If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.
When a teacher of the future comes to point out to the youth of America how the highest rewards of intellect and devotion can be gained, he may say to them, not by subtlety and intrigue; not by wire pulling and demagoguery; not by the arts of popularity; not by skill and shiftiness in following expediency; but by being firm in devotion to the principles of manhood and the application of morals and the courage of righteousness in the public life of our country; by being a man without guile and without fear, without selfishness, and with devotion to duty, devotion to his country.
True love of country is not mere blind partisanship. It is regard for the people of one's country and all of them; it is a feeling of fellowship and brotherhood for all of them; it is a desire for the prosperity and happiness of all of them; it is kindly and considerate judgment toward all of them. The first duty of popular self-government is individual self-control. The essential condition of true progress is that it shall be based upon grounds of reason, and not prejudice. Lincoln's noble sentiment of charity for all and malice toward none was not a specific for the Civil War, but is a living principle of action.
The leadership demanded of youth today is not attained by chance nor fostered by indulgence. It demands careful preparation - a preparation that should be constantly impregnated, if you please, by the sweet spirit of four loyalties. Loyalty to self - by conserving physical strength and youthful vigor. Loyalty to parents - Our debt to our parents is unpayable except in one way- that is in emulating their ideals, thus bringing joy to them in their old age and satisfaction to those who have gone before in seeing that we keep ourselves clean and wholesome. Loyalty to country - A great writer has said that "The destiny of any nation at any given time depends upon the opinions of its young men under five and twenty." Loyalty to God and truth - Our belief in equality and brotherhood is a Christian heritage, and it fades out of the picture when Christian belief is forgotten. We have to educate the race to realize that no man is unwanted, that every soul is unique and has a life to live made up of momentous choices which will make or mar his own life and the life of the community and of the world. To cherish these loyalties, to make popular these ideals, the world needs men and women of unimpeachable character. The future is yours to make or to mar as you choose. Youth - conviction - courage - is a combination potentially capable of determining the kind of world we shall live in. Though not the wisest, youth is the best, the most radiant time of life. Young men and women, the future awaits you! It is yours!
The legitimate aim of criticism is to direct attention to the excellent. The bad will dig its own grave, and the imperfect may safely be left to that final neglect from which no amount of present undeserved popularity can rescue it.