What has once been settled by a precedent will not be unsettled overnight, for certainty and uniformity are gains not lightly sacrificed. Above all is this true when honest men have shaped their conduct on the faith of the pronouncement.
Every man has been brought up with the idea that decent women don't pop in and out of bed; he has always been told by his mother that "nice girls don't." He finds, of course, when he gets older that this may be untrue-but only in a certain section of society.
Consider the reasons which make us certain that we are right, but not the fact that we are certain. If you are not convinced, ignore our certainty. Don't be tempted to substitute our judgment for your own.
My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists - and in a single choice: to live. The rest proceeds from these. To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason - Purpose - Self-esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge - Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve - Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worth of happiness, which means: is worthy of living. These three values imply and require all of man's virtues, and all his virtues pertain to the relation of existence and consciousness: rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride.
I sat there beside him till morning - and as I watched his face in the starlight, then the first ray of the sun on his untroubled forehead and closed eyelids, what I experienced was not a prayer, I do not pray, but that state of spirit at which a prayer is a misguided attempt: a full, confident, affirming self-dedication to my love of the right, to the certainty that the right would win and that this boy would have the kind of future he deserved. . . . I did not expect it to be as great as this - or as hard.