Sunday, September 26, 2010

New post - Queer Ottawa #2 at...

Jordan Kerr

The LSR and some much needed optimism...

The League for Social Reconstruction (LSR) was a socialist think tank that existed in Canada between 1931 and 1942. Though incredibly idealistic their philosophy of society and human nature is nonetheless inspiring and brought out in me some much needed optimism. Some analysis and reflection on LSR philosophy is given in Michiel Horn's "The League for Social Reconstruction: Intellectual Origins of the Democratic Left in Canada 1930-1942." (University of Toronto Press, 1980):

"They believe that man is essentially co-operative rather than competitive; they have faith in his ultimate rationality and goodness."...At one point they write that the planned economy 'must invite allegiance' of every educated individual 'who has, in addition, a sense of social justice and has not soured in his hopes of human nature.'...Adjust the social and economic environment, and the human material will not show itself wanting." ...Sceptics will entertain the suspicion that the LSR's hopes rested on far too kindly a view of human nature...There will perhaps always be sceptics who believe such optimism to be foolish and mistaken, possibly even pernicious. The sceptics may be right. All the same, it is churlish to speak ill of those who would think well of us, who in any case think better of us than we believe ourselves to be." pp. 96-98

To end, in our increasingly secular and globalized world perhaps it would be helpful to reflect on this poem by Frank Scott, a member of the LSR, concerning this optimism.

The world is my country
The human race is my race
The spirit of man is my God
The future of man is my heaven
p. 98
Jordan Kerr