JUNE 6 1966, DAY OF AFFIRMATION SPEECH
at UNIVERSITY OF CAPETOWN
In freedom's name
I came here because of my deep interest and affection for a land settled
by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century, then taken over by the British,
and at last independent; a land in which the native inhabitants were at
first subdued, but relations with whom remain a problem to this day; a
land which defined itself on a hostile frontier; a land which has tamed
rich natural resources through the energetic application of modern technology;
a land which once imported slaves, and now must struggle to wipe out the
last traces of that former bondage.
萬晩報主宰 伴 武澄
I refer, of course, to the United States of America.
But I am glad to come here to South Africa. I am already enjoying my
visit. I am making an effort to meet and exchange views with people from
all walks of life, and all segments of South African opinion ? including
those who represent the views of the Government. Today I am glad to meet
with the National Union of South African Students.
For a decade, Nusas has stood and worked for the principles of the
Universal Declaration of Human Right ? principles of which embody the collective
hopes of men of goodwill all around the world.
Your work, at home and in international student affairs, has brought
great credit to yourselves and to your country. I know the National Student
Association in the United States feels a particularly close relationship
And I wish to thank especially Mr. Ian Robertson, who first extended
this invitation on behalf of Nusas, for his kindness to me. It's too bad
he can't be with us today.
This is the day of Affirmation ? a celebration of liberty. We stand
here in the name of freedom.
At the heart of that Western freedom and democracy is the belief that
the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value, and all
society, groups the state, exist for his benefit.
Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must
be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society.
The first element of this individual liberty is the freedom of speech;
the right to express and communicate ideas, to set oneself apart from the
dumb beast of field and forest; to recall government to their duties and
obligations; above all, the right to affirm one's membership and allegiance
to the body politic ? to society ? to the men with whom we share our land,
our heritage and our children's future.
Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard ? to
share in the decisions of government which shape men's lives. Everything
that makes life worthwhile -- family, work, education, a place to rear
one's children and a place to rest one's head ? all this depends on decisions
of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed
the demand of its people.
And even government by the consent of the governed, as in our own Constitution,
must be limited in its power to act against its people; so that there may
be no interference with the right to worship, or with the security of the
home; no arbitrary imposition of pain or penalties by official high or
low; no restriction on the freedom of men to seek education or work or
opportunity of any kind, so that each man may become all he id capable
These are the sacred rights of Western society. These were the essential
differences between us and NAZI Germany as they were between Athens and
They are the essence of our difference with communism today. I am unalterably
to communism because it exalts the state over the individual and the family,
and because of the lack of freedom of speech, of protest, of religion and
of the Press, which is the characteristic of totalitarian state.
The way of opposition to communism is not to imitate its dictatorship,
but to enlarge individual human freedom ? in our own countries and all
over the globe. There are those in every land who would label as "communist"
every threat to their privilege.
But as I have seen on my travels in all section of the world, reform
is not communism. And the denial of freedom, in whatever name, only strengthens
the very communism it claims to oppose.
Many nations have set forth their own definitions and declarations
of these principles. And there have often been wide and tragic gaps between
promise and performance, ideal and reality. Yet the great ideals have constantly
recalled us to our duties. And ? with painful slowness ? we have extended
and enlarged the meaning and the practice of freedom for all our people.
For two centuries, my own country has struggled to overcome the self-imposed
handicap of prejudice and discrimination based on nationality, social class
or race ? discrimination profoundly repugnant to the theory and command
of our Constitution. Even as my father grew up in Boston, signs told him
that "No Irish need apply".
Two generations later President Kennedy became the first Catholic to
head the nation; but how many men of ability had, before 1961, been denied
the opportunity to contribute to the nation's progress because they were
Catholic, or of Irish extraction?
In the last five years we have done more to assure equality to our
Negro citizens, and to help the deprived, both White and Black, than in
the hundred years before. But much more remains to be done.
For there are millions of Negroes untrained for the simplest of job,
and thousands every day denied their full equal rights under the law; and
the violence of the disinherited, the insulted and injured, looms over
the streets of Harlem and Watts and Southside Chicago.
But a Negro American trains as an astronaut, one of mankind's first
explorers into outer space; another is the chief barrister of the United
States Government, and dozens sit on the benches of court; and another
Dr. Martin Luther King, is the second man of African descent to win the
Nobel Prize for his nonviolent efforts for social justice between the races.
We have passed laws prohibiting discrimination in education, in employment,
in housing; but these laws alone cannot overcome the heritage of centuries
? of broken families and stunted children, and poverty and degradation
So the road toward equality of freedom is not easy and great cost and
danger march alongside us. We are committed to peaceful and nonviolence
change and that is important for all change is unsettling. Still even in
the turbulence of protest and struggle is greater hope for the future,
as many learn to claim and achieve for themselves the rights formerly petitioned
And most important of all, all the panoply of government power has
been committed to the goal of equality before the law ? as we are committing
ourselves to the achievement of equal opportunity in fact.
We must recognize the full human equality of all our people ? before
God, before the law, and in the councils of government. We must do this,
not because it is economically advantageous ? although it is; not because
the law of God and man command it ? although they do command it; not because
people in other lands wish it do.
We must do it for the simple and fundamental reason that it is the
right thing to do.
We recognize that there are problems and obstacles before the fulfillment
of these ideals in the United States as we recognize that other nations,
in Latin America and Asia and Africa have their own political, economic,
and social problems, their unique barriers to the elimination of injustice.
In some, there is concern that change will submerge the rights of a
minority, particularly where the minority is of a different race from the
majority. We in the United States believe in the protection of minorities.
We recognize also that justice between men and nations is imperfect,
and that humanity sometimes progresses slowly.
All do not develop in the same manner, or at the same pace. Nations,
like men, often march to the beat of different drummer, and the precise
solutions of the United States can neither be dictated nor transplanted
to others What is important is that all nations must march toward increasing
freedom; toward justice for all; toward a society strong and flexible enough
to meet the demands of all of its own people, and a world of immense and
In a few hours, the plane that brought me to this country crossed over
oceans and countries which have been a crucible of human history. In minutes
we traced the migration of men over thousand of years; seconds, the briefest
glimpse, and we passed battlefields on which millions of men once struggled
and died. We could see no national boundaries, no vast gulfs or high walls
dividing people from people.
Everywhere new technology and communications bring men and nations
closer together, the concerns of one inevitably becoming the concerns of
all. And our new closeness is stripping away the false masks, the illusion
of difference which is at the root of injustice and hate and war. Only
earth bound man still clings to the dark and poisoning superstition that
his world is bounded by the nearest hill, his universe ended at river shore,
his common humanity enclosed in the tight circle of those who share his
town and views and the color of his skin.
It is your job, the task of the young people of this world to strip
the last remnants of that ancient, cruel belief from the civilization of
Each nation has different obstacles and different goals, shaped by
the vagaries of history and experience. Yet as I talk to young people around
the world I am impressed not by the diversity but by the closeness of their
goals, their desire and concerns and hope for the future. There is discrimination
in New York, the racial inequality of apartheid in South Africa and serfdom
in the mountains of Peru.
People starve in the streets of India; a former Prime Minister is summarily
executed in the Congo; intellectuals go to jail in Russia; thousands are
slaughtered in Indonesia; weather is lavished on armaments everywhere,
These are differing evils; but they are the common works of man. They reflect
the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion.
And therefore they call upon common qualities of conscience and of
indignation, a shared determination to wipe away the unnecessary sufferings
of our fellow human beings.
t is these qualities which make of youth today the only true international
community. More than this I think that we could agree on what kind of a
world we want to build.
It would be a world of independent nations, moving toward international
community, each of which protected and respected basic human freedoms.
It would be world which demanded of each government that it accepts its
responsibility to ensure social justice. It would be a world of constantly
accelerating economic progress.
It would , in short, be a world we would be proud of to have built.
Just to the north of here are lands of challenging and opportunity
? rich in natural resources, land and minerals and people. Yet they are
also lands confronted by the greatest odds ? overwhelming ignorance, internal
tensions and strife, and great obstacles of climate and geography. Many
of these nations, as colonies, were oppressed and exploited.
Yet they have not estranged themselves from the broad tradition of
the West; they are hoping and gambling their progress and stability on
the chance that we will meet our responsibilities to help them overcome
In the world we would like to build, South Africa could play an outstanding
role in that effort. This is without question a pre- eminent repository
of the wealth and knowledge and skill of the continent. Here are the greater
part of Africa's research scientists and steel production, most of it
reservoirs of coal and electric power. Many South Africans have made major
contributions to African technical development and world science; the names
of some are known wherever men seek to eliminate the ravages of tropical
disease and pestilence.
But the help and the leadership of South African or the United States
cannot be accepted if we ? within our own countries or in our relations
with others ? deny individual integrity, human dignity, and the common
humanity of man. If we would lead outside our borders; if we would help
those who need our assistance, if we would meet our responsibilities to
mankind; we must first, all of us, demolish the boarders which history
has erected between men within our own nations ? barriers of race and religion,
social class and ignorance.
Our answer id the world's hope; it is to rely on youth. The cruelties
and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete
dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a
present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to
the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress.
The world demands the qualities of youth: not time of life but a state
of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance
of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of
ease. It is a revolutionary world we live in; and thus , as I have said
in Latin America and Asia, in Europe and in the United States, it is young
people who must take the land.
"There is" an Italian philosopher, "nothing more difficult to take
in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than
to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." Yet this
is the measure of the task of your generation and the road is strewn with
First, is the danger of futility; the belief there is nothing one man
or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills ? against
misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's
great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a
single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general
extended an empire from Macedonia to the border of the earth, and a young
woman reclaimed the territory of France.
"Give me a place to stand ," said Archimedes, " and I will move
These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness
to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion
of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history
of this generation. Thousands of Peace Corps volunteers are making a difference
in isolated villages and city slums in dozens of countries. Thousands of
unknown men and women in Europe resisted the occupation of the Nazis and
many died, but all added to the ultimate strength and freedom of their
It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human
history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve
the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny
ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers
of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down
the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
"If Athens shall appear great to you," said Pericles, "consider
then that her glories were purchased by valiant men, and by men who learned
their duty." That is the source of all greatness in all societies,
and it is the key to progress in our time.
The second danger is that of expediency; of those who say that hopes
and beliefs must bend before immediate necessities. Of course, if we would
act effectively we must deal with the world as it is. We must get things
done. But if there was one thing President Kennedy stood for that touched
the most profound feelings of young people around the world, it was the
belief that idealism, high aspirations, and deep convictions are not incompatible
with the most practical and efficient of programs--that there is no basic
inconsistency between ideals and realistic possibilities, no separation
between the deepest desires of heart and of mind and the rational application
of human effort to human problems. It is not realistic or hardheaded to
solve problems and take action unguided by ultimate moral aims and values,
although we all know some who claim that it is so. In my judgment, it is
thoughtless folly. For it ignores the realities of human faith and of passion
and of belief--forces ultimately more powerful than all of the calculations
of our economists or of our generals. Of course to adhere to standards,
to idealism, to vision in the face of immediate dangers takes great courage
and takes self-confidence. But we also know that only those who dare to
fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly.
It is this new idealism which is also, I believe, the common heritage
of a generation which has learned that while efficiency can lead to the
camps at Auschwitz, or the streets of Budapest, only the ideals of humanity
and love can climb the hills of the Acropolis.
A third danger is timidity. Few men are willing to brave the disapproval
of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society.
Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence.
Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change
a world which yields most painfully to change. Aristotle tells us that
"At the Olympic games it is not the finest and the strongest men who
are crowned, but they who enter the lists.... So too in the life of the
honorable and the good it is they who act rightly who win the prize."
I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral
conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the world.
For the fortunate among us, the fourth danger is comfort, the temptation
to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial
success so grandly spread before those who have the privilege of education.
But that is not the road history has marked out for us. There is a Chinese
curse which says "May he live in interesting times." Like it
or not we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty;
but they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other
time in history. And everyone here will ultimately be judged--will ultimately
judge himself--on the effort he has contributed to building a new world
society and the extent to which his ideals and goals have shaped that effort.
So we part, I to my country and you to remain. We are--if a man of
forty can claim that privilege--fellow members of the world's largest younger
generation. Each of us have our own work to do. I know at times you must
feel very alone with your problems and difficulties. But I want to say
how impressed I am with what you stand for and the effort you are making;
and I say this not just for myself, but for men and women everywhere. And
I hope you will often take heart from the knowledge that you are joined
with fellow young people in every land, they struggling with their problems
and you with yours, but all joined in a common purpose; that, like the
young people of my own country and of every country I have visited, you
are all in many ways more closely united to the brothers of your time than
to the older generations of any of these nations; and that you are determined
to build a better future. President Kennedy was speaking to the young people
of America, but beyond them to young people everywhere, when he said that
"the energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor
will light our country and all who serve it--and the glow from that fire
can truly light the world."
And, he added, "With a good conscience our only sure reward, with
history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land
we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth
God's work must truly be our own."