The Iron Hand

He had never, Jerome remembered, been inexorable in his precepts. He had never declared that black is black or white is white. He was flexible in his judgments. He argued from both sides, and ruefully admitted that no one actually knew which side was wrong and which side was right. Compromise, he had declared, was the watchword of the intelligent man. Nothing in life was clearly defined and immutable.

You were wrong, thought Jerome, with sudden confused anger. That is no way to bring up children. They are not intelligent men. They must, for their own safety, be guided by hard and fast rules. They have no experience by which to judge wisdom or folly. To set children adrift with the remark that perhaps their ignorant folly is right, after all, and their old teacher wrong, is to add bewilderment to their inexperience, and take from their horizon any firm landmarks which would guide them to safety and reasonable living.

-Taylor Caldwell, This Side of Innocence

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