Friday, February 18, 2011

The Nobility of Labour

There is warrant for the judgment that economics, culture, morality, and piety have suffered grave havoc by failure to appreciate the nobility of manual labour. Multitudes of men and women, if they had thought in terms of this principle and had been taught in the home, in the church, and in the school to think in these terms, would have been saved from the catastrophe of economic, moral, and religious ruin because they would have been preserved from the vain ambition of pursuing vocations for which they were not equipped and which, on sober and enlightened reflection, they would not have sought.  It is a fallacy to think, and it is one that has greatly impoverished the life of society, that culture cannot exist and flourish among manual toilers. It may well be that it actually does not exist and flourish among such.  But, if so, it is because our thinking and our social structure have been to such an extent based upon and oriented to this false and pernicious premiss. And this premiss has embroiled us in a vortex from which only revolution in thought and practice will deliver us.
—John Murray, Principles of Conduct (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1957] 1978 [1991]), 36 (emphasis mine).