Sjbeech by Dr. Joseph A. Geddes at dedication of UCA building, 580 W.
13th South, on May 22, 1953
A GENERATION THAT FORGOT
Leaders and gentlemen, Fellow Cooperators, Co-workers, Friends, I am going to talk
to you for a few minutes this morning about a subject that will, I hope, change sufficiently while I am enlarging on it that a better name can appropriately be applied to
it at the end. It is my purpose to talk about "a generation that forgot"—my own. By
generation I mean the life span rather than three generations to 100 years as it is
frequently understood to be. This generation began in 1885.
By this time most of the larger undertakings of the pioneer period had taken form
and had been rcughly completed. The doing of them had required collective action on
a large scale - net through government, for at that time government had not come to
be used very much to aid man with his day-to-day affairs„ But some very big things
like participating in the great migration, like planning the new community, like
building the canals, like building the meeting houses and the school houses - required
the efforts and the financial backing of practically everyone in the community. This
work had now been accomplished. Seasoned in cooperative effort the pioneers had
grown in vision, in social solidarity, in largeness of character - they became great
men and women by participating in great experience. These men and women were still
alive during my boyhood. "I came to know them, to feel of their strength and vision,
but I could not participate as they had done, ,
I want to call your attention to three things which caused the children of the
\/ pioneers to lower their sights and to lose some of the ability to cooperate which
hard experience and a great faith in God had given their parents. The first of these
was a discouraging failure with collective effort involved in the attempt to establish
the United Order through communistic machinery. For so great a collectivity they
rere not prepared. The failure here tended to strengthen individualism. The second
was the acceptance in America and in Europe of the Laissez-Faire economic doctrine
during the period following the Civil War and extending to the close of the century,.
Under this doctrine men came to believe that economic salvation depended on extreme
individualism. Everyone must look after himself and government was not to interfere.
The less man did through .the arms of government, the better off everyone would bet