Success Is a Failure

Day, Donald

  • Donald Day describes his beliefs in democracy, in receiving and giving creative fulfillment in marriage, in the importance of ensuring that personal success promotes the success of society, and in replacing impersonal material giving with the personal gift of service. Audio also contains advertisement for "This I Believe" book.
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Donald Day is a writer, editor, an authority on the American Southwest and on Will Rogers. Among the volumes he has edited are the autobiography of Will Rogers, Franklin D. Roosevelt's own story, and Woodrow Wilson's own story, as well as several works on Texas folklore. Here is Donald Day's own down-to-earth creed.
I believe in dynamic democracy. By this, I mean a democracy broad enough to encompass all human
relationships, from the individual to the eternal, in a framework that keeps always in sight--regardless of momentary success or failure--liberty, equality, and brotherhood.
I reject what Francis Parkman in the 1850s called "the national disease: rising in the world." Or what is more commonly known as "success." I cannot live in dignity and in peace with myself if my goal is to be so narrow and restricted. I don't believe anybody can.
That does not mean that I should not do things nor have things. Far from it. It is a challenge to make what I do and what I have the means and not the end. I must control the doing and own the having, rather than let them control and own me.
As a man, I believe in living with a woman in happiness and creative fulfillment, and I believe just as sincerely that the woman I live with has the right to expect the same. I believe that the man and woman should have a separate life, so that their lives together can be greatly enriched.
I believe that the same basic relationship of an individual to his wife should be broadened and extended to the community, the state, the nation, and the world. I believe the rule should be not "rising in the world," but "rising with the world."
Only in this way are the fundamental and glaring faults in American democracy to be corrected. Surely they cannot be cured by totalitarianism or dictatorship, which are indeed scientific and selfishly
perfected "rising in the world."
I believe that "rising in the world" has made the United States the most materialistic, the most prosperous, and the most uncomfortable nation on earth. It has led innumerable men, women, and even children to think that the highest aim in life is to get and not to give--surely the road to sterility, and decadence, and eventually to materialistic poverty. I see "rising in the world" creating jungle-fanging tactics expressed in showy houses, expensive automobiles, the ten best-dressed women, paunchy men in plush clubs, and countless other neuroticisms. I see women made pawns and men pawnbrokers. If this is to be the yeast with which the loaf of democracy is baked, the rest of the world will find it
soggy eating.
On the political side, I believe "rising in the world" has made of American governments the instrumentalities for individuals and groups to use for selfish aggrandizement, rather than basic umpires with laws and rules to ensure the greatest good for the greatest number. I recall that on November 11, 1918, Woodrow Wilson warned that the United States "must hold the light steady" until the war-torn world recovered its equilibrium. Instead, the United States rushed back to "normalcy," another word for "rising in the world."
In the spiritual field, I believe "rising in the world" has created creeds and churches competing with
each other by giving comfort and solace to men and women too selfishly employed to rise with the world on weekdays. If money-tithing could be changed to time-tithing, with the dynamic democracy of Christ as a guide, I believe there might be fewer massive and glittering churches but more glowing hearts.
These are some of the demands of dynamic democracy, which I believe is the only way to defeat the jet plane "rising in the world" of totalitarian enslavement.
Those were the personal beliefs of Donald Day. They were chosen from the beliefs broadcast in the past two years for inclusion in the new This I Believe book, now at your bookstore.