power.
How is it that we in America have begun to lose this freedom, and how can we regain it for our nation's youth? I believe it has started slipping away from us because of three misunderstandings.

First, the misunderstanding of the meaning of democracy. The principal of a great Philadelphia high school is driven to cry for help in combating the notion that it is undemocratic to run a special program of studies for outstanding boys and girls. Again, when a good independent school in Memphis recently closed, some thoughtful citizens urged that it be taken over by the public school system and used for boys and girls of high ability, what it have entrance requirements and give an advanced program of studies to superior students who were interested and able to take it. The proposal was rejected because it was undemocratic! Thus, courses are geared to the middle of the class. The good student is unchallenged, bored. The loafer receives his passing grade. And the lack of an outstanding course for the outstanding student, the lack of a standard which a boy or girl must meet, passes for democracy.

The second misunderstanding concerns what makes for happiness. The aims of our present-day culture are avowedly ease and material well-being: shorter hours; a shorter week; more return for less accomplishment; more softsoap excuses and fewer honest, realistic demands. In our schools this is reflected by the vanishing hickory stick and the emerging psychiatrist. The hickory stick had its faults, and the psychiatrist has his strengths. But hickory stick had its faults, and the psychiatrist has his strengths. But the trend is clear. Tout comprendre c'est tout pardoner (To understand everything is to excuse everything). Do we really believe that our softening standards bring happiness? Is it our sound and considered judgment that the tougher subjects of the classics and mathematics should be thrown aside, as suggested by some educators, for doll-playing? Small wonder that Charles Malik, Lebanese delegate at the U.N., writes: "There is in the West" (in the United States) "a general weakening of moral fiber. (Our) leadership does not seem to be adequate to the unprecedented challenges of the age."

The last misunderstanding is in the area of values. Here are some of the most influential tenets of teacher education over the past fifty years: there is no eternal truth; there is no absolute moral law; there is no God. Yet all of history has taught us that the denial of these ultimates, the placement of man or state at the core of the universe, results in a paralyzing mass selfishness; and the first signs of it are already frighteningly evident.

Arnold Toynbee has said that all progress, all development come from challenge and a consequent response. Without challenge there is no response, no development, no freedom. So first we owe to our children the most demanding, challenging curriculum that is within their capabilities. Michelangelo did not learn to paint by spending his time doodling. Mozart was not an accomplished pianist at the age of eight as the result or spending his days in front of a television set. Like Eve Curie, like Helen Keller, they responded to the challenge of their lives by a disciplined training: and they gained a new freedom.

The second opportunity we can give our boys and girls is the right to failure. "Freedom is not only a privilege, it is a test," writes De Nouy. What kind of a test is it, what kind of freedom where no one can fail? The day is past when the United States can afford to give high school diplomas to all who sit through four years of instruction, regardless of whether any visible results can be discerned. We live in a narrowed world where we must be alert, awake to realism; and realism demands a standard which either must be met or result in failure. These are hard words, but they are brutally true. If we deprive our children of the right to fail we deprive them of their knowledge of the world as it is.
Finally, we can expose our children to the best values we have found. By relating our lives to the evidences of the ages, by judging our philosophy in the light of values that history has proven truest, perhaps we shall be able to produce that "ringing message, full of content and truth, satisfying the mind, appealing to the heart, firing the will, a message on which one can stake his whole life." This is the message that could mean joy and strength and leadership — freedom as opposed to serfdom.


cherish  vt. care for tenderly; keep alive 爱护,珍爱;抱有,怀有

religion n. 宗教

settler  n. a person who has settled in a newly developed country; colonist 移民;殖民者

sensitive  a. quick to receive impressions; easily hurt or offended 敏感的

a. having a sensitive face

Arab  n., a. 阿拉伯人(的);阿拉伯的

haunt vt. visit often

lost a. not used, won, or claimed; ruined or destroyed physically or morally

vt. seize firmly with the hand(s) or arm(s); understand with the mind 抓住,抱住;理解,掌握

n. (old use or lit) nothing; zero

vt. arouse from sleep; make active

musician   n. a composer or performer of music

inhabit vt. live or dwell in

regain  vt. gain or get again; get back

democracy  n. government by the people, esp. rule by the majority

principal  n. head of a school

combat  vt. n. fight; struggle

notion  n. idea; belief; opinion

undemocratic   a. not democratic; not in accordance with the principles of democracy

independent   a. not subject to control or rule by another; not depending on others for support

independent school   a private school, not controlled by the public

urge   vt. present, advocate or demand earnestly; push or drive

loafer   n. a person who spends time idly 游手好闲的人

lack   n. not have; have less than enough of

avowedly   ad. as declared openly or frankly

softsoap   a. 姑息的,软言相劝的

realistic   a. having or showing an inclination to face facts and to deal with them sensibly practical

hickory   n. 山核桃(木)

hickory stick   山核桃木做的教鞭

n. the language and literature of ancient Greece and Rome

doll n. a small-scale figure of a human being, used as a child's plaything

Lebanese  n., a. 黎巴嫩人(的);黎巴嫩的

delegate   n. a person sent with power to act for another; representative 代表

U.N., the     the United Nations 联合国

weaken   vt. make or become weak(er)

fiber  n. a person's inner character; quality; strength

n. power of leading; the qualities of a leader

having no precedent 无先例的,空前的

a. having or exerting influence

tenet  n. a principle or belief held by a person or organization 信条,原则

eternal  a. having no beginning and no end; lasting forever 永恒的;不朽的

denial  n. a refusal to admit the truth of a statement or to grant sth. asked for

ultimate  n. fundamental principle; final point or result

n. an act or instance of placing, esp. the assignment of a person to a suitable place

core  n. the most important or central part of anything 核心

vt. make powerless or unable to act, move or function 使麻痹,使瘫痪

n. a concern for one's own welfare or advantage at the expense or in disregard of others

selfish  a.

consequent   a. following as a consequence

n. a course of study, esp. the body of courses offered in a school or college (学校的全部)课程

n. power of doing things 能力,才能

paint   v. make a picture (of) with paint

vi. draw irregular lines, figures, etc. aimlessly while thinking about sth. else 心不在焉地乱写乱画

pianist   n. person who plays the piano

discipline    vt. apply discipline to

a. having or taking no regard; careless 不关心的;不留心的

a. capable of being seen; apparent

discern   vt. see, notice, or understand, esp. with difficulty; perceive

n. accepting and dealing with life and its problems in a practical way, without being influenced by feelings or false ideas

relate   vt. connect in thought or meaning

fire   vt. inspire; stimulate or inflame

stake   vt. risk (money, one's life, etc.) on a result; bet 把...押下打赌

oppose   vt. set oneself against; set up against 反对;使对抗

serfdom   vt. the state or fact of being a serf; slavery 农奴的境遇;奴役


a handful of
a small amount or number of

in search of
trying to find

cry for
cry in an attempt to get; demand urgently; need badly

pass for
be (mistakenly) accepted or considered as

make for
help cause sth. to happen

small wonder /little

wonder / no wonder
naturally; it is not surprising

regardless of
without worrying about to taking into account

relate to / with
show a link or connection between

in the light of
taking into account; considering

stake on
risk (one's money, reputation, life, etc.) on

as opposed to
in contrast to


Seymour St. John



St. Exupery



Charles Malik

Arnold Toynbee


Eve Curie

De Nouy