I was reading a dry textbook recently when a salient quote popped off and stabbed me in the eye. It said:
“Many institutions have been so embedded in the social fabric of their time that people assumed that they were part of human nature; for example, human sacrifice and blood sport. However, forward-thinking people opposed these institutions. Many knew that they would never see the abolition of these social systems within their own lifetimes, but they pressed on in the hope that someday these institutions would be eliminated.”
William Wilberforce is a great example of a forward-thinking person who took concrete action to stop an institution that was embedded in the social fabric of his country. His courage in fighting the slave trade in England incurred much hatred. As a result of a lifetime of toil, freedom spread to Africa, to Europe, and finally to the United States. Now, almost two hundred years later, these countries have maintained a slave-free economy. Sure, there will always be some barbarian on the loose in some part of the world abusing human rights. But by and large, Wilberforce and his forward-thinking friends with him, permanently changed the world’s perspective.
Barbarism is thriving somewhere right now. Who will be the forward-thinking people who will spend their life finding and stopping it?