Now, the vicissitudes that afflict the individual have their source in society. It is this situation that has given currency to the phrase social forces. Personal relations have given way to impersonal ones. The Great Society has arrived and the task of our generation is to bring it under control. The study of how it is to be done is the function of politics.
Perfectionism, no less than isolationism or imperialism or power politics, may obstruct the paths to international peace. Let us not forget that the retreat to isolationism a quarter of a century ago was started not by a direct attack against international cooperation but against the alleged imperfections of the peace.
Politics in the United States consists of the struggle between those whose change has been arrested by success or failure, on one side, and those who are still engaged in changing themselves, on the other. Agitators of arrested metamorphosis versus agitators of continued metamorphosis. The former have the advantage of numbers (since most people accept themselves as successes or failures quite early), the latter of vitality and visibility (since self-transformation, though it begins from within, with ideology, religion, drugs, tends to express itself publicly through costume and jargon).
Politics is still crucially important. Our choices are vital, and we've got to make them, and not just say, 'Oh, they're all the same.' They are all the same in certain ways, alas -- a political animal is such an animal. But lurking somewhere behind their rhetoric and their spittle are important choices that we should make.