330. What are the good parts of our civilization ? First and foremost there are order and safety. If today I have a quarrel with another man, I do not get beaten merely because I am physically weaker and he can kick me down. I go to law, and the law will decide as fairly as it can between the two of us. Thus in disputes between man and man right has taken the place of might. Moreover, the law protects me from robbery and violence. Nobody may come and break into my house, steal my goods or run off with my children. Of course, there are burglars, but they are very rare, and the law punishes them whenever it catches them.
It is difficult for us to realize how much this safety means. Without safety these higher acti-vities of mankind which make up civilization could not go on. The inventor could not invent, the scientist find out or the artist make beautiful things. Hence, order and safety, although they are not themselves civilization are things without which civilization would be impossible. They are as necessary to our civilization as the air we breathe is to us; and we have grown so used to them that we do not notice them any more than we notice the air.
Another great achievement of our civilization is that today civilized men are largely free from the fear of pain. They still fall ill, but illness is no longer the terrible thing it used to be.... Not only do men and women enjoy better health; they live longer than they ever did before, and they have a much better chance of growing up.... Thirdly, our civilization is more secure than any that have gone before it. This is because it is much more widely spread.... Previous civilizations were specialized and limited, they were like oases in a desert.
Question: What is the first merit of our civilization ?