120. "So much is new and complex today that looking back for an understanding of the past provides little guidance for living in the present."
Even though history offers few foolproof panaceas for living today, the author’s claim that today’s world is so unique that the past is irrelevant is too radical.
1. Admittedly, history has helped us learn the appropriateness of addressing certain social issues, particularly moral ones, on a societal level.
2. However, the only firm lesson from history about social ills is that they are here to stay.
126. "Society's external rewards are no measure of true success. True success can be measured only in relation to the goals one sets for oneself."
Success should be gauged on a personal base.
1. Society’s external rewards can only be regarded as society’s recognition of one’s contribution to society.
2. For an individual person, a correct attitude is to gauge success in relation to the goals one sets for oneself.
3. Overemphasizing the social criterion of success tends to belittle the worth of an individual.
133. "The problems of modern society have led many people to complain: 'We live in terrible times.' Yet, given the choice, no one today would prefer to live in any other time."
We live in the best time of history.
1. Firstly, our living conditions today are superior to those of any past generations.
2. Secondly, technologies have made it possible for men to work under much more comfortable working conditions today than before.
3. Most of the problems troubling us today have been troubling human beings for a long time.
140. "What society has thought to be its greatest social, political, and individual achievements have often resulted in the greatest discontent."
Agree with concession:
1. With respect to individual achievements, great achievers are by nature ambitious people and therefore tend to be dissatisfied and discontent with their accomplishments—no matter how great.
2. Individual achievements can often result in discontent on a societal level.
3. Turning from individual achievements to societal, including political, achievements, the extent to which great achievement have caused discontent often depends on one’s perspective.
142. "The well-being of a society is enhanced when many of its people question authority."
Agree with concession:
1. Admittedly, when many people question authority, some societal harm might result, even if a social cause is worthy.
2. While violence is rarely justifiable as a means of questioning authority, peaceful challenges to political and legal authority, by many people, are not only justifiable but actually necessary when it comes to enhancing and even preserving society’s well-being.
3. Questioning authority is also essential for advances in the sciences.
4. Similarly, in the arts, people must challenge established styles and forms rather than imitate them; otherwise, no genuinely new art would ever emerge, and society would be worse off.
149. "The most practical and effective way to protect wilderness areas is to attract more tourists to these areas through environmentally sensitive projects."
1. Tourists swarming to visit the environmentally sensitive projects may pose a serious threat to the wildness areas.
2. The most practical and effective way to protect wilderness areas is to leave those places to take care of themselves.
152. "The only responsibility of corporate executives, provided they stay within the law, is to make as much money as possible for their companies."
In several respects this position has considerable merit; yet it ignores certain compelling arguments for imposing on businesses additional obligations to the society in which they operate.
1. On the one hand are convincing arguments that profit maximization within the bounds of the law should be a business executive’s sole responsibility. First, imposing on businesses additional duties to society in which they operate can, paradoxically, harm that society.
2. Secondly, by affirming that profit maximization within legal bounds is the most ethical behavior possible for business, more private enterprises and individuals will be encouraged enter the marketplace in the quest of profits.
3. On the other hand are compelling arguments for holding business executives to certain responsibilities in addition to profit maximization and to compliance with the letter of law.