Mr. Wells' job is to think. He has been doing it now for nearly half a century, and it is disturbing to see how often he has been right. In this book he has been thinking about the war-why we are fighting, what will happen when it is over, what practical aims we can set ourselves, and how we can still look forward to organising a world in which wars will not perpetually recur until the human race has bombed itself out of existence. He believes that it is stiIl possible, but only if we throw over many of our old prejudices,. and make clear at once the principles on which we intend to act.
FOR the greater part of my life I have given most of my working time to the problem of the human future, studying the possibility of a world-wide reorganisation of human society that might avert the menace of defeat and extinction that hangs over our species. That has been my leading preoccupation since I published The Time Machine in 1893. I have never thought, much less have I asserted, that progress was inevitable, though numerous people chose to fancy that about me. I have always maintained that by a strenuous effort mankind might defeat the impartial destructiveness of nature, but I have always insisted that only by incessant hard thinking and a better co-ordination of man's immense but dispersed powers of self-sacrifice and heroism was such a victory possible.
Since the present crisis began to develop I have done everything I could, to focus the thinking of a lifetime upon the stormy clashes of to-day. I have studied and spoken and written and published, to get reality clear in my own and as many minds as possible. In this little book I am trying again to assemble the essential truth about what is happening, as concisely and clearly as possible. This is, to the best of my ability, a map of where we are and how we can go. Not only where we are, I repeat, but how we can go. I am writing it down without exhortation or any emotional appeal. That, if you want It, you must seek elsewhere. If you are one of those who prefer to go On with life with a magic talisman in your hand instead of a map, this book is not for you. But if you like to carry a blessed image or a mascot in your pocket I will not quarrel with you, if only you have the sense to rely upon the map instead of trying to muddle your way through when the bearings of the situation are plain.
Since I began to learn about the direction of human affairs, I have been much afilicted by would-be disciples and followers. Before I took my own measure I did occasionally entangle myself with groups of people who proposed to take possession of me, interpret me and make something between a figure-head and a leader of me. These entanglements taught me one thing very clearly, that "leadership" is entirely incompatible with the clear and critical apprehension of how things are and where things are, which is the natural activity of such a mind as mine. You might just as well expect a chart and compass to steer a ship. I found out very early in life, not only that I could not "manage" people, but that I disliked in about equal measure the concessions and deceptions that are involved in managing anyone, and the tiresome people who obliged me to make those politic adjustments of the truth necessary to keep them in tow. I despise driven sheep, I despise dogs tha.t fawn upon me, I despise followers and disciples, I despIse the " simple faith " and " unquestioning loyalty" of human beings who ought, I feel, to think and act for themselves instead of sacrificing the brief opportumtIes this life affords them of being real.
Read me, I would say, use all I have to give you, assimilate me to yourself (and assimilation may very well mean a digestive change and improvement) and we will go on together in fraternal co-operation, but please, please, do not imagine you are being invited to line up behind me. You have a backbone and a brain; your brain is as important as mine and probably better at most jobs; my only claim on your consideration is that I have specialised in trying to get my Outlines true.
That is the spirit in which I call myself a republican, a democrat and an adult man.
It is a biological truism that the majority of our species retains infantile characteristics throughout life; most men and women never grow up at all. Most animals settle down, but human beings can play and be curious at seventy. Men and women of eighty can die young. This has its good but also its profoundly enfeebling side, if you remain not young but infantile. Most of our kind pass from the knee of mothers, who tell them what and how, to the schoolmaster or mistress, the priest, the big boys (or girls) in the school, their caste, the employer, the political adventurer, all telling them what and how before they are allowed a sceptical moment. Directly they come to the frustrations and distresses of our disordered social life, leadership touts for them, exploits them and enslaves them. We have now in Mein Kampf a complete expose of the art of leadership, and in the stricken lands of the great offensive, we have seen these poor methodical, gullible, German lout-sheep pouring forward in their multitudes to destroy horribly or be destroyed. It is like a flight of locusts; it is a stampede. One has to kill them or be killed, because reason would be wasted on them.
In Britain, America, France and what are called the sroaner democratic countries, we have a number of more or less ridiculous figures proposing themselves for leadership after the fashion of Mussolini and Hitler. Every antic of these masters is aped. But there is in all our countries, thanks to certain accidents of their past history, a capacity for derision and individual initiative that makes the careers of these aspirants to dominance' difficult. It is a type which ought of course to be shot when it makes itself plainly dangerous. Huey Long, whom I met and found very attractive in America was,I think, very properly murdered. Our Parliamentary forefathers made treason to the people a capital offence. It might very well be the only capital offence. There is no other crime so evil. If it were possible to express this present world conflict in one phrase which it certainly is not-" The struggle of the free men against the led men," might be as serviceable as any.
The infantile belief that it is possible for one single individual to concentrate will and understanding for a whole people may be best disposed of by a very simple set of considerations. I would call it "counting the hours of a man's life." I would ask you to take anyone to whom you may be disposed to submit yourself and reduce the total of his life to hours. It comes to no very great total. Then deduct from that the hours that must have been spent in sleep, in eating and drinking and in what is called recreation. That will about halve your total. Now take off the years of infancy. Then enquire into the history of your divinity. He went to such and such a school, he had access to what books? All schools waste a certain amount of time; no worth-while book is read without difficulty. And a man who is to cut a figure in the world must act as well as learn. I was led to this sort of enquiry when I set myself to work out the maximum number of hours available for impartmg knowledge to youngsters between tbe ages of five and sixteen.* When everything else has been allowed for it works out to a total that is astoundingly small. I was so struck by this realisation that I set myself a number of problems in history. Always I sought to determine the quality of the sources of knowledge available and the maximum number of hours the individual under examination could have given to the matter under discussion. What could Alexander the Great have known of the Persian and Indian worlds into which he led his raiders, what was his vision of the world he splashed with new cities, had he the remotest idea of the gathering Romans in his rear? What can Stalin know of the social and cultural realities of the Western world, against which he guards himself with such dire suspicion? What can the Pope, any Pope, know of the great concepts of modem biology? You will realise that every one of us, even the most receptive, is a blinkered man. There are certain things he may know well, but the better he knows those definite things, the less he can know of matters outside the limits of his specialisation. A man may guide you unerringly up Mont Blanc. That is no reason why you should expect him to steer you through the traffic of New York City. These leaders and enslavers of men are fabulous creatures. They are pretenders and impostors. There are no such people.
* See "World Brain!"
I write these introductory disavowals to the reader in order that the purpose of this book should be perfectly plain. You are being led nowhere in this little book; you are being shown certain definite things. Certain interpretations of what is happening will be put before you, and it is for you to decide whether these interpretations are true or false. Certain possible roads will be shown to you and whither they lead. If your leader or your colonel or your priest or anyone to whose hands you have entrusted your mental conscience tells you not to trouble about the reasoning with which I challenge you, and you take his word for it, I can do no more for you. Or if some bright young Communist, for example, after the pattern of those absurd young "students" I met at Leeds the other day, students who listened to nothing and were obviously incapable of study, persuades you that I have produced all this carefully thought out discussion for some obscure and sordid motives of my own, and that therefore you are absolved from thinking about it, then again I I can only shrug my shoulders. Suppose, as he will imply, that publishing a Penguin book brings me wealth beyond the dreams of avarice, does that in itself make the arguments I put before you, any the less sound?
And so to our discussion.
But first let me repeat the headline of this section and add two additional sentences. Grown Men do not need Leaders. But that does not mean that they will not trust a properly accredited equal who has some specific gift or function. You trust your plumber, your doctor, your cook, your automobile scout, your Ordnance Map, conditionally, without either arrogance or subservience.
THIS present warfare differs from all previous warfare in many respects. To others of these I will call your attention later, but here I would concentrate upon the difficulty created by the absolute unreliability of these Totalitarian States.
The world is full of warfare. We in this country are spending seven or eight million pounds a day, I gather, on the war. It is not only costing us seven or eight million pounds a day. In spite of everything that sincere supporter of the present monetary system, Mr. Maynard Keynes, may say or do, this war plainly means bankruptcy and inflation within quite a reasonable time. In quite a little while we may find money in our pockets that will practically buy nothing. So far as I can see, all the gold in the world is gravitating now to the vaults of the United States of America. When it is all safely interred there, America may be considered to have won the Gold Standard game. I presume that then the rest of the world will have to work out a new system for exchanging labour and commodities. We shall still have our hands, our heads, our land and our raw materials, and we are not likely to starve quietly because all these things are mortgaged to a remote creditor.
But how to re-animate those lands and that material is likely to be a difficult and contentious process. It is a matter that our experts in business management should be doing now, most urgently. They should be making schemes for barter and a new and independent exchange system now. It may not be necessary, but it is highly advisable to have it ready and thought out. So far as I know, nothing of the sort is being done, and in our careless British fashion we are likely to be caught by this problem unawares, and undergo all the stress and suffering that unpreparedness entails. Not only here but all over Europe a progressive social disorganisation is plainly apparent; day by day we can see things getting worse, education being disorganised and demoralised, the standard of living sinking, freedom dwindling. The first question, therefore, we have to put to ourselves is: Is it possible to get any peace now? What sort of peace can we possibly have at the present time? We have read speeches and articles by Mr. Lloyd George advocating a peace settlement as soon as possible. Mr. C. R. Buxton issued a booklet, The Case for an Early Peace. Lord Beaverbrook, before his change of heart, urged it in his papers. But ask these people: "Is it a peace that would allow us to disarm?"
"No," they will say: "we must keep armed to the teeth." Is it a peace that would lift in any way that apprehension of sudden attack which broods upon all the world to-day? No such peace is conceivable at present. Anything you could call a peace would be so insecure that it would still cost almost as many millions pound a day and do nothing material to arrest the progressive dislocation of. our lives. The balloon barrages would still have to keep in the sky and the troops under arms. Such a peace would be a mere technical change of no practical importance at all. Instead of being technically at war as we are now, we should be technically at peace, as China and Japan are at peace now. When England and France declared war last September, they started something that it is going to be excessively difficult to stop. Even Mr. Chamberlain has observed that it is a new sort of war altogether. I believe we are all in practical agreement about that.
Let us ask then: what is the real nature of this strange, new-fashioned war which we are so incapable of ending in any etfettive way? We must exert our minds to answer that. Obviously, we cannot make any hopeful plans for restoring order to the world until we know the real nature of its disorder. Do we know?--are we clear on this matter?
I suggest we are not. Weare all ridiculously at sixes and sevens, because so many people, who set up to be leaders of thought, prefer to be eloquent and demonstrative when they ought to think. At present one can hear of a fantastic variety of views about what is hapPening. Only one set of them can be right. Shall we try to find out what that right set of answers is? What, in the broadest terms, is happening to the world?
I want to ask J Are we fighting against anything definite at all? You will hear it constantly repeated that this is "a war of ideologies." You will hear about the Totalitarian State, National-Socialism, Bolshevism; and you will hear it stated and implied that these are new and more complicated methods of State organisation that are coming into existence, that the "individual" is to be subordinated to these new elaborate State systems, and that the present struggle is a struggle to preserve our individual freedom and self-respect from envelopment in this serpent of the Totalitarian State.
Either this is true or it is not true-I submit that it is not true.
I am going to ask a very simple question indeed: Do any of these States really exist at all? Is there such a thing as a Totalitarian State in being? Is there a National-Socialist State? Is there now anything in the nature of a responsible working system that you can call Bolshevism? Is there any sort of definite working social organisation anywhere corresponding to any of these words?
If these things are in existence, if these alleged new and more elaborate State organisations are living realities in our world, then they must consist almost entirely of people who have definite places in them; people who have specific jobs; people who know they are safe if they do their jobs properly; people as sure in their actions as cog-wheels in a watch, knowing clearly how they stand to one another, knowing clearly how this wonderful new organised State, in which they live and move and have their being, stands towards all the rest of the world. We must in fact be face to face with a higher, more complicated order, with a shape and a character and a mind of its own with which we can deal. It will have a character with which we can negotiate and upon which we can rely.
Well, where is there such a living "ideology" in operation? Where is that higher organisation? Our politicians and journalists reach out in search of such a system, and do they find anything of the sort? I suggest that nowhere on earth do these things, Totalitarianism, National-Socialism, Bolshevism, exist, and that when distinguished writers and radio talkers call this "a war of ideologies," they are talking nonsense. They are talking about intellectual fantasies and phantoms infinitely remote from the grim realities which crowd upon us.
Bolshevism, I admit, did at one time seem to contain the promise of a system of constructive ideas. Twenty years ago, when I had the privilege of talking to Lenin, I found that fine, valiant and subtle intelligence entangled in the beard of Karl Marx, and doing its best to struggle out of that huge fuzz to real constructiveness. But he was learning the job from the ground up! He was reading Chiozza Money's Electrification of Holland, of all books! and he was full of a scheme for the electrification of Russia-which rather overlooked the relative difference in the distances between centres in the two countries and the consequent cost in copner cables. I have described the talk I had with him in Russia in the Shadows, and in that book you will find I foretold clearly the devastating danger of Marxist planlessness-pIanlessness and dogmatism.
"Come again," said Lenin, "in ten years' time." Six years ago I did go again to see what was happening in Russia, and then I had the privilege of talking to Stalin. That talk also is on record.* I wanted to know the structure of the new society he was producing to work Bolshevism. What was its character, its spirit, its working organisation?
* Published as a pamphlet by The New Statesman.
I had just come from America. The New Deal was being crippled in America for want of a competent Civil Service. What was Russia doing? I hoped rather than expected to find Russia one vast Civil Service falling into order. I found nothing of the sort. I found in Russia no development of any securely ordered society whatever, no system in which a man could do his job without fear, in which he knew where he stood, in which one man could trust another and speak fearlessly to him, no society in which there was any real developing social structure. In certain material particulars Russia had progressed with the rest of the world, but not nearly so fast as the rest of the world, and chiefly by importing American notions, tractors and so forth. The only organisation that had developed was the secret police and personal espionage. Russia was no more a new social order in 1934 than it had been in 1920. It was less so. It was plainly relapsing into autocracy.
In a recent publication, Sir Nevile Henderson has told how he went to Germany to find a Germany with which this country could deal. And what report has he brought back? Nothing but gossip about personalities, nothing but talk about individuals, how, like the present British Foreign Minister, Lord Halifax, he shot with Goering and gossiped with Goebbels, and what fine fellows they all were together; gossip and nothing else-and why?
Because manifestly there was no National-Socialist State there for him to deal with, nothing but forceful groups and individuals, incalculable because there was neither law nor ideas to control them. So far from any State, new order, or National Socialism having triumphed over the individual, the truth manifest in his revelations is that groups and individuals had triumphed over any system whatever, and that National-Socialism, like the Totalitarian State, and like, I am afraid, Bolshevism at the present time, was just theoretical eyewash for a purely individualistic control.
The truth is not that the State has suppressed the individual in Germany, but that forcible and entirely irresponsible individuals have captured the State. Trotsky, in his published denunciation of Stalin, witnesses to the same thing in Russia. He presents the Government of Russia as Henderson presents the Government of Germany, as entirely a handful of individuals, running amok in a steadily disintegrating commumty.
That, I suggest, is the essential difficulty of our situation. There is nothing there to make peace with. You cannot make peace with disorder. Disorder, gang tyrannies, a collapse into a brigand world; that is what we fight against! And now let us ask ourselves what we are fighting for.
THE question of what we and our Allies are fighting for is a difficult one. If we are not fighting against some new, strange and evil way of life, but only against gangster violence on a monstrous scale, then it seems that our war must be primarily a defensive one. But is it altogether a defensive one?
Official sources seem uncertain about that. Even Lord Halifax in his more exalted moments talks vaguely of a new and better order that is to emerge from this war. In that case we are not primarily on the defensive at all; we are fighting for a new order in the world. But is this merely what is called an "inspiriting" utterance? Useful in war time but of no subsequent value? I am reminded of Mr. Lloyd George's "Land fit for Heroes" in-was it 1917 or 1919? Let us probe a little deeper into this question. Because plainly it is a quite fundamental question for us and our allies and our adversaries and the neutral States of the world. Are we fighting to save an old order, the stately homes of England, the huntin', the fishin', or are we honestly fighting to make a new world? Sooner or later our rulers and representatives must come clear upon this point. They do not do that now. Their propaganda has a bafflng flavour of insincerity. Our Foreign Office has to speak out and tell the world its War Aims, and so far it has failed to speak out and do that. Until their Governments do that, the Allies remain ambiguous and perplexing even to those who would be their associates and friends. The present Churchill government is manifestly a provisional government, torn internally by this conflict between the ideas of a defensive and of a creative war. Are we fighting to keep or to make?
Many of us still hope to see still more creative governments than exist at present, both in Britain and France. Meanwhile let us go on clearing up our minds. Let us ask therefore, What is the reality on our side, we who are fighting against these gangs and groups of individuals who, with such manifest insincerity, are professing to be new social systems? Are we so very different? What is our reality? What is this Western Civilisation of ours for which we are asked to take every conceivable risk, for which we are asked to make every possible sacrifice? There again we find people all giving the most completely contradictory accounts of what we stand for. Surely we have to clear these contradictions out of the way? One account must be right and the rest wrong. If you will read a booklet called The British Case (a ninepenny Government publication I commend to your most earnest study) you will learn that our present Minister for Foreign Affairs lends his name to the assertion that we are fighting not simply for the Birtish Empire throughout the world, but for the Christian religion. We are fighting a religious war for Catholicism. Inspired utterances in high quarters echo this assertion. It is a "Crusade." But do many Christians really believe this is a war of religion? Did our boys who went to be exposed to overwhelming numbers in Belgium, ill-equipped and betrayed by that Belgian King who must have been educated so badly at Eton, did they really march to the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers? Were they really fighting to make the world safe for Bishops and Eton boys? From this appalling document you will be able to Judge how much Lord Halifax (i.e. the British Foreign Office) cares for the hardships of the Jews in the concentration camps or the restoration of slavery in Central Europe. . His mind is largely early-Kipling, Stalky and Co., With a strong dash of Eric, or Little by Little. The greater part of the British Empire, you will realise, is still, from the point of view of Lord Halifax and his associates, no more than "the lesser breeds within the law." "Asiatics," for example, like the Aga Khan, are put in their places in this great missionary enterprise upon which we are engaged. What our Turkish Allies think of this war for the Church of England I cannot imagine. Do we English as a main objective in this war really want to shove our religion and our gentry down the throats of all man kind? This canting stuff is far below the liberal British Imperialism of the nineteenth century.
Yet our people fight, and we fight with a sense of rightness. The diffused, unorganised popular mentality of the British people is far higher than that of the governing and political ciasses. What is it we fight for? I think most of our soldiers and common people will be in agreement that we are fighting for something very much greater than any Empire. Something far beyond the cramped ideas of that dismal pamphlet, something we may all agree in speaking of as democratic civilisation. We feel that we have a reality in that, a reality that justifies our appeal to world opinion, against our antagonists.
Nowadays you will encounter the most diverse statements about this "democratic civilisation" of ours. And the curious thing is that all these diverse ideas have a certain plausibility. They involve no irreconcilable contradictions. One man will say that democratic civilisation is an expansion of medieval Christendom; another will present it as a natural development of the GraecoRoman culture; Marxists, perhaps rather nearer actuality, will declare we are living in the last stages of the Capitalist System; and others will talk of the peculiar geographical advantages of Britain or of Europe, and the peculiar energy of the northern peoples, which gave our Western Civilisation the leadership of the world. I suggest to you that all these ideas have factors of truth in them, but that none of them is the whole truth; that the reality of our Western Civilisation is a vast complex of traditions, usages, rules, laws, dominations and devices; which at the opening of the present century did in effect dominate the whole world. It was, I suggest, a vast growth, a happy concatenation of accidents, containing no guarantee of its permanence.
And now, because the forces that assembled it have ebbed, and new unanticipated forces have come into destructive activity, it has ceased to dominate the world.
One aspect of this dominant Western Civilisation of the nineteenth century was the universal validity of the gold sovereign. I would call your particular attention to that. When the history of our times comes to be written, I think historians will be disposed to call it the Gold Standard Age, or the Age of Investments.
It produced a definite way of life and a way of thinking of its own. I shall try presently to define the characteristics of that distinctive culture in a brief section on the Blue Swastika and the downward class war of the Rentier type.
Prosperous people, during that phase of monetary domination, distributed their savings, and felt sure of their dividends, levied their tribute in fact, from China to Peru. With a passport and a letter of credit they could go in comparative freedom and safety all over the world. Throughout that phase, in spite of much social injustice and oppression, slums, sweating, exploitation there was a working order in the world, that gave a fortunate minority at least, but, be it noted, a considerable and increasing minority, security and a fairly hopeful life. There was real progress and ample justification for optimism.
I won't attempt to analyse the forces that created this transient world domination, this Golden Age of the investor. I don't think historians have ever attempted to make any proper estimate of those forces. The repeated discovery of new gold deposits had a lot to do with it. But towards the end of the Victorian era, something happened. That phase passed its climax. What was it happened?
I suggest that what happened was that this huge complex of Westernised Civilisation began to fall to pieces, through the operation of novel and entirely unforeseen forces which I will examine a little later, and also I suggest that nothing has yet appeared to restore or replace that complex. If so, then we are not faced with a conflict of two types of State or anything of that sort-we are in the presence of one single world system which is breaking down, this wild German belligerence aiming at power and power only, is part of the breakdown, and nothing whatever has appeared yet to replace this collapsing order. Which will therefore go on collapsing.
We are fighting confusedly and we may fight unsucc:ssfully because our minds are divided. We all fight against the blind conquest drive of Nazidom. But that is merely fighting a symptom. Some of us are scrabbling to preserve the collapsing order at any cost; while on the other hand an increasing number are only too anxious to get rid of the old order and lay the foundations of a new one. The two conceptions are incompatible. We cannot have it both ways. We have to make our choice. Is this a war to salvage a world manifestly far gone in decay, or is it a vast tragic clearance for a new order? The only answer with hope in it is the latter alternative. Let me now do my best to make this half-instinctive, creative war aim, definite and acceptable.
AND here I come to something still more vital and fundamental, about which I think all men of good will should come to a common understanding. Either you have to declare that what I am now going to say is misstated or altogether untrue-or I do not see how you can avoid making it the basis of your interpretation of our difficulties. I do not apologise for stressing this, because matters are too urgent for genteel understatement.
I encounter an extraordinary inability on the part of earnest, peace-seeking people to incorporate the realities I am putting before you with their always amiable and earnest proposals. I do all I can to keep those ideas before them. I write my propositions in capital letters. I state the truth gently but persistently, and they smile and disregard it; I put the idea to them insultingly; they seem pained by my manners and they pass on as though nothing had been said. I cannot persuade them to treat these fundamental verities as primary facts in our world problem.
Their resistance to these ideas is, I think, due mainly to the way they have read and been taught history. Old-fashioned history is saturated with the idea that there is nothing new under the sun, kings and empires come and go but there are always more kings and empires, and you cannot change human nature. But Science disentangled our minds from that dull belief in routine and assures us that under the sun every morning the day is a new day. People are so saturated in the old-fashioned conception of history that they are impervious to the recognition of any fundamental change in human conditions. Why, I ask, will people go on discussing the riddle of peace upon an historical basis, in historical terms, that are superseded?
The bedrock realities upon which all our ideas of social and political policy must now rest, are, I assert, as follows:
A complete biological revolution has happened to our species. There has, in the past half century, been a complete reversal of the conditions under which human beings have to live. A tremendous development of invention and discovery has swung us round, in less than half a century, from need to possible abundance, and from remoteness to unavoidable contact.
One most obvious result of that development has been to bring all the people of the world together upon each other's doorsteps. This is spoken of generally as the abolition of distance, and this abolition of distance is something that has made every national, sovereign state in the world too small for contemporary conditions. Let me repeat these words. They are too small for contemporary conditions. But there they are!
There has also been an incredible increase in power and productive capacity. It is now a simple statement of fact that we could have a world of universal prosperity, if we had peace. That was not true half a century ago.
There has been a tremendous release of energy, and the present political, social and economic organisation of the world gives no scope for its utilisation except in destructive violence and war.
* And here I put a star to direct your attention to what is surely the very central factor in our present complications. It is not only mechanical energy that is set free, but human energy of a most urgently restless type, in the form of great numbers of restless unemployed young men. These supply the driving force for the Hooligan, the Nazi, Fascist, Communist, the I.R.A. movements that are everywhere tearing our social order to pieces; and until we find a way out of this incessant revolt and conflict that will turn the human energy into creative channels, matters will go on from bad to worse, war will go on from bad to worse.
We have to adapt ourselves to these new conditions, or, like every other species which does not adapt itself to new conditions, we have to perish. Now here I have stated what I believe to be the gist of the present human problem. For consider: what we call war to-day is not war as history has known it. It is a different thing. Its destructive effect is immeasurably greater. It is now a truism that if we do not end war, war will end us.
Nor is the competitive hunt for profit and dividends the same tolerable process that it was in the past. I find few people rea1ise how much of our business exploitation to-day is a wastage of resources that can never be replaced. Few people realise the destructiveness of business competition nowadays. Because of this change in our conditions.
We are not only burning up our coal and our oil, and sweating and degrading the workers who are employed for that service, but we are rapidly stripping our planet of its forests, and so turning a wholesome, mitigated rainfall into an alternation of droughts and soil-destroying torrents. We are exterminating hundreds of precious and interesting species that can never be replaced, whales, elephants, penguins, seals and the like, and we are turning millions of acres of grassland into dusty deserts. All this is ascertainable fact. Unregulated competitive business, because of the new teeth and claws invention and discovery have given it, is doing this.
We have power and more power, and everywhere it is being used to knock our world to pieces. That is why it is now urgent to replace not only our Sovereign States, but also our competitive and wasteful economic exploitations, by a more highly organised method-or perish. To achieve a progressive world organisation as speedily as possible, before extinction overtakes us, is, therefore, the primary problem, about which Mr. Everyman-you and I-has to get his mind clear now. Everything rests on our ability to solve that. Unless we are clear about that, not merely world peace, but the survival of our species in its present form, is just futile aspiration.
We are fighting now face to face with an enemy whose one passionate aim is manifestly destructive conquest; we are ruled by governments that betray us by their passionate desire to keep on the propitiatory defensive. The plain truth is that we cannot stay where we are. We have to go on or succumb. We have to achieve the reorganisation of the world as one continually progressive, political, social, economic and educational community, and embark upon the realisation of the abundance and ever-fuller life for man that is now attainable. We have to do that because there is no other road except the road to destruction.
Am I right in that? Or have you some other end in mind about which I know nothing? And if so will you tell me what that end is? Can you set up the universal peace and plenty that is now clearly possible on earth, in any other way?
Let me ask you now what the setting-up of one sovereign peace in the world and one general economic control, means. It means World Revolution.. I ask you not to be afraid of the word "Revolution." Speak English. Don't think of Revolution as an affair of street barricades, the heads of beautiful ladies on pikes, and tumbrils going to the guillotine. Our "Glorious Revolution" in 1688 had none of these ingredients, and the Revolution that established the Hanoverian Succession was practically bloodless. You can have a Revolution without massacre or violence. But anyhow, I submit that organised world peace and welfare mean such a Revolution in human life as will dwarf all previous revolutions to comparative insignificance. It means such a universal scrapping of time-honoured institutions as mankind has never faced hitherto. Consider: Man has always been a war-making animal. Our sovereign national governments arose as war-making organisations, and now we are under the necessity of setting up one single Pax in the world. That is a quite fundamental change of front for humanity. How can we do that without either completely amalgamating all existing governments, so far at least as their power to make war goes, or else reducing them to the position of ceremonial memories like Halloween or the Ancient Society of Druids and setting up a common control over them? I put it to you with the utmost deference that anyone who runs about now demanding permanent world peace and who is not prepared to scrap the sovereignty of his own government and amalgamate the general control of political and economic life into a world-wide system, is either muddle-headed or insincere or both. This means the end of the British Empire quite as much as the end of German Imperialism. You have to face it. In other words, I am saying that if we really want World Peace and World Welfare, that means we are World Revolutionary Socialists, and for my own part I cannot see how we can escape the chain of reasoning along which I have been led to this conclusion.
Now here I propose to make a digression upon human motives and upon the forces that give us our Quislings, and particularly King Leopold Quisling, that Eton boy who deliberately betrayed his country and his allies, to the sympathetic consternation of the better-class elements in our present compromise government. I think that there are common features in all the weakening and defeatist elements which complicate the democratic effort everywhere throughout the world. I want to make it clear that hatred of the common man and hatred of the idea of government in the common interest, exists everywhere on earth and that it has to be given its proper value, which is almost primary, in mapping out the problem before us.
I have said that some of us are really fighting with a clear desire to go on to a new world, and that others of us are pulling back to preserve a state of affairs tbat is collapsing. Sooner or later, I repeat, and the sooner the better, we have to make our choice between revolution and reaction. The world at large is not clear about this and it is becoming urgently necessary tbat it should become clear about it.
For the past few months I have been almost continually engaged in sampling human reactions to the present situation. I have received and read, and sometimes re-read, thousands of letters provoked by my trial attempts to state the broad facts of that situation, and a very considerable volume of printed comment and criticism. In addition I have read a large number of books which, quite independently of anything I was doing, deal with these same broad facts. In modem phraseology I have been engaged in Mass Observation in the field of expression of opinion. A certain section of the letters dealt in a spirit of charitable detestation with my parlous spiritual state, and others dealt very wholesomely with my lack of personal charm and the undesirableness of my continued existence. I agree about the disagreeableness; I am not particularly in love with my style; but I find it gets rather oily and ambiguous when I try assuagement; and I find a sufficient countercorrespondence to go on with this research in my own manner. It cannot be so very long anyhow before I stop altogether.
Happily the very great bulk of this material I have had to handle has been without personal reference, pleasant or unpleasant. Even when it has been definitely addressed to me, it has been inspired by so keen an interest in the material under discussion, that only facts, views and estimates have mattered to the writers. One would have to be omniscient or completely stupid not to have learnt a great deal both in detail and about the general shape and statement of one's views through such an experience, and though I find the general trend of thought I have followed remains substantially the same, there has been nevertheless a decided change in the relative value of two of the main lines of possible political development, and I have realised a need for much greater explicitness upon certain issues where I had rashly assumed there was a general under standing. Let me state as simply as I can what I mean when I say that my sense of the relative values of certain processes in this task of world adaptation has been modified by these months of study and discussion I have spent in getting my mind clear. When we call this warfare a war between Democracy and Gangster Aggression, I realise more and more, we mean not a struggle between existing sovereign powers, divided vertically from one another, the good democracies and the bad, bad, bad swastika folk, but a struggle between aggressive dominating types of people and the general interest, a struggle which is going on in every state in the world. I am in agreement with the psychology of Adler rather than Freud about the essential motives of human beings. The desire to feel secure and superior, to command and extort respect and recognition, amounts to a primary hunger; it is far more essential than the intermittent drives of sex. Everywhere and under any political formula, it leads to parallel, if not identical, conflicts.
That has been manifested very plainly by the course of events in Northern Europe. In Finland and all the Scandinavian countries there has been a very considerable amount of progressive liberal and labour legislation during the past quarter of a century. Social services have been vigorously developed, educational standards have risen slums have vanished, upper chambers have disappeared from the legislatures; no other countries whatever have gone so far in the direction of a unIversally prosperous equalitarian parliamentary regime. There has been a vast increase in vulgar happiness. The ground was cut from beneath the feet of the Communist by these advances. In Finland in 1918 there had been a very considerable Marxist movement and there was a grim civil war; it is not an entirely satisfactory story but in the end compromise prevailed. In a brief twenty years insurrectionary Marxism had dwindled to ineffectiveness in Finland, the agrarian and urban workers had come to a working understanding, and men who had literally hunted one another in the days of conflict were working together for the general good. It was an astounding experience to come, as it did in 1920 and again in 1934, from the Marxist pseudo-socialism of Russia to these orderly, happy and highly socialistic countries.
Yes. But there was discontent in them and discontent of a very definite sort. In Stockholm last August when I was there I encountered some very strong whiffs of that discontent. I do not mean discontent from below. There was indeed an active Communist Party, but that was no more natural to the soil than our English communism. It was just a nuisance to the Labour-Liberal political bodies, and it was quite conceivably subsidised by reactionary money. Its chief activity, there as everywhere, was to disorganise the progressive parties. The real and dangerous discontent was from above. One found it among the more active employers, in the official and military classes and the sort of people who were gradually being deprived of their sense of superiority and importance by the progressive social equalisation. They felt it had gone too far.
They resented the criticism of their business management and finance, they were offended by the sight of the happy and cheerful common people who ate in the same rather democratised restaurants and showed the utmost lack of deference in tramways and trains. They felt just as our British Colonel Blimps do when a private in uniform eats in their presence, or a coloured man gets into the same railway compartment. They wanted these common people deprived of all this Parliamentary nonsense and put back in their places, and they saw in the Nazi reaction in Germany the very pattern of the methods required.
Why should we pretend things were not so? In Sweden up to the outbreak of the war there was the possibility of an illegal pro-Nazi coup, and the same was manifestly true of Finland. So far had matters gone that the war-planes of Finland were even adorned with a blue swastika to facilitate their co-operation with the black. Everything was ready for a struggle from above downwards to arrest the legalised democratic drift and embark upon a common attack upon Russia as the symbol (even if it had become a monstrously unsatisfactory symbol) of the proletarian idea. In 1937-8 Sweden and Finland, like Poland, were ripe for a Nazi revolt from above. Apparently this was also true of South Norway. And it is absurd to say that the Stalin-Molotov dictatorship in Russia had no reason to fear an attack through Finland. From their doctrinaire, stupid and suspicious but not altogether ill-informed point of view, they had ample reason to regard Finland as the destined spear-head of an anti-Comintern attack. It is to Hitler that we owe the frustration of this reactionary possibility. No man in the world, not even Ribbentrop, has done so much as he has done to expose and destroy the imminent danger of totalitarian world dominion. Think of all the possible allies this foolish leader of the blind has dispersed. The Germanised and Yiddish-speaking Jews fought loyally for German ascendency inside and outside Germany as long as they possibly could. In the 1914-1918 conflict their services to Germany were of immense value. All the Jews in Poland and the Baltic provinces were naturally pro-German. Germany was their spiritual home. Yiddish was a German dialect and they were proud of it. The Jews in America, again, until Hitler came along, were largely anti~British and pro-German. They were powerful in the press, in the book trade and in criticism. To them we owe the poisonous legend that every Englishman who visits America is a "British propagandist," however cunningly disguised.
Hitler has deprived Germany of all that potential loyalty and preference. In a state of hysteria at the approach of his particular nightmare, the war upon two fronts, he sold his possible Nazi friends like cattle to their traditional enemies. I hope that as a consequence we may see at last the blue swastika and all it stands for fade out of the struggle and out of the political imagination of the north.
The point I want particularly to stress here is the revelation of the extreme precariousness of any advances in social well-being and popular happiness by parliamentary activity, unless they are fortified by a world-wide co-operation of the popular and constructive elements in society to restrain the fear and resentment of the rich and privileged. I have always opposed and ridiculed the class-war theories of Marx and his followers, the classwar upward, but the behaviour of a number of significant people since the betrayal of the liberal Republican Government in Madrid, has brought me to realise, as I never did before, the strength and quality of the classwar downward. I find this jealousy, this fear of equality, this dread of a world without inferiors, without people one can command and order about, a primary factor in our present perplexities.
It happens that a typical case of downward class-hatred has come to hand, has, so to speak, volunteered, in the person of Dean Inge. In a recent essay about me he has favoured the world with an explanation of the revolutionary flavour of my views. I suffer, he says and have never recovered from, "the hardships of my early life"; I am "permanently embittered" with the genteel classes; at the sight of real ladies, deer parks, the stately homes of England and the clergy, I "see Red" and "exult in the destitution" which I "hope awaits them." (Note please that word "destitution" and not" destruction," because I shall have more to say about that.) He then sails on to a string of vague utterances against "Victorian Socialism" and a story of vast massacres and abominable outrages committed, he alleges, in Spain, and apparently with my connivance if not under my direct incitement. Or else I do not know why he drags them in when he writes about me. I make no defence whatever to these extraordinary charges. I mention them simply because they justify me in discussing the Dean's mental and moral condition with an equal freedom and a clearer regard to the facts.
I have watched him closely for many years. I have been curious about him and perplexed by him. He is conservative and reactionary, but he is not an arrogant Tory. There is nothing of the large generosity of an autocrat about him, nor has he any of the overbearing confidence of a storm-trooper or a Russian commissar. Nor should I say he is at all snobbish, though he takes a lively interest in people of good family as being in fact the only people who are justified in living. But he IS saturated with animus against common people and against any legislation or any social forces that seem likely to diminish to any degree their inferiority to himself. He grudges them their reproduction, their education, for which he assumes they are "unfitted," and he bemoans any collective action to civilise their living and working conditions. Now there, it seems, we have something closely akin to that spirit of suppression which underlies that middle and upper class sympathy with the Totalitarian State outside the formally Totalitarian States, which I observed in Sweden, and which I have found far too abundant for my liking at home in England; the spirit of the blue swastika. But in the Dean it lacks dramatic quality. He will denounce me as a "Red," but he will not attack me as a "Red." If and when I am hustled off with blows and kicks to the Brown House or seized and dosed with castor oil, I am sure I shall not detect his familiar and, I warn him, very recognisable legs and gaiters among my masked assailants. His Fascism is of a more indoor and defensive type.
And reconsidering again those innumerable articles of his which poured out from Lord Beaverbrook's papers in Lord Beaverbrook's unregenerate days, I am struck more and more by the continual insistence upon payments. He resents" paying for other people's children" and other people's illnesses and old age and so on and so forth. And, following up this clue, I find it leads me not merely to an explanation of Dean Inge, but to the adjustment of quite a large mass of behaviour in our world at the present time to our world problem. He belongs to a large class of people who resent expenditure upon all social services with extreme bitterness. War preparation, police, law courts and whatever protects property he can tolerate, but schools, medical services, housing, these are anathema to him. He stands preeminently for that rentier type of mind which has been produced in great masses by the financial and economic developments of the past two or three centuries. He clings to a sense of superiority over the great majority of his fellow creatures, but he does not do so in any titled, decorated, armed and trampling manner. He has transferred all that assertiveness to his property and more particularly to his investment list. For him typically, as for vast multitudes of his class, the central sustaining reality in life is neither God nor Church nor country nor duty nor any of those brave decorative things, but the investment list and the income it yields. He thinks in terms of solvency, and his use of "destitution" instead of "destruction" in the sentence I have quoted exposes the very core of his mind.
Whatever sustains that central reality is his good, whatever threatens it is his evil. There is the key to his objection to expenditure on social service and to his dread of anything that threatens him with expropriation. In a world of increasing terrors for his class, he still clings to the desperate idea that these swastika cults will keep the people down for him. The supreme evil, because it is the plainest threat, is "Bolshevism," but anyone he suspects of taxation and collectivisation he denounces, as he denounces me, as a "Red." We are all Reds together, we are all in a conspiracy against that sacred thing, which he calls civilisation, Christian civilisation, or what you will, and nothing is too bad for us. He lapses into conspiracy mania upon the lines of Mrs. Nesta Webster, whose Secret Societies and Subversive Movements must never be forgotten in any study of the present political and social conflict in Britain.
Now I do not want to accuse Dean Inge of any essential dishonesty or wickedness. He is not writing or thinking, as people say, with his tongue in his cheek. It is a!l to his credit that he reveals to us, honestly and plainly, exactly what he is. He is what his origins have made him. He does not know how completely his mind has been transferred to those threatened investments as the touchstone of social and political good. But the consequences of such a fundamental distortion of the mind become apparent directly we come to any question of evidence bearing on the case. Any statement that discredits these " Reds," however preposterous, he accepts and repeats eagerly. Any statement that seems to him to favour the anti-Reds must by that fact be true. And I find he has a kindred spirit in our press in Mr. Arthur Bryant, who, I understand, is a trusted adviser of some of our present rulers.
I will take them, therefore, together. I refuse to charge either of these gentlemen with deliberate falsehood. But I can do so only on the assumption that they are so mentally deranged by their horror of expropriation as the ultimate evil, that they are indifferent to the ordinary rules of evidence. I have been pleading with them recently, both in private and in public, to come straight and own up, about certain fantastic statements they have made about Spain, and it is only after a complete failure to get them to do anything of the sort, that I produce them here as types of a widespread, and still spreading, infectious mental malady, a malady that has to be taken into very serious consideration in our speculation upon the possibility of bringing some sort of new order out of our present world confusion.
First with Dean Inge. He has written (the italics are mine):
"I cannot understand how any decent person can deny that the Nationalists were justified in taking arms against those devils in human shape, the Spanish Reds, who, fighting under the 'hammer and sickle' and under orders from Moscow, butchered three hundred thousand men and women, a hundred thousand in Madrid alone, in an attempt to extirpate whole classes of the population. It is difficult to forget what an American eyewitness saw in the town of Ronda, near Malaga. The Reds impaled on stakes all the male inhabitants who belonged to the middle class, and while they were dying in agony compelled them to watch their wives and daughters being first violated and then burnt alive. There are scores of similar horrors equally well authenticated."
There is a plain statement. I asked for the evidence and I pointed out that when the "Nationalists" took arms the Spanish Government was a Liberal Republican one which had recently suppressed with considerable difficulty an Anarchist-Syndicalist revolt. And I asked particularly for the name and qualifications of that "American eye-witness." To which the Dean replied proudly: "I have made a careful study of the Spanish horrors, and have accepted none but well-documented evidence." He then without a word of apology dropped his American eye-witness and appealed to "a book by Mr. Arthur Bryant," which Mr. Bryant tells me does not exist-he has never written about Ronda-and there I was left. Mr Bryant referred me to "official" reports upon atrocities by the Nationalist authorities, but I feel I have hunted the Dean far enough. As for the Communist rule in Spain, the Dean cites Krivitsky's I Was Stalin's Agent as convincing evidence. It is plain that if Krivitsky's book has a word of truth in it, then he was by his own confession an accessory for many :years to a complex of crimes, frauds, tortures and deceits. Why should we trust him now '/ The Dean cannot have it both ways. And this assertion that something is " official" without date or other reference, is really beyond sane acceptance. What Herr Goebbels says is "official." What Lord Haw Haw says is "official," and the denials of the Republican Government in Madrid were equally official. So far from making a "careful study" of the matter, it is plain that the Dean has just shut his eye and gobbled what he wanted. "I could have found several equally dreadful examples by Spanish eye-witnesses, but some of them I did not care to keep on my shelves. The estimate of 300,000 victims is official; some have put the number much higher. Krivitsky's I Was Stalin's Agent is most illuminating; for example, page 120: "The Ogpu had done a brilliant piece of work. In December, 1936, the terror was sweeping Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. The Ogpu... carried out assassinations and kidnapping.... The Soviet Union had a grip on Loyalist Spain, as if it were already a Soviet possession."
According to the Dean and Mr. Arthur Bryant, Franco, you see, had taken up arms in July, 1936, to avenge what happened, according to that veracious witness, Krivitsky, in the subsequent December.
Meanwhile, so far as figures go, Mr. Arthur Bryant outdoes Dean Inge, and I find him running on in this style in the pages of the Illustrated London News:
"...the deliberate murder of 800,000 men, women and children in cold blood, as did the Communist rulers of Republican Spain in the early days of the Civil War. For it seems that these ghastly slaughter-house figures, which can now at least be computed, far exceed anything previously estimated in this country."
Shocked by this, I wrote direct to Mr. Arthur Bryant, asking him to clear up that massacre of the entire middle-class of Ronda with the Dean, and to justify or apologise and withdraw his" deliberate murder... in cold blood" figures and his statement that the Republican Government in Spain at the time of Franco's treason was a "Communist" one. I pleaded with him as one decent Englishman to another to own up and not make it necessary for me to expose him. He referred me as his source for that 800,000 to an evidently well-informed article in The Times for January 3rd last. Now here let me quote what that article says and ask the reader to judge whether a man who can draw the above conclusion from what follows can really be considered to be in his right mind.
"The shadow of tragedy lies heavy over all. With a total of murdered estimated at 800,000, apart from 400,000 killed in regular fighting, there is hardly a family in the land without a sense of wrong as well as loss, if not a desire for vengeance. This extends to the relatives of the 'executed.' Ten months after the civil war ended, prisons remain crammed and tribunals have to struggle to keep pace with arrests. Denunciation is extended to foreigners, as in the case of Mr. Charles Clayton Ray, president of the British Chamber of Commerce in Madrid, who has been twice molested. Association with the 'Red' Governments or authorities, even in official capacity, is confounded with crirrunality.... In spite of promises to the contrary, persecution for political reasons continues and heavy sentences are pronounced. Fifty Basque priests still lie in prison. Two of them were recently reprieved from death by General Franco, but the Mayors of Tudela and Eibar, together with the youth Raimundo Uriarte, leader of the Basque mendigoxales (Alpinists) were shot."
You see what Mr. Bryant's 800,000 butchered" in cold blood" amounts to. It includes all the Franco massacres also, systematic killings that are still in progress, and it spreads over the whole period from 1935 to the present day. Yet he still clings to his own interpretation.It is a triumph of faith over fact. The Dean's "official" 300,000 is a reduction of half a million, and still it will not stand examination. No less a witness than General Franco can be put into the box. In a review of the state of Spain at the end of last year he gave the figure of the legal government's killings from first to last as 100,000. Even he may not be entirely free from bias. One gets down to something rather more tangible in F. A. Voigt's Unto Caesar. There we find that he estimates the shootings in Madrid, including those of persons who were spying, signalling or fighting against the government within the city, and who were shot, therefore, according to all the accepted usages of war, as "at least" 40,000. He tells me personalJy that he was able to see the police records of the shootings in Madrid from first to last, and he estimates the total of those records as about 35,000. He feels, however, that these figures are incomplete, and he adds another 10,000 for his own satisfaction. Let us assume that 22,500 of these were unjustifiable political murders. That is frightful enough, but we must remember Spaniards of all parties take their politics grimly. Still it does little to exculpate my two cases from the charge of a bias amounting in effect to mania.
Now if these two gentlemen on the dissecting table were rare specimens, it would not be worth while devoting space and time to their state of mind, but they are not rare specimens; the problem of their kind and what has to be done to them is a central one in our present discussion. In The Fate of Homo sapiens I drew attention to the influence of Mrs. Nesta Webster's Secret Societies and Subversive Movements. It is a book that all serious people interested in the British situation ought to read and think about, and very few of them do. I give Mrs. Nesta this much advertisement. You hear little of her in what we call literary circles, and your ordinary educated man, if her volume should ever come into his hands, will probably either consider it a joke and read it through with chuckles, or drop it as preposterously silly. But the politics of Great Britain are not now in the hands of highly educated people, and if we are to understand the mental forces at work in influential quarters at the present time, we cannot Ignore Mrs. Webster, Buchmanism Christian Science, occultism and so forth. They are probably more influential even than orthodox Anglicanism.
In my Fate of Homo sapiens, published before the war broke out, I wrote:
"I should describe Mrs. Nesta Webster as a perfectly sane and capable person with insane ideas, so widely do I disagree with her. I believe her influence has spread far beyond the circle of her actual readers. Milder forms of the same intellectual malaise at any rate are now prevalent throughout the more prosperous classes in Great Britain and America. It is the only way to account for the behaviour of Mr. Neville Chamberlain, for example, or Lord Rothermere, the British newspaper proprietor, towards the Jews, towards Russia, during the past two or three years. A tepid, negligent, broad Christianity is becoming an aggressive, narrow pro-Christianity under the stresses of the time."
In America this rentier mentality is probably even more obstinately anti- common-man than in Great Britain. It is the clue to all the frenzied denunciations of the New Deal by rich people and their consistent efforts to hinder and sabotage the socialisation of America by Franklin Roosevelt. All these defensive rentiers would break away into defeatism and a deal to-morrow, if only Goering and Hitler would let them. These case-book studies I have made throw a new and very illuminating light upon the reality beneath all this vehement pseudo-Christianity that still seeks to transfigure this present conflict into a religIous war against anti-God (and anti-Stock Exchange) Rusia.
And I think they make the significance of that Finish blue swastika clear. All these things psycholopical understanding of that downward class war, which threaten) all our hopes and liberties.
IN the preceding section I have done my best to put before you my conception of the roughly triangular conflict that is now going on in the human community. I have tried to put the Blue Swastika, the Rentier mentality and the Black Swastika in their proper relationship to each other and to the collapse of the Investors' world. None of these things present any hopeful alternative to the third path-the Revolutionary path. There, there is hope, and how much hope there is, and what call there is for effort, must be our next question. Either, convinced by such considerations as I have put before you, you will decide more or less honestly to be a Revolutionary. That means the utmost selfobliteration of which you are capable in a good cause. You will find that idea worked out very clearly by a very great Russian psychologist, Chakhotin, a former colleague of Pavlov, in a book called The Rape of the Masses. You should read that book. Become a conscious, devoted Revolutionary. That is the first alternative.
Or you will try to dodge about in the convulsion in human affairs ahead of us, buy gold bars for example and bury them, cheat or wangle advantages, or resort to political gangsterism and bare-faced robbery. You will perhaps resort to the propitiatory complicity of the Blue Swastika. Or thirdly, you will join what will probably be the great majority of mankind in the days ahead. You will submit, you will bolt, you will evade facts until they overtake you. You will join what is always the great majority in a decadent species, the fugitives and victims.
That is the triple choice before you; either a revolutionary, or a gangster-trickster, or a victim. Fight, cheat or yield. Your pride and conscience must decide.
I HAVE argued that the alternatives before a human being in the face of our present stresses are, to fight, cheat or yield. You have either to be a World Revolutionary, working to set up a new Law and Order in the world, or a shyster, or a victim. I am now going to assume that we have braced ourselves to the first alternative. We propose to make the establishment of a New World Order the major interest in our lives. It is a vast undertaking, but I, for one, do not believe it is a hopeless one, and I will now set before you my reasons for that belief as plainly and clearly as I can.
I believe that we have at hand now the means and the method for a New World Order that will make that collapsing Golden Age of the Investor, that transitory upper and middle class world order of the late Victorian age, seem a mere gleam of barbaric prosperity before the dawn.
Let us now put the question: What is the primary problem we human beings have to solve? Obviously it is to replace or at least to mitigate adequately these militant, sovereign, national governments and these competitive business and financial organisations, which are now, under the new conditions created by invention and discovery, devastating and tearing our world to pieces, by something that will override, restrain, and even perhaps end, their conflicts. We want to discover some project that will not only open a way to peace out of this present conflict but establish a safe barrier against the recurrence of warfare in the future. Can it be done 1 and inseparable from that, How can it be done? Now there is a word very much in circulation at present which, for reasons I will make clear, I have been disposed to regard with considerable suspicion, the word" Federation." It can be used very easily in a misleading and dangerous way, and that was the thing most evident to me at the onset. Combined with "Union," in the phrase "Federal Union," it appeared associated with some extremely misleading and preposterous schemes. Their mental quality aroused a sort of contemptuous dislike in me, and in my desire to make my objections emphatic, I may have struck at ideas outside the definite target at which I aimed. Happily I am not one of your heaven-sent leaders, but merely an explorer. I profess no inspired omniscience. If I find I have reported things wrongly I do my best to correct that report as soon as possible. I am going now to restate my ideas about Federation-or may I call it?-Federalism. I don't think that I or for that matter anyone else has been very clear about that word. Released from its early associations, and stripped down to its essential significance, cleaned and defined, this word "Federalism" may yet prove to be the key word for the solution we are seeking.
But let us keep this clear; "Federalism" is the thing; "Federal Union," as it is now being used, is something much more limited.
What is a Federation in the broadest sense? A Federation is nothing more nor less than an agreement on the part of this or that group of independent powers or organisations to set up a common authority to which they delegate certain specific functions and no others. You can have a federation of football clubs or of manufacturers. You can have a federation of free cantons like the Swiss Republic. The essence of federation is that the federating bodies keep their identity and merely delegate powers.
For instance, and it is a thing most Europeans fail to keep in mind, all the States in the United States of America are independent sovereign States. They do what they please, they have powers of life and death, inside their boundaries. The Sacco and Vanzetti case, the Scottsborough case, the peculiar divorces of Reno, are local stories as much outside the purview of the Federal Government of the United States as the troubles of Shanghai or Tibet. The Federal Government is concerned only with the collective foreign policy, army and navy, money, inter-state trade and so forth, and each carefully defined function has been speciaIly relinquished to it in the Federal Constitution. This is one outstanding type of federation. It is an affair of power politics; it is a regional grouping of sovereign states which realised that they were doomed to conflict and disaster if they remained divided, in face of European, and particularly of British, encroachment. So they made a common front to the danger, and incidentally got rid of the inconvenience of local monies and inter-state trade barriers.
But the American Union is only one type of federation. There exists also a whole series of organisations at the present time which are much wider in scope and which deal only in very strictly defined fields. Essentially they also are federal. I want to stress that. They are federal in spirit even when they are not federal in form.
This type of federalism is often spoken of nowadays as ad hoc internationalism. A typical case is the Postal Union. So far as our correspondence goes, we have been living for some time in a loose world federal state. It is true that the associated countries all print and sell their own stamps in order to advertise their monarchs, their great personages and their scenery and products upon them. There is indeed a complicated system of coupons for the payment of return postage, but there are still no federal world stamps, and under the stresses of war the privacy of letters is no longer respected. But the fact that the idea has so far materialised only imperfectly, does not affect the validity of the idea.
That great Jewish genius, David Lubin, had a scheme for developing the Postal Union into a world parcels post, setting no limit to the bulk of parcels, standardising frieght, and so bringing all the goods transport and merchant shipping of the world under one international control. It was a clear-headed, practicable idea. It pointed straight to that economic world federalism which is our only escape now from unending conflict. He organised the International Institute of Agriculture in Rome, which, before 1914, had independent treaties with nearly all the sovereign States of the world and received reports, month by month, upon the crop outlook everywhere, so that it was becoming possible to foretell gluts and shortages, famine and superfluity, and provide for them, all over the world. That was twenty-six years ago. 1914 put an end to that development. The International Institute of Agriculture, in so far as it had delegated powers, was an even closer approach to economic federalism than the Postal Union, though it never had time, before it was overtaken, to develop a system of agents of its own throughout the world.
The Elder Brethren of Trinity House, again, who light and chart and dredge all the sea channels of the world, constitute another world organisation essentially federal in its nature. The control of the drug traffic the control of the White Slave traffic, the distribution of radio wave lengths, are all parallel instances of ad hoc internationalism. Already in respect to these various matters, we were living practically in the dawn of a federal world state before the present War overtook us. We may call the first sort of federalism, political power federation, and I suggest we call this second type of international co-operation, ad hoc wprld federalism, since it deals ad hoc with only one function. They are the two extremes of the same thing. At one extremity we have essentially political federations, power federations, limited both in their functions and their boundaries; and at the other extremity, federalism limited only by function. Some legal-minded people will think that I am stretching this word "federalism" unjustifiably to bring in these world-wide types of international cooperation, .but for the life of me I can find no difference except in degree and range between these extremes. The essential thing in both types is the surrender of one or more particular function to a common control, while retaining every other aspect of sovereignty intact.
And I want to put it to you that another, a third distinct form of federalism is developing now, under the stresses of the present struggle. I do not think anyone of us has sufficiently appreciated its possibilities in our discussion of the world situation. It may develop very remarkably.
It arises from the imperative necessity that allies engaged in modern totalitarian warfare, should pool their military, air and naval commands, stabilise their exchanges, co-operate closely in their economic life, in their shipping and general transport, in their declaration of war aims and in their preparations for peace. That sort of federalism, the natural product of necessity, was in operation between the Allies in the late phases of the war of 1914-18. It worked very well. This again was not called "federation," but essentially it was. I suggest that we might very well call this "war-welded Federalism." It was not foreseen or planned; it developed out of an unavoidable need. Powers were delegated to a unified control of the fighting forces, to an allied shipping control, to a federation in the matter of supplies.
After the war, this bundle of federal arrangements was it is true broken up, but it was broken up hastily and foolishly. That is largely why we are again at war. Shipping and industries were grabbed back by private ownerships, British support was withdrawn from the franc, secret treaties and double-crossing broke out like a rash on the fair face of victory, and the foreign policies of America and the Allies came untwisted like a badly made rope. That was a disaster that must not recur. Nevertheless, there was that essentially federal phase during the earlier war; it is lamentable that it did not hold together, and under our present stresses most of it seems to be returning in an intensified form.
This time the conditions are very different. Any repetition of Armistice Day and that great Thanksgiving Service at St. Paul's, in which King, Church and Deity--none of whom could really be held responsible for the conduct of the war--gave each other credit for a glorious victory, seems to me highly improbable. This time it looks as though the elaborate cultivation of inefficiency under the British system, the concentration of power in the hands of a class so demoralised by privilege that it has failed to keep up even its own training and education for direction, had at last reached the pitch of conclusive military failure. It is unthinkable that the Allied "democratic" peoples should accept defeat but it is becoming more and more doubtful whether the directive energy and intelligence our ruling classes can now produce, is capable of conducting the conflict to a triumphant end. The slowly awakening anger of a misled people may clear away the old regime but it will not in itself produce the immediate technique for victory. This will be a stubborn and costly war for the common soldier. When this German onslaught upon civilisation passes its climax it may ebb and collapse very rapidly, but by that time the social, moral and economic exhaustion of the nominal victors will probably have reached a phase which will render them incapable of dictating any such peace as that made at Versailles.
What then is the outlook? It seems to me that the present involuntary and unprecedented federation of ourselves and our Allies, will be forced to go on increasing and elaborating itself far beyond any more or less illusory "end " to the present fighting. This time it is going to be very much harder to unscramble the eggs we have been forced to beat up together for the second time. Now here, it seems, we have a third distinct type of federalism; federation through conflict under modem conditions. To distinguish between this and the power block federation, the " Federal Union" idea on the one hand and ph doc world internationalism on the other, we may call this third type of federalism "war-welded Federalism."
And as I have been turning over this general theory of federalism in my mind, I have come to realise that there is a possible way towards a world settlement arising out of this conception of War-welded Federalism. I want to put that idea before you. If it stands examination, I put it to you it may turn out to be a very valuable and important idea indeed.
Unless the onset of peace is to take us by surprise, just as we were taken by surprise by the war and by the discovery of the immense unpreparedness, incapacity and half-heartedness of our governing class, it is evident we must set about thinking out the probJem of peace for ourselves now. They cannot be trusted to handle it for us.
Talking about peace need not and must not weaken our fighting, but talking about a worth-while peace may put a lot of energy into our fighting. It is plainly impossible now to call off any of the fighting until the Germans are exhausted, and until something like a general disarmament is agreed upon and provided for.
It is not our choice that; they won't let us. How can you trust Germans any more so long as they have arms in their hands? And the return of the evacuated populations has to be not only stipulated for but arranged for, before we leave off. We must be agreed about that. Treaties aren't good enough. But when we are through there will have to be far greater social reconstructions than were attempted at Versailles. Money is going to "bust." Both sides will have to come together upon that much, before this war, as they call it, can end. Anything short of that will be merely a pause for another Nazi surprise. The Armistice will be imposed by necessity on both sides. Until there is some such fully implemented Armistice prepared, how can this fighting stop? It may ebb for a while and then break out again, but there can be no other ending for it. So that a lot of the terms of the Armistice will have to be discussed and settled-through neutrals perhaps, and in all sorts of roundabout wayswhile the fighting is still going on. Maybe America may formulate these conditions. Maybe America and Russia-have you thought of such a combination?-may insist upon them. Neither dare permit a Germany rampant. Neither wants to fight, but they cannot tolerate that. Then they must co-operate in holding her down. And how else can she be held down except by fully empowered world commissions? So the idea of a war-welded federation of the combatants and the interveners, quasi-victors and quasi-vanquished, may emerge in the guise of a great tangle of special world adjustment commissions....
That is surely a much more possible and practicable outcome than any mere triumph of us or them. Europe is being bled down to pale reasonableness pretty rapidly. And the shortest way to cessation will be special world commissions. We could have the best part of the world under international commissions in quite a short time if it wasn't for the inertia of the older politicians. In two or three years at the outside. That is the most probable way out of this bloody chaos and the most possible and the most desirable. Unless this break-up of the world into a slaughter scramble is to go on in-definitely, there must be an effective disarmament commission, a reparations commission, an international commission for the restoration of the displaced populations, an air and general transport commission, and a commission for the restoration of production by some readjustment of money and barter, all in operation quite soon. Their work, once it begins, may stretch over year....
Is this asking too much of the human intelligence? At its present level? I for one do not think so. One world-wide federation there must certainly be after this war and that is a federation to put a stop to air war for ever. Plainly that at least must stop, or civilised life must stop, and the one and only way to stop it is to set up a world commission with full powers to control the air everywhere, powers of search, powers of instant suppression. No single country can be left out of that. If necessary, countries must be compelled to come in. And no simple treaties or conventions will meet the case. There will be no more treaties because there is no more good faith. Germany has killed that for ever. The air commission must be a commission with full powers, a world air police. All over the world reasonable people and common people will be in favour of that. Patriots may object, but even patriotism may be out of fashion in a little while. And once we federate so far as the air goes, we can add other world commissions quite easily to the bundle of delegated powers. All that, we can get out of a properly conditioned and previously discussed and formulated Armistice. We can get it in no other way. So I take it that is the way things will have to go.
What else can there be? Utter disaster. Even countries that keep neutral right up to the end will see the logic of the new conditions; they will surely insist upon bearing a share in this settlement. It is a universal concern. They will all be under arms. They will all be entangled economically in the war. Is there such a thing as an "Isolationist" left even in America? If so, it must be some old gentleman who cannot read. Inevitably all the world must participate. The alternative is to become troglodytes listening for the air-raid warning from t~e air watchers and listeners outside, as prairie dog sentinels listen for trouble, for evermore.
Do I make this idea of a sort of Standing Armistice clear? Negotiated and worked out from now on? Discussed beforehand? Put into operation at the cease fire? The longer the inevitable international commissions that would be set up, stay in being, and the more extensive they are, the less disposed reasonable men will be to part wIth them, and the more effectively will they block the way against the old order, or the old disorder sneaking back to its outworn localisations and appropriations. Putting the settlement in the hands of international commissions will save the faces of the combatant governments, and it will satisfy the immediate need for peace as I cannot imagine anything else doing. How else can we get back out of this world mess? How can our rulers and leaders and politicians dodge such an obvious settlement? Saving face is always important in old, decaying, complicated states. And under a regime of international commissions, the sovereign states will be able to declare they are still independent sovereign states, except in so far as these international commissions go. They can keep all their flags and dignities. That will not matter for the time being. We are only beginning to realise how far these commissions may be able to take us to a world-wide collectivism in raw materials, industrial distribution and so on, in spite of all such face-saving residues of sovereignty. The nominal Armistice will be in effect a Peace Union. The world will become, for all essential purposes, a federated Union, so far as the functions I have enumerated go, long before the fact is openly recognised.
And here I want to suggest that concurrently with this proposed discussion of an Armistice forthwith, there is another line of consolidation and reassurance open at the present time, and no reason whatever why it should not be followed. The democratic governments, belligerent and neutral it seems to me are doing themselves and the world a grave injury by not making a clear and detailed statement of their common conception of democracy. They have been urged to do so from many directions, and the Sankey Committee convened under the auspices of the official Labour organ in London, the Daily Herald, has drafted a Declaration of the Rights of Man which might well serve either as an actual statement of the common objectives of the progressive states at the present time, or as a basis for a careful revision. With that and the use that can be made of it, I will deal presently. The supremely desirable end at which the Declaration aims, is to establish clearly defined unanimity of outlook, so that the common man everywhere and the decent enemy citizen may know where he stands. The air is full of vague talks by the heads of states, leading politicians, eminent divines and so forth, about the common ends of civilisation, the brotherhood of mankind, etc., etc., but it is impossible to regard that kind of stuff as anything but iridescent humbug until something like a honest willingness is displayed to bring these loose, cloudy aspirations to the cutting edge of an explicit statement.
The extreme reluctance of the Allied governments to explain themselves to the world now is one of the most extraordinary aspects of the present situation. If anything is more inept than our general strategy it is our propaganda. Just as very few Europeans are aware of the essential sovereign independence of every one of the United States of America, so that the responsibility for local scandals and injustices is all charged to Washington, so hardly any stress whatever is laid upon the practical disintegration of the British Empire by the Statute of Westminster. It is a matter of vital importance in the real British case, in the face of the successful extinction of one free nation after another by the German onslaught, that the British Empire has been breaking up into free nations, visibly and so completely, that Southern Ireland has been able to remain a neutral in the present struggle and South Africa was free to discuss a similar detachment. Many even of our own people do not realise this, and it does not seem to be understood in America where as the British Pavilion at the New York World Fair showed, the only official British propaganda was a monarchist appeal to snobs. It is not clearly appreciated anywhere how far the Empire has already disarticulated itself, in convenient preparation for new and wider international readjustments.
A further change in government in Britain may afford the opportunity for a clean-up of ideas in this matter. No Germans believe in our present good intentions. They believe we are a nation of sturdy fighters led by angry, vindictive but, luckily for them, incompetent Blimps. They expect no mercy if they lose the war. We hand them over body and soul to Hitler with our indiscriminate threats. Yet since it is highly undesirable as well as impracticable to exterminate them root and branch, we shall have sooner or later to make peace with them and work with them again. Why not make it clear at once what our conditions for co-operation are and what sort of common world we intend to share with them? We are obliged to go on fighting them until they surrender the air and disarm. Cannot we make up our minds now, that we do not propose they shall surrender to any victorious antagonist or antagonists at all, but to a special ad hoc world organisation in which from the very beginning they will have a properly conditioned share?
The general embarrassment and probable failure of governments, statesmen, diplomats and politicians in the face of the present situation is to be understood if we realise that all their training has been as patnots and national advocates and that the task they have to undertake is an extensive unification of the common interests of mankind which will limit and minimise the importance of the very sovereignties in whose particularisms they have lived and moved and had their being. The Labour Party quite as much as the Conservative Party is first and foremost British. Very few men who are making political careers are likely to possess the intellectual vigour even to understand this situation in which the world finds itself, and even among that select minority the power of everyday use and wont will keep them playing on at the old game by the guttering candlelight of scholastic "history," long after the brightening dawn of the new realities has filtered round and through drawn blinds.
This is the paradoxical position of human affairs. An increasing number of us know more and more clearly how matters are with the world. A lesser number are making an effort to meet the stupendous challenge of the situation. The rest follow their traditional motives, remain passive, obey their rulers blindly and when disaster looms immediately over them give way to panic, and to the persecutions and mass hostilities that panic engenders. Whatever plans are conceived and attempted to restore progressive order in the world, they must take into account the resentments and resistances of the instinctively conservative majority. They will obey the driving force of a Hitler who leads them to destructive conquest, because, as we have pointed out, destruction, and even self-destruction, is one of the normal escapes of the weaker sort of mind, but they will not face the terrifying prospect of a reconstructed world. From Aldous Huxley downward these gentler souls will continue to sneer at the idea of a Brave New World and take refuge in the desert and self-effacement. I beg his pardon-"Detachment."
It is plain, therefore, that those who can add courage to their personal conviction that the human disaster may still be averted, must make their plans so as to inflict the minimum of shock and secure the maximum of acquiescence throughout the world. That is why it will be more convenient to set up the limited but sufficient amount of world federation needed to arrest the human debacle in the guise of a pre-arranged Armistice than to set up some terrifying and boring. World Conference with unspecified powers of reconstruction. An armistice, even a carefully prearranged armistice, has a reassuringly temporary appearance. That it had been considered beforehand would rob it of the flimsiness of an improvisation. It would leave all the existing governments (or such provisional governments the stresses of the war may produce) in being. They would simply be shorn of their more manifest powers of mutual injury. Crowns need not topple, nor natural boundaries-so long as they cease to be barriers-change. Some of the special commissions a preconceived Armistice would set up, commissions for the restoration of evacuated populations and the immediate relief of distress, for example, would be manifestly of a temporary nature. They would do their appointed work and fade out. Others, such as the air control or the control of staple production, would remain and become the permanent and not too obtrusive framework of a recuperating world.
IT is sometimes an advantage to walk round an idea and see it from various sides, and so I am going to approach this idea of getting to a practical world federalism through a prearranged Armistice, from another angle.
I happen to have had opportunities of observing the reactions of a number of human minds, including my own, in the face of an advancing certainty. Here again I have been my own guinea-pig, and what I have first observed in myself I have found reflected in the behaviour of people about me. These observations have a very direct bearing upon the problem of how to get humanity out of its present phase of distress and destruction. There is a very evident way out, but whether we shall be able to pull our minds together and take it is an altogether more debatable question.
War in the air has been foretold for more than a century. I need scarcely quote Tennyson's "airy navies grappling in the central blue." What I have more particularly in mind is a book I published in 1908, The War in the Air, a year before Bliriot flew the Channel, and I want to direct your attention to the spirit in which it was written and read. It told of a German surprise air raid upon the world (in Zeppelins), of the rapid supersession of the airship by the aeroplane, of the extension of the air war to the whole world and the collapse of civilisation under it. The argument of the book was perfectly clear and sound, and it has been sustained by the experience of the intervening third of a century. It was that air war would be enormously destructive and inconclusive. This conviction, which is a clear, reasoned conviction, I have since reiterated in various books and films. But I am not claiming credit as a prophet. I am not asking you to observe that I told you so, but how it was I told it. The point I want to stress is this, that though I could work out this argument with complete intellectual integrity, I could at the same time treat the whole devastating prospect as a joke, as a preposterous extravaganza. The War in the Air is written in a vein of cheerful burlesque. An absurd little Bert Smallways opens the story with the remark, "This here Progress, it keeps on," and he ends an ageing barbarian among the ruins of a world. I just poked fun at the march of events, and people found the book very amusing.
I wrote this book in a cheerful little house I had built for myself at Sandgate, among surroundings of an apparently invincible stability. I did not connect it in the least with the outlook of my children. There was a disconnectedness in my mind. I was not dishonest, but my mind was carrying on along two main and mutually incongruous strands, and it is only in the restrospect and in the light of the psychological analysis of. the behaviourist school of thought, which presents conscious life as an imperfect association of conditioned reflexes, that I begin to realise the significance of this. These main strands were not completely independent; they affected and coloured one another, but to a large extent they were independent processes. From the standpoint of the everyday present in 1908, war in the air was incredible and slightly absurd; from the standpoint of the intellectual process, the every-day life was just the temporarily pleasant foothold from which we looked at the inevitable. Now, since I am a very ordinary person, what is true of me is probably more or less true of most of my fellow creatures,* and I find in this realisation of the active existence of different systems in my own mind a clue to the behaviour and limitations of a great number of people which have hitherto perplexed me. They can at once understand things more or less clearly and refuse to entertain them. They can do this in perfect good faith.
* Here is precisely the same idea from Churchill's The
World Crisis, Vol I, p. 24:
"During the whole of those ten years (1904-1914) this duality and discordance were the key-note of British politics; and those whose duty it was to watch over the safety of the country lived simultaneously in two different worlds of thought. There was the actual visible world with its peaceful activities and cosmopolitan aims; and there was a hypothetical world, a world 'beneath the threshold,' as it were, a world at one moment utterly fantastic, at the next seeming about to leap into reality-a world of monstrous shadows moving in convulsive combinations through vistas of fathomless catastrophe."
Until they apprehend their own natural human inconsistency, they will behave with apparent disingenuousness and act with such complex indecisiveness as to frustrate the realisation of their own declared beliefs and intentions. Myself in 1908 reasoning out the approaching threat from the air to all the decencies of human life quite clearly and convincingly, ana telling about it in a humorous story with a disarming giggle, which robbed the warning of any direct value even for myself, is typical of what nearly all of us are doing in the face of the immense challenges of to-day. You can turn from one school of opinion to another, and every where you will find the same complexity of reaction. Quite apart from this question of the air war which I believe is bound now to clinch our decision for a united world, there have been great movements of the contemporary mind in which the same indecisiveness has been apparent. I have lived through a phase of human thought in which socialism, that is to say the recognition of the waste and injustice of the private appropriation of natural resources, the steady accumulation of social stresses towards an ultimate disaster, and the consequent need for a more-comprehensive organisation of economic life, has won its way from a minority protest to a complete argumentative establishment. "We are all socialists nowadays "-in theory.
But following upon that intellectual conviction came the question "But how? How will you reorganise your system?" People, intellectually socialist, realised that, to become really socialist, a vast series of correlated changes had to be worked out, in which all the securities, usages, precedences and subordinations of to-day would have to be readjusted-not smashed, which is comparatively easy, but readjusted, which is abominably bard. There were these customary things and one was habituated to them. That toilsome and dangerous adapatation of the world might be ultimately necessary, yes, but meanwhile, for a time, one could carry on. At any rate until over the next week-end. So with an almost unconscious and quite unpremeditated duplicity our world had put off socialism just as I put off the problem of war in the air. The method with most well-disposed people was similar, if not the same. They did. not, it is true treat socialism as a fantastic story as I did War in the Air, but they dealt with it as a Beautiful. Ideal. They enjoyed and admired the Utopias of MorrIs and Bellamy, but they studied the city article with close attention. The Catholic Church denounces the expropriation of private owners, exhorts them to consider their property as held in trust for God and man, says severe things about usury, and invests its reserves without manifest scruple in the most reprehensible enterprises. The Anglican Ecclesiastical Commissioners are accused, rightly or wrongly, of the irresponsible and socially mischievous exploitation of slum properties. In perfect but uncritical good faith.
It is easy to comment upon these things in a tone of self-righteous cynicism, but the fact is we are all made like that. Clear-headed, deliberate humbug is rare in our world, and though I consider the Roman Catholic Church as a serious obstacle to human enlightenment, though I find a hireling baseness in some few of its apologists, and though I have been "up against it" all my life, I still believe in the essential honesty of the bulk of those who speak and act for it. Never was there a falser saying than that man is a reasonable animal. Man is an extremely inconsistent animal. "The right thing to do" has a servant and a traitor, a friend and an enemy, in every man.
This evasiveness, when it is a case of tackling some huge and difficult change in human life, however imperative, is not confined merely to those who benefit obviously by the immediate securities of the demonstrably decadent and doomed system in question. There is also an evasion of the task of reconstruction on the part of those who are declaredly in open revolt against the system and who may reasonably claim to be "underdogs." In my life journey through Socialism I have had very ample opportunity of seeing into the mentality of the extreme Left and Communist Party groups. A great deal of their dogmatism and malicious mischief is due, I reaJise, to pure funk of toil, balance and responsibility. They have a standard of living and except for incidental qualifications, that everyday side of theirs resists any fundamental change quite as much as if it was luxurious and triumphant. Vindictive sabotage and malicious mischief are well within their psychological range, but not the strain of constructive work. They do not want to alter this distressing world; they want to serve it out. They make a slogan of "Socialism in our Time," but they are not merely jealous and suspicious, they are hostile and malignant towards constructive effort. They achieve their escape from effort by professing an extreme purity of revolutionary purpose; they are a bright, noble "Red," they claim, none of your "Pink" stuff; the rational socialist is anathema to them, and in practice we find their red is yellow and they are the eager allies of any reactionary movement against a liberal progressive regime. The slowing-down of the revolution in Russia, its "failure to develop economic enterprise and operative efficiency, its spasmodic storms of suspicion and suppression and the increasing absolutism of its general direction, are best accounted for by that same hysterical self-frustration of the sub-consciously incapable. Forgive a long phrase that is loaded with meaning.
To return to the particular issue on which we started; the problem of bringing this war in the air to some sort of conclusion. The peculiarities of Air War, evident from its very dawn-Bleriot flew the Channel in 1909-were this-that it was a war in three dimensions and not two; that it abolished war fronts and spread the conflict over the entire countries of the two combatants, so obliterating the distinction of combatant and non-combatant; that since its opening blows could be prepared for in profound secrecy and delivered with unprecedented swiftness, no country could henceforth feel safe from attack without warning; and that consequently it must dominate the world from now on either in the apprehension felt by a nominal neutral or in full and declared belligerence, until it is made impossible.
Advances in the science of tactics of explosives and of destructive inventions generally have merely enforced and sharpened the edges of this forecast. It becomes more and more plainly evident to every clear intelligence that at any price the possibility of air war must be banished from the earth. Either man will put an end to air war or air war will put an end to mankind; that is the plain alternative before us, and it is by no means improbable that man will fail to produce the necessary mental vigour for his continuance. This is where the fact that our minds are made up of imperfectly reconciled strands of thought and motivation becomes cardinal. Had we the undivided energy of our convictions, we should be planning already the necessary political adjustments to take at least the control of the air out of the scheme of national and imperial politics and entrust it to a fully-empowered worlddirectorate. Federal Governments are not unlimited super-governments; they are special unifying authorities to which the constituent states have relinquished certain carefully specified powers, and it is plain that war in the air, latent or active, can never cease now until the whole world is federated in this sense so far as this particular power is concerned. This much of world federation is plainly a necessity we ought to be discussing now with the neutral powers, and not only with the neutral powers, but with our antagonists through the neutral powers. Such a discussion need do nothing to qualify the vigour and acerbity of the actual warfare. Whichever combatant gains the advantage of the fighting, or whether that presently comes to a stalemate, the whole world should be aware of and prepared for this issue to which no state in the world can be indifferent. This present war is not a war for oil or iron or gold. It is now primarily a war for the mastery of the air, and the world at large cannot suffer that to remain in the hands of any single power or group of powers. The less downright "Victory" there is indeed, the greater the prospect of a reasonable settlement. Either by conquest or intelligent arrangement, this much of Federation at least must be established on earth, and the sooner intelligent people set about discussing that everywhere, war or no war, the more hopeful is the outlook.
That is the rational long-range view of the world situation. But here again we encounter the same unresolved conflict of the main groups of strands in our minds, between the strands than can forecast and prepare for things that are still for most of us not real until they actually happen, and those more immediate systems of habits and associations, of things experienced and the every-day life, which blind us to remoter realities. The actual fighting is now absorbing an increasing volume of attention, and any line of thought that goes beyond strategy and tactics is denounced by many people and denounced with an eagerness for which we have already found an explanation, as a diversion of energy from the real business in hand. It is nothing of the sort. War without clearly stated war aims is a sort of epilepsy. "First win the war," people say. But we won the .war in 1918 and then hardly anyone had the remotest idea what to do with it. This state of affairs seems likely to return again in an exaggerated form if we tolerate this sabotage of the end by the means. So now, while the outcome of the war is still uncertain, it is necessary not merely to discuss but to define the terms of an Armistice and to have it ready, cut and dried, for the inevitable phase of exhaustion and reasonableness. It needs to be something that will anticipate and may defer indefinitely the clumsy and elaborate procedure of a Peace Conference. We have taken as our type function the control of the air. It is quite possible to state preciselyat the present tme what powers would be possessed by that control. Obviously it would have to monopolise air armament, air routes, air controls, aerodromes, the manufacture of planes and airships, and it must receive its authorisation from the existing independent states of the world. How far and with what variety of methods it would receive its authorisation directly or indirectly from the peoples of these states, raises a multitude of considerations too complicated and detailed to discuss now. They do not affect the immediate imperative to set about preparing for the Armistice, to familiarise people's imaginations for it and to rouse them from their evasive fatalism as rapidly as possible now.
Air warfare has been made the backbone of this discussion of a possible armistice, or rather it makes itself the backbone, but it is by no means the only universal interest with which the terms of a definite and hopeful armistice should deal. We hear a lot of vague promises from our leading statesmen about some juster treatment of the exploitation of markets and the distribution of raw produce, in the better days ahead. None of this need remain vague. Put it in words, put it in writing now. The more the outlook of the peace ahead is defined now, the better heart we shall have to bring it about, and the less will be the power of suspicion, distrust and despair to prolong the war.
In 1918 I had some experience of the "War Aims" controversy at Crewe House. (The Secrets of Crewe House tells part of the story.) We declared we were unable to do our propaganda work effectively until we knew exactly what we and our allies wanted; we fired questions, a memorandum and delegations at the Foreign Office and were met with a solemn disingenuous vacuity. Except that the Germans were very, very bad people and had to be punished, and that Professor: (rather than President) Wilson had an innocent Gladstonian enthusiasm for nationalism, the smaller the nationalism the better, the Versailles Congress assembled in a mood of elaborate evasion, subconsciously blind to the urgency of an economic reconstruction of the world that stared it in the face. The common people were baffled and "business" grabbed back and looted.
Are we to go through the bloody business of this resuscitated war again, with the sanie stupid aimlessness? Shall we emerge once more with a jumble of flushed belligerents all making unimplemented undertakings to disarm, without the faintest intention of doing so? Shall we have to face an economic storm of inflation, social disorganisation, another General Strike-on a world scale this time, simply because we will not face these coming events while they are still controllable?
I do not think mankind can afford that risk for a second time, and the only way of escaping it that I can imagine is to go right ahead with the drafting of what will be practically a world treaty of peace now, a treaty that can be brought into immediate operation with the signing of the Armistice. The thing is quite possi~le, and particularly so as long as the United States remams out of the actual war and in contact with all the belligerents. The only objection to it on the part of m~st publicists will be that it is unprecedented and so quite improper.
I WILL confess that I believe that the way to achieve our revolution to one single world order, various but united and continually progressive, which is now plainly the only alternative to chaotic degeneration for our species, lies in the concurrent development of world-wide ad hoc federalism, and the extension of war-welded federalism to the whole planet. The former will take on more and more functions and the latter will extend its range. I see no hope and I can see a lot of possible waste and mischief in these various schemes for the United States of Europe, or of Central Europe, or this, that or tbe other union of existing powers, which are distracting people's minds from a realistic study of the present international situation.
I will try to give you my objections as pithily as possible. I have criticised Mr. Streit's Union Now at length elsewhere.* Loose as the great federal system of the United States is, it had to be consolidated only by one of the bloodiest of civil wars, arising out of the clash that arose between state and federal rights, when the slave plantation regime in the South was brought, by the development of railways and the westward movement of population, into conflict with the wages labour economy of the North. I have shown the impracticability of his own suggestion of a common money among countries in different phases of economic development.
* In The Fate of Homo sapiens and The New World Order.
Recently I have read Europe Must Unite, the work of a pro-Japanese propagandist, Count Coudenhove-Kalergi. You should all read it, and, what is more think it over. The Count very kindly gives us a name: "Pan-Europa,", a crest and a banner for Pan-Europa, designs a little button for the faithful, even settles upon a "Pan-Europe Day," but he is a trifle indefinite about all he will include in his scheme. He is vague about the position of the British Empire. Mrica, he says, "is the garden of Europe," a legitimate part of Pan- Europa. But some of Mrica is British Empire. Turkey and Egypt are to be admitted to this European-African PanEuropa. The disposal of the rest of the British Empire might embarrass anyone but our author-it is embarrassing in most of these schemes-but he sets about the job with a polite ambiguity that does not even stir the touchy imperialism of, for example, Messrs. Amery and Duff Cooper, whom he counts among his most ardent supporters. The Empire, he argues, cannot be a part of Pan-Europa, India and the Dominions must go their own way, but the increasing liaison of France and Great Britain is to bring the latter into the happy Pan-European family, leaving her dominions to scatter according to the Statute of Westminster. Canada, he seems disposed to hand to "Pan-America," and then all we good little Europeans are to get together and. face the "intolerable competition of America." So, kindly but firmly, he breaks up and distributes the English speaking world.
You feel Eastern Asia consolidating in the background, under the enlightened tutelage of Japan, but to that he does not direct our attention too markedly. The fate of one country is left particularly vague--Australia. It is, the Count tells us, a continent by itself, and I had a curious feeling when I had finished with him, almost as though I had had a very interesting visitor and one of my silver spoons was missing. I am not nearly so ready as Messrs. Amery and Duff Cooper and Wickham Steed seem to be to give up my fellowship in the Englishspeaking world and regard America as the great competitor, the essential antagonist and rival, in order to be a Pan -European. I do not think any of these Federal Union schemes will ever be more than a pleasant tea-party sedative, and so I will merely point out that, if by some infection of insanity anyone of them should be realised, it would merely prepare the world for a new, more monstrous cycle of warfare; Europe against America, Yellow against White, directly the unequal pressure of population and economic necessity began to operate.
But this sort of thing is mere playing about with the map. The harm it does is the diversion of attention from more urgent, more difficult but ultimately more practicable things. Any intelligent schoolboy could spend an agreeable afternoon arranging and rearranging the world in this fashion. You can do it in a dozen different ways. Dr. Ivor Jennings has produced his plan, A Federation for War-time Europe, definite, lucid, incredible; the reverie of an able lawyer. I have two other Federal Constitutions on my table waiting to be read, and I wonder if I shall ever read them. I have watched Mr. Wickham Steed playing at this game all through my life. Yet I am compelled to suggest to you, in the interests of reality, this is a game for boys who have never grown older, rather than for men who have really grown up. It is based on no vital reality. It takes us nowhere at all.
Mr. Streit and the Count make much of the "menace" of Bolshevism. As I pointed out in my previous article Bolshevism as the organised, progressive development of a new type of society is not to be found now on earth. Bolshevism has done what it was capable of doing, and has come to a phase of lassitude or reconstruction; I cannot tell which. It has done great things; it has destroyed financial speculation in the ordinary needs of life; it has abolished the rentier parasite; has liquidated illiteracy, effaced the spirit of serfdom, and now seems to have lost its moral impetus. For a phase it has ceased to operate even as a hope. Yet being dead it can still terrify. It can still make comfortable, well-off people, who had believed they had really managed to secure a pleasant superiority and command over the labour and respect of the commoner sort, wake up in the night and scream. And what is more, it can still attract subscriptions and adherents to these puerile and vacuous antiBolshevik schemes. But I can assure these poor dear rentiers that the Golden Age of Investment is over, anyhow; Bolshevism did not end it; Bolshevism was only one product of its breakdown.
Apart from such definite books as those I have named, this Federal Union drive seems to be just a vague project for doing nothing, in that it is following in the footsteps of the League of Nations Union, and with the same assuaging effect.
All over the world now people are distressed about the future the near future, of our social life-as well they may be. There is a smell of blood in the air and menacing sounds and strange rurnours of an Immense social disintegration. They are far more evident and distressing than they were in 1918. Many people find the problem of the world outlook and their own outlook more and more uncertain and dismaying. They collapse morally at the prospect of hard and unfamiliar thinking. What is now called "Escapism" prevails. The Chinese take to their opium, which, thanks to the friendly Japanese, they find more and more accessible. Here, in London, alcohol, benzedrine, light entertainment, "not thinking about it" and getting back to the idea that everything is all right really, are most in evidence.
In Great Britain this Federal Union stuff is the very cheapest dope available for that purpose. For the small sum of five shillings you can go to meetings and get publications that will assure you that all is well, join societies that seem to be organised solely to keep it up that all is well. Don't worry those poor brains of yours. That is the quintessence of it. It is all a matter of spiritual values; the less materialist you are, that is to say, the less you think hard, the better. The sight of so many nice people applauding the stirring and reassuring speakers the movement provides is very effective as a counterblast to the sterner prophets of duty and danger. Our diplomatists and governments, we are told, will act under our instruction and arrange for their own abolition. It's all right. Vote for Federal Union and pay your five shillings. Just say the words over-the magic words, "Federal Union" instead of the old soporific of counting sheep; Then you can go to sleep again-until something hits you.
Well, if I am unjust to these Federal Union schemes, tell me where I go wrong. Don't merely say I misjudge them. Tell me what else they do.
LET us leave these fantasies and come back to practical politics. I have discussed the practicability of extending war-welded federalism until it becomes world-wide, and so brings all the various ad hoc organisations it will necessarily develop, for disarmament, for the replacement of deported populations, for general economic restoration, and so forth, into parallelism with the minor permanent world federalisms. This time I don't think anyone will "call" a Peace Conference. We shall find one will grow informally out of the war conditions and out of the necessary explicit terms for an Armistice with an entirely untrustworthy enemy. One necessity in the process is a clear statement, in the broadest and most acceptable terms, not of any remote Utopia ahead, nor of any acceptance of things as they are, but of the world as reasonable people want to have it now.
We have such a statement.
Following a time-honoured precedent of all the free parliamentary nations of the world, a great number of people have come to realise the need of a clear formulation of creative liberal thought, revised and brought up to date. After a discussion, very ably organised by Mr. Ritchie Calder, in which thousands of people of every creed and type have participated, a Declaration of the Rights of Man has been drawn up by a distinguished committee. I have told the story of the growth of that declaration in a companion PENGUIN to this-The Rights of Man. The Declaration, as it has emerged from the hands of Lord Sankey's Drafting Committee, albeit it remains a profoundly revolutionary statement, is nevertheless far more satisfactory than the earlier suggestions made in that pamphlet. It does state, I believe, the Greatest Common Measure of human goodwill at the present time. It has been made acceptable to the professors of almost any form of religious belief-or none. It is, indeed, frankly socialistic and frankly cosmopolitan, and yet I fail to see how anyone who desires world peace and happiness, whatever his or her religion or race may be, can fail to subscribe to it.
Here it is, Introduction and all. I have, greatly daring, restored a clause (in italics in Article 1) which was amputated by an accident in committee. It awaits the endorsement of at least the Labour and Liberal Parties in Great Britain and of liberal opinion throughout the world. So far it remains provisional, and I believe that these bodies may still find a need to amend the phrasing of Article 6. Ultimately I hope it may be made acceptable to all the Allied and benevolently neutral governments, and embodied in their declared war aims. A certain resistance may have to be overcome to bring that about, and that is where there seems to be scope for immediate activity on the part of every sincere Revolutionary.
Within the space of little more than a hundred years there has been a complete revolution in the material conditions of human life. Invention and discovery have so changed the pace and nature of communications round and about the earth that the distances which formerly kept the states and nations of mankind apart have now been practically abolished. At the same time there has been so gigantic an increase of mechanical power, and such a release of human energy, that men's ability either to co-operate with, or to injure and oppress one another, and to consume, develop or waste the bounty of Nature, has been exaggerated beyond all comparison with former times.
This process of change has mounted swiftly and steadily in the past third of a century, and is now approaching a climax.
It becomes imperative to adjust man's life and institutions to the increasing dangers and opportunities of these new circumstances. He is being forced to organise cooperation among the medley of separate sovereign States which has hitherto served his political ends.
At the same time he finds it necessary to rescue his economic life from devastation by the immensely enhanced growth of profit-seeking business and finance.
Political, economic and social collectivisation is being forced upon him.
He responds to these new conditions blindly and with a great wastage of happiness and well-being.
Governments are either becoming State collectivisms or passing under the sway of monopolist productive and financial organisations.
Religious organisations, education and the Press are subordinated to the will of dictatorial groups and lDdlviduals while scientific and literary work and a multitude of social activities, which have hitherto been independent and spontaneous, fall under the influence of these modern concentrations of power.
Neither Governments nor great economic and financial combinations were devised to exercise such powers; they grew up in response to the requirements of an earlier age.
Under the stress of the new conditions, insecurity, abuses and tyrannies increase; and liberty, particularly liberty of thought and speech, decays.
Phase by phase these ill-adapted Governments and controls are restricting that free play of the individual mind which is the preservative of human efficiency and happiness.
The temporary advantage of swift and secret action which these monopolisations of power display is gained at the price of profound and progressive social demoralisation.
Bereft of liberty and sense of responsibility, the peoples are manifestly doomed to lapse, after a phase of servile discipline, into disorder and violence. Confidence and deliberation give place to hysteria, apathy and inefficiency.
Everywhere war and monstrous economic exploitation are intensified, so that those very same increments of power and opportunity which have brought mankind within sight of an age of limitless plenty seem likely to be lost again, and, it may be, lost for ever, in a chaotic and irremediable social collapse.
It becomes clear that a unified political, economic and social order can alone put an end to these national and private appropriations that now waste the mighty possibilities of our time.
The history of the Western peoples has a lesson for all mankind.
It has been the practice of what are called the democratic or Parliamentary countries to meet every enhancement and centralisation of power in the past by a definite and vigorous reassertion of the individual rights of man.
Never before has the demand to revive that precedent been so urgent as it is now.
We of the Parliamentary democracies recognise the inevitability of world reconstruction upon collectivist lines, but, after our tradition, we couple with that recognition a Declaration of Rights, so that the profound changes now in progress shall produce not an attempted reconstruction of human affairs in the dark, but a rational reconstruction conceived, and arrived at, in the full light of day.
To that time-honoured instrument of a Declaration of Rights we therefore return, but now upon a world scale.
1.-RIGHT TO LIVE
By the word "man" in this Declaration is meant every living human being without distinction of age or sex.
Every man is a joint inheritor of all the natural resources and of the powers, inventions and possibilities accumulated by our forerunners.
He is entitled, within the measure of these resources and without distinction of race, colour or professed beliefs or opinions, to the nourishment, covering and medical care needed to realise his full possibilities of physical and mental development from birth to death.
Notwithstanding the various and unequal qualities of individuals, all men shall be deemed absolutely equal in the eyes of the law, equally important in social life and equally entitled to the respect of their fellow-men.
2.-PROTECTION OF MINORS
The natural and rightful guardians of those who are not of an age to protect themselves are their parents.
In default of such parental protection in whole or in part, the community, having due regard to the family traditions of the child, shall accept or provide alternative guardians.
3.-DUTY TO THE COMMUNITY
It is the duty of every man not only to respect but to uphold and to advance the rights of all other men throughout the world.
Furthermore, it is his duty to contribute such service to the community as will ensure the performance of those necessary tasks for which the incentives which will operate in a free society do not provide.
It is only by doing his quota of service that a man can justify his partnership in the community.
No man shall be conscripted for military or other service to which he has a conscientious objection, but to perform no social duty whatsoever is to remain unenfranchised and under guardianship.
4.-RIGHT TO KNOWLEDGE
It is the duty of the community to equip every man with sufficient education to enable him to be as useful and interested a citizen as his capacity allows. Furthermore, it is the duty of the community to render all knowledge available to him and such special education as will give him equality of opportunity for the development of his distinctive gifts in the service of mankind. He shall have easy and prompt access to all information necessary for him to form a judgment upon current events and issues.
5.-FREBDOM OF THOUGHT AND WORSHIP
Every man has a right to the utmost freedom of expression, discussion, association and worship.
6.-RIGHT TO WORK
Subject to the needs of the community, a man may engage in any lawful occupation, earning such pay as the contribution that his work makes to the welfare of the community may justify.*
He is entitled to paid employment and to make suggestions as to the kind of employment which he considers himself able to perform. Work for the sole object of profit-making shall not be a lawful occupation.
* It has been objected with manifest justice that this
Article 6 implies that the only employers shall be the State, and that it
hands over a man's energies to the direction and sanctions of some sort of
public authority, some labour commissar or what not. Here the intricate
difficulties of committee work defeated the plain intentions of the drafters.
Manifestly something was cut out from this Article, and a gap was left and
never filled up again. Plainly our Drafting Committee failed to assert one of
the most vital of human rights, the right of every man to make and do things
for himself or for anyone else and for any consideration or none, provided
the general welfare is not infringed and there is no speculative
appropriation of his work. It was that speculative appropriation the
committee was worrying about. This gap, unless it is amended, would for
example kill all unlicensed art whatever, all free literature, all
unsanctioned research, all experiment that officialdom failed to approve. But
I believe, subject to the criticism of those more experienced upon these
issues, that a few liberating words will restore the lost intention of the
clause. Suppose that after the word "justify" we add:
"Or that the desire of any private individual or individuals for his products, his performances or the continuation of his activities may produce for him." And I would further insert "freely" after "engage m the opening sentence of the Article.
Until it has been accepted by Parties and Governments, the Declaration remains a provisional and unofficIal document capable of amendment. I think this gap is. the only serious flaw that has been discovered in it, and I believe this gap was made possible by, among other things, the feeling that Article 11 would be sufficient to protect the individual from dogmatic control.
7.-RIGHT IN PERSONAL PROPERTY
In the enjoyment of his personal property, lawfully possessed, a man is entitled to protection from public or private violence, deprivation, compulsion and intimidation.
8.-FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
A man may move freely about the world at his own expense.
His private dwelling, however, and any reasonably limited enclosure of which he is the occupant, may be entered only with his consent or by a legally qualified person empowered with a warrant as the law may direct.
So long as by his movement he does not intrude upon the private domain of any other citizen, harm, or disfigure or encumber what is not his, interfere with, or endanger its proper use, or seriously impair the happiness of others, he shall have the right to come and go wherever he chooses, by land, air, or water, over any kind of country, mountain, moorland, river, lake, sea or ocean, and all the ample spaces of this, his world.
Unless a man is declared by a competent authority to be a danger to himself or to others through mental abnormality, a declaration which must be confirmed within seven days and thereafter reviewed at least annually, he shall not be restrained for more than twentyfour hours without being charged with a definite offence, nor shall he be remanded for a longer period than eight days without his consent, nor imprisoned for more than three months without a trial.
At a reasonable time before his trial, he shall be furnished with a copy of the evidence which it is proposed to use against him.
At the end of the three months period, if he has not been tried and sentenced by due process of the law, he shall be acquitted and released.
No man shall be charged more than once for the same offence.
Although he is open to the free criticism of his fellows, a man shall have adequate protection from any misrepresentation that may distress or injure him.
Secret evidence is not permissible. Statements recorded in administrative dossiers shall not be used to justify the slightest infringement of personal liberty.
A dossier is merely a memorandum for administrative use; it shall not be used as evidence without proper confirmation in open court.
10.-FREEDOM FROM VIOLENCE
No man shall be subjected to any sort of mutilation except with his own deliberate consent, freely given, nor to forcible handling, except in restraint of his own violence, nor to torture, beating or any other physical ill-treatment.
He shall not be subjected to mental distress, or to imprisonment in infected, verminous or otherwise insanitary quarters, or to be put into the company of verminous or infectious people.
But if he is himself infectious or a danger to the health of others, he may be cleansed, disinfected, put in quarantine or otherwise restrained so far as may be necessary to prevent harm to his fellows.
No one shall be punished vicariously by the selection, arrest or ill-treatment of hostages.
11.-RIGHT OF LAW-MAKING
The rights embodied in this Declaration are fundamental and inalienable.
In conventional and in administrative matters, but in no others, it is an obvious practical necessity for men to limit the free play of certain of these fundamental rights.
(In, for example, such conventional matters as the rule of the road or the protection of money from forgery, and in such administrative matters as town and country planning, or public hygiene.)
No law, conventional or administrative, shall be binding on any man or any section of the community unless it has been made openly with the active or tacit acquiescence of every adult citizen concerned, given either by direct majority vote of the community affected or by a majority vote of his representatives publicly elected.
These representatives shall be ultimately responsible for all by-laws and for detailed interpretations made in the execution of the law.
In matters of convention and collective action, man must abide by the majority decisions ascertained by electoral methods which give effective expression to individual choice. All legislation must be subject to public discussion, revision or repeal. No treaties or contracts shall be made secretly in the name of the community.
The fount of legislation in a free world is the whole people, and since life flows on constantly to new citizens, no generation can, in whole or in part, surrender or delegate this legislative power, inalienably inherent in mankind.
IN this Declaration of Rights we have, I believe, the substantial material for a very important implement in the work of world reconstruction. So soon as the vehement stresses of the present war situation are sufficiently alleviated to permit a resumption of constructive political discussion, this instrument, with some such necessary amendment as I have suggested to Article 6, an amendment which would best come from the Labour organisations of the world, could be brought into effective political action. How that can be done is the next phase in our discussion. But first, it is advisable to get a rather clearer understanding of certain terms that are used habitually in such an exasperatingly loose and misleading way as to rob them of most of their effectiveness.
Just as we have cleared up the meaning of the word "' federalism" so now let us consider what we mean exactly by "political democracy." The essential difference between democratic and absolute rule is, I suggest, that in a democracy a revolutionary movement need not be the violent insurgent upheaval it necessarily becomes under an absolutism. This is because in every Parliamentary country there exists, as a necessary part of the political organisation of that country, an Opposition. It is remarkable how few foreigners who are unaccustomed to democratic institutions realise the real significance of an opposition. The existence of an opposition is the fundamental political distinction of democracies. (Forgive these italics. But this is a very vital point.)
In the absolutisms, there is the monarch, the gang, the dictatorship or the oligarchy, and that is the State, the whole State, the sole Government, and there is nothing to temper it. If you want to get rid of it, you must blow it out of existence with a revolutionary explosion. There is no revolution possible there but explosion, and so it is that all absolutisms end. So ended the absolute monarchy in France and Czarism in Russia. But a democracy, as we understand it to-daya modern democracy-is a more complicated and higher order of government than any absolutism. It has come into existence only in the last few hundred years, while a bullying authoritarianism is as old as mankind. It is a government with a potential revolution incorporated in its structure. The opposition is a body which exists to criticise, mitigate or replace the prevailing regime. That is the very essence of democracy. It is two-handed. It has taken Revolution into its bosom. It has a left hand and a right. In a genuine democracy, the opposition stands prepared to get rid of the existing regime and to change the domestic or foreign policy of the government without limit.
I put it to you tbat this double-handed tradition of democracy is a profoundly important fact in the present situation. It gives us the clue to a comparatively peaceful world revolution. It affords a method by which power can be readjusted witbout killing or cruelty, by stages if necessary, and with every sort of mitigation to the abdicating order.
So I put before you the elements, as I conceive them, of a world pacification and of a world reconstruction. I put it to you that we have before us here all that is necessary for a complete world revolution. Upon the lines I have drawn it would be a possible thing now to link all the liberal-spirited oppositions in the world by their acceptance of this common Declaration of Rights which is now awaiting completion and endorsement, and to mould their antagonisms to the various warring national governments they face, into one common pattern of world peace and revolutionary world reconstruction.
We have no need for a new world revolutionary party. We do not want to multiply parties, we want to consolidate them. We want to fuse them by a common idea, that will dissolve away all the petty intrigues and jealousies that now break them up and destroy the hopes of their supporters. We can say to them: "Accept the Declaration or get out of the way." We need indeed a world movement to use this Declaration, but the essential factors for revolution are already to hand. Everywhere in the democratic countries we have the institutional material needed for a rapid fusion of commonsense men and common people into one creative World Opposition.
Almost everywhere we shall find a new Declaration of Rights opposed, ignored and stifled by Governments, ruling classes and authoritative people whose advantages it threatens. Everywhere they will be trying to dodge its essential rightness. Everywhere they will be challenged, with the insistent demand that they justify their evasion. And put to the question they will find it very hard to justify that evasion.
"How," the doubter may ask, "will you induce these wicked national sovereign governments and imperialisms and this tangle of financial interests and credit systems, with which they are associated, to abandon any essential international powers they exercise? Internationalism in little conveniences, post, hygiene, vice control, they will no doubt concede readily enough. But how will they ever agree, for example, to a permanent international air control, to a standing international disarmament police, to the complete effacement of passport and customs control; all of which are obviously parts of a rational world order? " That is exactly where this fundamentally democratic idea, the idea of one world opposition, lined up by a Declaration of Human Rights and prepared to "take over" everywhere, in the same spirit, comes in.
Governments and Foreign Offices, though reluctant to abolish themselves, yet faced by an intelligent and critical revolutionary world opposition, which I think I have given every reason for believing could be brought into existence very rapidly at the present time, will prove capable, you will find, of a considerable amount of appeasement, and will yield this and yield that, step by step, provided they are not attacked directly by proposals of self-extinction. You must remember that even now they are being forced to a considerable degree of war-welded federation. Even the "neutrals" are being forced that way. It will not be we, the reasonable people, who will be putting something over on our governments at the end of the war; it will be they who will be domg their best to recover and dodge back to the old order of things. A unified world Opposition will press upon them with the force of plain necessity. Step by step, they will yield, still clinging to the forms of power and retreating as they go. Step by step they will cease to be "the powers that be," and become dignitaries and honourable traditions. They need never be overthrown in any melodramatic fashion; they may fade out. Except for outbursts of revolutionary temper, the end of the national sovereign state may be almost painless.
It is not necessary to destroy existing governments as such. The idea of a federal world does not involve the creation of a common world government resembling the sovereign governments of the present time, pushing them aside and taking their place like a conqueror. It does not threaten in the least the racial and cultural distinctions of mankind. Our imaginations are too obsessed by the United States of America, and we have horrid dreams of a World President and a Senate and a Lower House of Mankind. But it is quite possible to anticipate a world transport control, air, shipping and rail included, a world production control, a world system of barter-for organised barter is marching upon us now in seven-league boots-a world control of hygiene, education and information, without anything you can call a central government at all.
For some people that will prove a hard saying. Some where, they feel, there must be a powerful person or body of persons which will decide, "Do this" or "Do that." Yet there is something a little infantile about that. Is it as necessary as may seem at the first glance-so far as the world-wide services, all these functional organisations, are concerned? Authority may be necessary in what one might call matters of opinion. But is a world transport system, a proper distribution of staple products, the health of the race, the common peace, the issue of money, the survey and mapping of the world, or scientific and general education, really a matter of opinion? Is there not, if only we knew it, a right thingto do in these matters? I suggest that with every increment of knowledge in the world, it is less and less necessary for an overriding government to do the ruling. The knowledge organisation, in the light of a free public discussion, will give the rule. Faced with famine or pestilence, for example, an ignorant population may need " firm government" and even a "strong man" to save it from panic and disaster. An educated community in the same case asks intelligent questions and, after due scrutiny, does the right thing to do.
Manifestly this involves an ad hoc federation of the intellectual organisations of the world. That is too complex an issue to expound here. I have written about it in World Brain, and I will not regurgitate that book here. At the roots of most of the troubles of mankind to-day lies a terrible under-nourishment of minds. But upon that I will refrain from expansion here. So I submit my ideas for your consideration. I shall be bitterly disappointed if my points are not fully I examined and either confuted or accepted. And if you accept them, the business cannot rest there; you have to get to work. I am quite sure a lot of people will get to work, anyhow . You can start pressure upon your political representatives, upon your party organisations and so on, to subscribe definitely to a new Declaration of Rights. You have it now. Practically that job, subject to the completion of Article 6, is done. You can write to your local papers to increase the pressure upon politicians to accept it or give a reason why. You can make any Liberal or Labour candidate extremely uncomfortable if asked to explain why he will not accept it and get on with it. How a Communist can dodge it will be very interesting. Quite a small group of people in any constituency who insist on a full, unambiguous acceptance of the Declaration of Rights and make a strenuous fuss if they do not get it from their candidate, can incline a candidate to conform. And if there is no group handy, there is yourself, with a mouth and a pen and a vote. You can spread the idea of this varied yet federated world, which is so little understood, which is still thought of by so many people as if it were a sort of monstrous fusion of existing governments. The Declaration of Rights should be taught everywhere. You can get busy about the lessons taught in your schools, the books in your public libraries....
Let me say in conclusion, by way of summary, that the backbone of my hope for a new world is this possibility of a world-wide coalescence of all the scattered forces of creation and protest in the human heart, into one consciously revolutionary movement based on the declared rights of man. It is an entirely practicable proposal. All over the democracies of the world now we can call into being this uniform opposition, inspired by a common idea of world unity. In the non-democratic countries, of course, it will be a definitely insurrectionary movement. And the policy it must press upon governments everywhere is the preservation of the ad hoc war-welded federalisms that are being brought into existence now, function by function, and their extension to the whole world, as a permanent peace settlement.
"No restoration, no attempted restoration, of the old order," may well be our slogan. You see how these two essential democratic institutions, the tried and tested institutions, of a consolidated Opposition and of a Declaration of the Rights of Man, dovetail into the plan of creative political action I am putting before you, and you can see how hard it will be to stop this contagious, creative liberalism once it is started. This and this alone, so far as I can see, is the way of escape for our species from chaos. Call it world reconstruction, world pacification, world union or world revolution, as you will, but do not rashly upon some minor issue refuse participation in these living possibilities.
THE preceding sections of this pamphlet give the essence of what I have been able to make out of the needs and possibilities of the present time. But there are two appendices I want to make. The first of these bears upon one of the most difficult problems that arise when we try to figure to ourselves the way of living the new peace will mean for us. For plainly the old peace of the comfortable classes can never return again. The new peace has to be a peace for every man or none. I have been writing a novel which is these days of paper shortage mayor may not be published, Babes in the Darkling Wood, and in it a youngster who is on a minesweeper writes a letter home. I intend him to be as intelligent as I know how and I make him say exactly what I want said. So I will quote him here instead of writing it all over again.
"Our people detest militarism and at the same time take to fighting very readily. It is nonsense to pretend the mass of English people are unhappy now. The country is profoundly excited, and you can't be really unhappy when you are stirred up. This war is going to be a near thing for us all, and we like it. With a sort of grim excitement. The one dream of old Smithers, our skipper, for example, is to 'do a bit on his own.' He feels he has never really lived before. If we come on a German cruiser by any chance, I'm certain he'll go straight for it. He'll chase it, and he'll keep banging away at it until we are blown into the air. And we shall be cheering him on, and who knows whether we shan't get away with it?
"That's all very well for the moment. But it takes us nowhere. This can't go on for ever. We talk among ourselves here about how things are to end, but when it comes to that we are all at sixes and sevens. Theoretically all our chaps want a world at peace. But they discuss peace half-heartedly, as though it was some sort of pi-jaw, and then they go and fondle the new gun we have been given. It's a lovely bit of machinery. They've never had their hands on anything so competent. Or so simple. Our dream is to bring down a raider. 'Blast that peace of yours!' they say. 'Let's win the war first.'
"Never will our people look forward. Now the bulk of them, I realise, don't want to. It's too perplexing. The peace-or anyhow the time for peace-may catch us just as unprepared as the war did.... What we have to realise is that the sort of full, long-range life we want has to look good and be made believable, for everyone, if ever we are to get it....
"That's the practical hitch. If I have got any new idea, it's that. I mean, until you can give these chaps something as lovely and satisfying as they find this gun of ours-microscopes, observatories, stratosphere travel, apparatus for the photographic survey of the world, things that will make the rocks and waters of the earth, the sky above and the unknown beneath our feet, yield a sense of power, these rank and file men are going to enjoy war, far more than any peace they have ever yet been offered. What do we promise the common men here or in France or Germany or anywhere? Nothing but to go back to the street corner. We don't even promise them something to hammer. Are they likely to think seriously of peace when peace has no other face than the face of a tepid bore? With the nobility and gentry scrambling back to all the positions of advantage, romping about with opportunity while the heroes, etc., are back on the dole. Allowed to look on again. These boys just say 'Peace' because they've been taught to say it. They'll blast it all right when they get it.... Even if the world doesn't need rebuilding from top to bottom, we ought to set about rebuilding it, carving it up and throwing it about, just for the excitement. Just to keep their souls alive....
"Will these old men of the City and the stately homes of England and so forth ever release that stagnating, paralysing grip that holds back our people and all the people in our Empire from any fullness of life, until in sheer despair of their heavy monopolisation we are driven to wrench them off violently?..."
The whole of this present book is an attempt to discover a possible answer to that young man's question.
That is one appendix to this pamphlet. Now, by way of a further appendix and a warning, I am going to reprint a document that was drawn up twenty-two years ago, chiefly by Dr. J.W. Headlam Morley and myself, as a memorandum for the propaganda department of Crewe House. It dates in certain details, but on the whole, because of the lack of fulfillment, there is much of it that might have been written this month.
This is how we saw things in May, 1918.
"Propaganda in Germany, as in other enemy countries, must obviously be based upon a clear Allied policy. Hitherto Allied policy and Allied war aims have been defined too loosely to be comprehensible to the Germans. "The real aim of the Allies is not only to beat the enemy, but to establish a world peace that shall preclude the resumption of war. Successful propaganda in Germany presupposes the clear definition of the kind of world settlement which the Allies are determined to secure and the place of Germany in it.
"The points to be brought home to the Germans are:
"I The determination of the Allies to continue the war until Germany accepts the Allied peace settlement.
"2. The existing alliance as a Fighting League of Free Nations will be deepened and extended and the military, naval, financial and economic resou;ces of its members will be pooled until:
"(a) Its military purpose is achieved, and
"(b) Peace is established on lasting foundations.
"German minds are particularly susceptible to systematic statements. They are accustomed to discuss and understand co-ordinate projects. The ideas represented by the phrase 'Berlin-Baghdad' and 'Mittel-Europa' have been fully explained to them and now form the bases of German political thought. Other projects, represented by 'Berlin-Teheran' and 'Berlin-Tokyo' are becoming familiar to them. Against these ideas the Allies have not yet set up any comprehensive and comprehensible scheme of world-organisation. There is no Allied counterpart of Naumann's' Mittel-Europa' which the neutral and German Press could discuss as a practical proposition. This counterpart should be created without delay by competent Allied writers. It would form an effective basis for propaganda, and would work automatically.
"It follows that one of the first requisites is to study and to lay down the lines of a practical League of Free Nations. The present alliance must be taken as the nucleus of any such League. Its control of raw materials, of shipping, and its power to exclude for an indefinite period enemy or even neutral peoples until they subscribe to and give pledges of their acceptance of its principles should be emphasised. It should be pointed out that nothing stands between enemy peoples and a lasting peace except the predatory designs of their ruling dynasties and military and economic castes; that the design of the Allies is not to crush any people, . but. to assure the freedom of all on a basis of self-determination to be exercised under definite guarantees of justice and fair play; that, unless enemy peoples accept the Allied conception of a world peace settlement, it will be impossible for them to repair the havoc oftbe present war, to avert utter financial ruin, and to save themselves from prolonged misery; and that the longer the struggle lasts the deeper will become the hatred of everything German in the non-German world, and the heavier the social and economic handicap under which the enemy peoples will labour, even after their admission into a League of Nations.
"The primary war aim of the Allies thus becomes the changing of Germany, not only in the interest of the Allied League, but in that of the German people itself. Without the honest co-operation of Germany, disarmament on a large scale would be impossible, and, without disarmament, social and economic reconstruction would be impracticable. Germany has, therefore, to choose between her own permanent ruin by adhering to her present system of government and policy and the prospect of economic and political redemption by overthrowing her militarist system so as to be able to join honestly in the Allied scheme of world organisation.
"It has become manifest that for the purposes of an efficient pro-Ally propaganda in neutral and enemy countries a clear and full statement of the war aims of the Allies is vitally necessary. What is wanted is something in the nature of an authoritative text to which propagandists may refer with confidence and which can be made the standard of their activities. It is not sufficient to recount the sins of Germany and to assert that the defeat of Germany is the Allied war aim. What all the world desires to know is what is to happen after the war. The real war aun of a belligerent, it is more and more. understood, is not merely victory, but a peace of a certam character which that belligerent desires shall arise out of that victory. What, therefore, is the peace sought by the Allies?
"It would be superfluous even to summarise here the primary case of the Allies, that the war is on their part a war to resist the military aggression of Germany assisted by the landowning Magyars of Hungary, the Turks and the King of Bulgaria, upon the rest of mankind. It is a war against belligerence, against aggressive war and the preparation for aggressive war. Such it was in its beginning, and such it remains. But it would be idle to pretend that the ideas of the Government and peoples allied against Germany have not developed very greatly during the years of the war. There has been a deepening realisation of the danger to mankind of existing political divisions and separations, a great experience in the suffering, destruction and waste of war; a quickening of consciences against conquests, annexations and subjugations; and a general clearing up of ideas that have hitherto stood in the way of an organised world peace. While German Imperialism, to judge by the utterances of its accredited heads, and by the behaviour of Germany in the temporarily disorganised States on her Eastern front, is still as truculent, aggressive and treacherous as ever, the mind of her antagonists has learnt and has matured. There has arisen in the great world outside the inner lives of the Central Powers a will that grows to gigantic proportions, that altogether overshadows the boasted will to power of the German junker and exploiter, the will to a world peace. It is like the will of an experienced man set against the will of an obstinate and selfish youth. The war aims of the anti-German Allies take more and more definitely the form of a world of States leagued together to maintain a common law, to submit their mutual differences to a conclusive tribunal, to protect weak communities, to restrain and suppress war threats and war preparations throughout the earth.
"Steadfastly the great peoples of the world outside the shadow of German Imperial domination have been working their way to unanimity, while the ruling intelligences of Germany have been scheming for the base advantages of conquest; while they have been undermining, confusing and demoralising the mentality of Russia, crushing down the subject peoples of the AustroHungarian Imperialism, and threatening and cajoling neutrals there has been a wide, free movement in the minds of their antagonists towards the restraint and wisdom of a greater and nobler phase in human affairs. The thought of the world crystallises now about a phrase, the phrase 'The League of Free Nations.' The war aims of the Allies become more and more explicitly associated with the spirit and implications of that.
"Like all such phrases, 'The League of Free Nations' is subject to a great variety of detailed interpretation, but its broad intentions can now be stated without much risk of dissent. The ideal would, of course, include all the nations of the earth, including a Germany purged of her military aggressiveness; it involves some sort of INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS that can revise, codify, amend and extend intemationallaw, a supreme Court of Law in which States may sue and be sued, and whose decision the League will be pledged to enforce, and the supervision, limitation and use of armaments under the direction of the international congress. It is also felt very widely that such a congress must seta restraint upon competitive and unsanctioned 'expansionist' movements into unsettled and disordered regions, must act as the guardian of feeble races and communities, and must be empowered to make conclusive decisions upon questions of transport, tariffs, access to raw material, migration and international intercourse generally.
"The constitution of this congress remains indefinite; it is the crucial matter upon which the best thought of the world is working at the present time. But given the prospect of a suitable copgress there can be little dispute that the great Imperial Powers among the Allies are now prepared for great and generous limitations of their sovereignty in the matter of armaments, of tropical possessions, and of subject peoples in the common interest of mankind. The spectacle of German Imperialism, boastful, selfish, narrow and altogether hateful, in its terrible blood-dance through Europe, has been an object-lesson to humanity against excesses of national vanity and national egotism and against Imperial pride. Among the Allies, the two chief Imperial Powers, measured by the extent of territory they control, are Britain and France, and each of these is more completely prepared to-day than ever it has been before to consider its imperial possessions as a trust for their inhabitants and for mankind, and its position in the more fertile and less settled regions of the world as that of a mandatory and trustee. These admissions involve a plain prospect and promise of the ultimate release and liberation of all the peoples in these great and variegated Empires to complete world-citizenship.
"But in using the phrase 'The League of Nations' it may be well to dispel certain misconceptions that have arisen through the experimental preparation by more or less irresponsible persons and societies of elaborate schemes and constitutions of such a league. Proposals have been printed and published, for example, of a Court of World Conciliation, in which each sovereign State will be represented by one member-Montenegro, for example, by one, and the British Empire by one-and other proposals have been mooted of a Congress of the League of Nations, in which such States as Hayti, Abyssinia and the like will be represented by one or two representatives, and France and Great Britain by five or six. All such projects should be put out of mind when the phrases 'League of Free Nations' is used by responsible speakers for the Allied Powers. Certain most obvious considerations have evidently been overlooked by the framers of such proposals. It will, for example, be a manifest disadvantage to the smaller Powers to be at all over-represented upon the Congress of any such League; it may even be desirable that certain of them should not have a voting representative at all, for this reason, that a great Power still cherishing an aggressive spirit would certainly attempt, as the beginning of its aggression, to compel adjacent small Powers to send representatives practically chosen by itself. The coarse fact of the case in regard to an imnediate world peace is this, that only five or six great Powers possess sufficient economic resources to make war under modem conditions at the present time, namely, the United States of America, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan and, doubtfully, AustriaHungary. Italy suffers under the disadvantage that she has no coal supply. These five or six Powers we may say, therefore, permit war and can prevent it. They are at present necessarily the custodians of the peace of the world, and it is pedantry not to admit that this gives them a practical claim to preponderance in the opening Congress of the World League. It may be pointed out that a small State with a voice in the discussions, but no vote in the decisions of the League, would logically be excused from the liability to assist in enforcing those decisions.
"But this question of the constitution of a world Congress is not to be solved by making a coarse classification of States into large and war-capable Powers and small and weak Powers. Take the case of Italy, for example: though she is almost incapable of sustaining a war against the world by herself because of her weakness in th.e matter of coal, she can as an ally be at once of enormous importance. Take the case of Spain again, a very similar case. And whatever the war ability of Latin-America may be to-day, there can be no question that this great constellation of States must count very heavily in the framing of the world of to-morrow. Then, again, we have to consider the vast future possibilities of the Chinese Republic, with coal, steel and a magnificent industrial population, and the probable reconstruction of Eastern Europe and a renascence of Russia which may give the world a loose-knit but collectivelyimportant Slavonic confederation. While an isolated small Power within the orbit of attraction of a large Power, a State of 5,000,000 people or less, must always remain a difficult problem in the world representation, it is clear that something like an adequate representation of small and weak Powers becomes possible so soon as they develop a disposition towards aggregation, for the purposes of world politics, into associations with States racially, linguistically, and historically akin to them. The trend of Allied opinion is to place not Peru or Ukrainia, nor Norway, nor Finland on a level with the United States of America or the British Empire at the League of Nations Congress, but to prepare the way for adequate representation through a preliminary Latin-American ora Slavonic or a Scandinavian Confederation, which could speak with a common idea at the World Congress.
"It should be manifest that there is one Power whose splendid achievement in this war, and whose particular needs justify her over-representation (as measured by material wealth and millions of population) upon the Congress of the League, and that is France. It is open to question whether Italy should not also be disproportionately over-represented, seeing that she will not have, as Spain will have, the moral reinforcement of kindred nations overseas. And with regard to the British Empire, seeing that there exists no real Imperial legislature, it is open to consideration whether Canada, South Africa and Australasia should come into the Council as separate nationalities. The Asiatic and African possessions of Britain and France, Belgium and Italy, possessions, that is, which have no self-government, might possibly for a time be represented by members appointed by the governing power in each case. These are merely suggestions here, indications of a disposition of mind, but they are suggestions upon which it is necessary for the Allied Powers to decide as speedily as possible. The effective working out of this problem of the League of Nations Congress by the Allies without undue delay is as vital a part of the Allied policy as the effective conduct of the war.
"It has to be recognised that the institution of a League of Nations precludes any annexations or any military interference with any peoples whatever, without a mandate from the Congress of the League. The League must directly or indirectly become the guardian of all unsettled regions and order must be kept ana development promoted by it in such derelict regions as Mesopotamia and Armenia, for example, have now become. In these latter instances it is open to consideration whether the League should operate through some single power acting as a mandatory of the League, or else by international forces under the control of the League as a whole. Theoretically the latter course is to be preferred, but there are enormous practical advantages in many cases to be urged for the former. The Allies have indeed had a considerable experience during the war of joint controls and joint expeditions; there has been a great education in internationalism since August, 1914; but nevertheless the end of the war is likely to come long before any real international forces have been evolved. It is, however, towards the ultimate use of international forces in such cases that the joint policy of the Allies is plainly and openly directed.
"The bringing of the League into practical politics profoundly affects the question of territorial adjustment after the war. The Allies are bound in honour to follow the will of France in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, and the rectification of the Italian frontier and the bringing of the bulk of the Italian-speaking population, now under Austrian dominion, into one ring-fence with Italy, also seem a necessary part of a world pacification. It is, however, of far less importance in the war aims of the Allies that this and that particular scrap of territory should change hands from the control of one group of combatants to that of the other, than that the present practical ascendency of German Imperialism over the resources of the Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Jugo-Slav, Finnish, and Roumanian peoples should cease. The war aim of the Allies in Eastern Europe is to create in the place of the present Austro-Hungaran Empire a larger synthesis of associated States, something in the nature of an 'East Central European League,' within the League of Nations, a confederation that might possibly reach from Poland to the Black and Adriatic Seas, and have also access to, if not a port upon, the Baltic at Danzig. The Allies are necessarily obliged to wait upon the development of affairs in Russia, but the hopes and efforts of the Allies are towards a reconciliation of at least Great Russia, Siberia and Ukrainia into a workable association within the League. It is premature to speculate upon the grouping of Finland at the present time. Relieved of the feverish and impossible ambitions the political weaknesses of these peoples have stimulated, a free and united Germany could then become one of the predominant partners in the World League of Free Nations. The Allies do not propose an unconditional return of the former Mrican possessions of Germany, but they contemplate an over-ruling international regime in Mrica between the Sahara and the Zambesi, restraining armament, reorganising native education, and giving absolute equality to trade to all the nations in the League. Such an international regime under the League may not be incompatible with the retention of national flags in the former 'possessions' of the leagued Powers.
"Exact territorial definition does not appear to the Allies to be of nearly such importance as the establishment of a common system of disarmament and a common effort to restore the ravages of the war. The full effect of the war is still not realised by the mass of the belligerent peoples, more especially in America and Western Europe, where life is still fairly comfortable. There has already been a destruction not merely of the political but of the social order over great areas of the world, especially in Eastern Europe, and it is doubtful whether any peace can restore these disorganised areas to anything like their former productivity for many years. A universal shortage not merely of man-power, but of transport and machinery available for the purposes of peace cannot be avoided. It is doubtful, moreover, if social discipline in the ports of the British Empire and America will be strong enough to restrain an organised resistance to the use of German shipping after the war for any purpose and to the use of Allied shipping for the transport of goods to and from Germany on the part of Allied and neutral seamen and transport workers indignant at the U-boat campaign; moreover, there is a world-wide cry for a vindictive trade boycott after the war against Germany, and for organised boycotts that may further restrict the process of economic world recovery. It is doubtful if the menace of these 'revenge' movements and the difficulty of controlling them in democratic States is properly appreciated in Germany. The militarist Government of Germany, fighting now for bare existence, is concealing from its people this world-wide disposition to boycott German trade and industry at any cost to the boycotting populations, and buoying them up with preposterous hopes of 'business as usual' as soon as peace is made. The fact has to be faced that while the present German Government remains no such economic resumption is possible. The 'War-after-the-War' possibility has to be added to the economic destruction in Russia, Belgium and elsewhere in any estimate of the situtation after the war.
"The plain prospect of material disorganisation thus opened should alone suffice to establish the absolute necessity for peace now of such a nature as will permit a world-wide concentration upon reconstruction, in good faith and without any complications of enmity and hostility. But in addition to the material destruction and dislocation and to the 'hatred' disorganisation already noted, the financial transactions of the last few years have created a monetary inflation which, without the concerted action of all the Powers, may mean a collapse of world credit. Add now the plain necessity for continued armament if a real League of Nations is not attained. Without any exaggeration the prospect of the nations facing these economic difficulties in an atmosphere of continuing hostility, intrigue and conflict. under a continuing weight of armaments, and with a continuing distrust, is a hopeless one. The consequences stare us in the face; Russia is only the first instance of what must happen generally. The alternative to a real League of Nations is the steady descent of our civilisation towards a condition of political and social fragmentation such as the world has not seen since the fall of the Roman Empire. The honest co-operation of Germany in the League of Nations, in disarmament and in world reconstruction is, therefore, fundamentally necessary. There is now no other rational policy.
"And since it is impossible to hope for any such help or co-ordination from the Germany of the Belgian outrage, the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, the betrayal of Ukrainia, THE CHANGING OF GERMANY becomes a primary war aim, the primary war aim for the Allies. How Germany is to be changed is a complex question. The word Revolution is, perhaps, to be deprecated. We do not, for instance, desire a Bolshevik breakdown in Germany, which would make her economically useless to mankind. We look therefore, not so much to the German peasant and labourer as to the ordinary, fairly well-educated mediocre German for co-operation in the reinstatement of civilisation. Change there must be in Germany; in the spirit in which the Government is conducted, in the persons who exercise the control, and in the relative influence of different classes in the country. The sharpest distinction, therefore, has to be drawn between Germany and its present Government in all our propaganda and public utterances; and a constant appeal has to be made by the statesmen of the Alliance, and by a frank and open propaganda through the Germans of the United States of America and of Switzerland, through neutral countries and by every possible means, from Germany Junker to Germany sober. We may be inclined to believe that every German is something of a Junker, we have to remember he is also potentially a reasonable man.
"And, meanwhile, the Allies must continue with haste and diligence to fight and defeat Junker Germany, which cannot possibly conquer but which may nevertheless succeed in ruining the world. They must fight the German armies upon the fronts, they must fight an unregenerate Germany economically and politically, and they must bring home to the German reason and conscience at home by an intensive air war and by propaganda alike, the real impossibility of these conceptions of national pride and aggressiveness in which the German population has been bred."
* * * * *
That is how Crewe House was trying to put a shape upon things in 1918. Ancient history, you will say. Unhappily none of this story has become ancient history. Lord Northcliffe was a man of great mental instability; at his best his apprehensions were rapid and lucid. Later on he went back upon us. His brother, Lord Rothermere, in flat contradiction to our policy, was filling the Harmsworth newspapers with the wildest threatenings against Germany, and when I insisted that this must cease, Northc1itfe was either unwilling or powerless to stop it. Nor were we able to get the Foreign Office to fall in with this shape we sought to put upon things. Sir Campbell Stuart says it approved our memorandum, but that was not the case. We were kept in ignorance of the secret understandings and diplomatic commitments that were undermining the possibility of a secure peace. That secrecy is as true to-day of our Foreign Office as it was then. Now as then we do not know and nobody knows what it imagines it is up to. In the concluding year of that earlier war, there was a War Aims Controversy. There needs to be another and a more emphatic and world-wide War Aims discussion now. We clamoured for a public statement to all the world of what we fought for. We try to clamour now. (With a shortage of paper and the B.B.C. under government control). So long as we have Lord Halifax, that sporting saint, in the Foreign Office, or anyone of his type, it is preposterous to hope for anything of the sort. We shall fight, but we shall fight under a cloud of baffiing misapprehension. The Allied Governments will be presented not only to their own people but to the doubting would-be-friend abroad, as something ambiguous and untrustworthy. How long are we to go on telling our own people and the world: "Open your mouth and shut your eyes and see what an anti-Bolshevik Tory Churchman will give you." This is the monstrous absurdity of our present phase.
I have already made some bitter comments on the way in which the French were let down monetarily and the nationalised services looted by private ownership in the pseudo-Reconstruction that followed 1918. The story is told simply and plainly in the later editions of The Outline of History (1931). What fills me with dismay as I look over this Crewe House document and recall its ineffectiveness, is the parallelism of our problem after two and twenty years. You see what happened to the hopes of my generation and you see what may happen to yours. You see why the world revolutionary must set himself now to anticipate and resist the return of the old order and how plainly it is manifest that this time we must go on along the lines we failed to pursue in that last phase of hope and opportunity. Go on with it now. Make this in reality the war to end war. There is no other way to end war, and there is very little time remaining.