13-Year-Old Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Prejudice, Its Antidote, and the Five Documents That Shaped Humanity

“Society has discovered discrimination as the terrific social weapon by which one may eliminate guys without any bloodshed,” Hannah Arendt composed in the 1940s as she grappled with Jewishness, the immigrant identity, and the refugee plight for belonging. In the exact same era, a girl who would become another lady of titanic effect to political idea and the development of justice used up the subject of prejudice, its remedy, and the pillars of human dignity in her middle school newspaper, of which she was the editor.

Ruth Bader as a child.There is no overstating the speeding up of mind, the stir of soul, the enormous swell of inspired idealism, which fantastic role designs can trigger in the young. At a time when the world was reckoning with the savaging combination of grief and shame in the wake of its most inhumane war, at an age when the human animal gets its very first taste of that most hazardous and self-destructive substance of the spirit– cynicism– the thirteen-year-old future Supreme Court Justice chose the courage of idealism over the cowardice of cynicism as she considered humanitys course forward toward a much safer, saner, more equitable world in a June 1946 op-ed for her school paper, published under the byline “Ruth Bader, Grade 8B1” and included in My Own Words (town library)– the collection culled from a life time of works, chosen by Justice Ginsburg herself and her main biographers, Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (March 15, 1933– September 18, 2020) had barely cusped from childhood to adolescence when she watched in wonder as her greatest good example– Eleanor Roosevelt, with her flower gowns and her “spine as stiff as the steel girder of a high-rise building”– was designated chairperson of the newly developed United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Reviewing the “4 terrific files” that have shaped the world considering that its beginning– “fantastic because of all the benefits to humanity which came about as an outcome of their fine ideals and principles”: the Ten Commandments, the Magna Carta, the 1689 Bill of Rights, and the American Declaration of Independence– the young Ruth writes:

Now we have a 5th terrific file, the Charter of the United Nations. Its purpose and principles are to preserve global peace and security, to practice tolerance, and to reduce any acts of aggression or other breaches of peace.
It is vital that peace be guaranteed, for now we have a weapon that can ruin the world. We should attempt to train ourselves and those about us to live together with one another as good neighbors for this idea is embodied in the fantastic brand-new Charter of the United Nations.

Later on that month, as Hannah Arendt was taking a look at the consequences of the Holocaust and breeding the concepts that would become her epoch-making writing on the only viable antidote to evil, Ruth got the subject in another op-ed, entitled “One People” and published in the bulletin of her synagogue:

Too, we should try tough to comprehend that for righteous people hate and bias are neither great occupations nor in shape companions. Rabbi Alfred Bettleheim when said: “Prejudice saves us an agonizing difficulty, the trouble of thinking.”

Artist Margaret C. Cooks illustration for an unusual 1913 edition of Walt Whitmans Leaves of Grass. (Available as a print.) Echoing Bertrand Russells unforgettable admonition that “even the most orthodox people may find himself in a minority some day, so that we all have an interest in limiting the tyranny of majorities,” she included:

Enhance with Walter Lippmann– another rare visionary whose works shaped the ideals of Ginsburgs generation– on the antidote to bias, then review Eleanor Roosevelt reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights– the next terrific document paving humankinds path towards true humanness, built on the foundation of the Charter of the United Nations.

No one can do not hesitate from danger and destruction till the many broken threads of civilization are bound together once again. We can not feel safer up until every country, no matter weapons or power, will satisfy together in good faith, individuals deserving of shared association. There can be a happy world and there will be when again, when males produce a strong bond towards one another, a bond unbreakable by a studied bias or a passing circumstance.

We should attempt to train ourselves and those about us to live together with one another as good neighbors for this concept is embodied in the excellent new Charter of the United Nations. Too, we must try difficult to comprehend that for exemplary people dislike and prejudice are neither good professions nor fit buddies. No one can feel totally free from risk and destruction till the numerous split threads of civilization are bound together again. There can be a pleased world and there will be when again, when men produce a strong bond towards one another, a bond solid by a studied prejudice or a passing scenario.