Robert Louis Stevenson on the Moral Bargain

In my recent article on William James, he taught us How to Know a Good Man, and part of his argument referenced a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson:

Stevenson says somewhere to his reader: “You think you are just making this bargain, but you are really laying down a link in the policy of mankind.”

I was intrigued by that quotation, and I decided to return to the source material to read the entire quotation in context.  Here’s what I found on page 20 of Stevenson’s fine book, Lay Morals:

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Are We Required to Kill Our Children?

As socialized people — are we required by the laws of man and by our covenant with the Gods — to kill our children in order to prove we are willing to preserve the greater good?

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