WILLIAM RALPH INGE, C.V.O., D.D.
DEAN OF ST. PAUL'S
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO 39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON FOURTH AVENUE & 30TH STREET, NEW YORK BOMBAY, CALCUTTA, AND MADRAS
All the Essays in this volume, except the first, have appeared in the Edinburgh Review, the Quarterly Review, or the Hibbert Journal. I have to thank the Publishers and Editors of those Reviews for their courtesy in permitting me to reprint them. The articles on The Birth-Rate, The Future of the English Race, Bishop Gore and the Church of England, and Cardinal Newman are from the Edinburgh Review; those on Patriotism, Catholic Modernism, St. Paul, and The Indictment against Christianity are from the Quarterly Review; those on Institutionalism and Mysticism and Survival and Immortality from the Hibbert Journal. I have not attempted to remove all traces of overlapping, which I hope may be pardoned in essays written independently of each other; but a few repetitions have been excised.
I. OUR PRESENT DISCONTENTS 1
II. PATRIOTISM 35
III. THE BIRTH-RATE 59
IV. THE FUTURE OF THE ENGLISH RACE 82
V. BISHOP GORE AND THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND 106
VI. ROMAN CATHOLIC MODERNISM 137
VII. CARDINAL NEWMAN 172
VIII. ST. PAUL 205
IX. INSTITUTIONALISM AND MYSTICISM 230
X. THE INDICTMENT AGAINST CHRISTIANITY 243
XI. SURVIVAL AND IMMORTALITY 266
Photera theleist soi malthaka pseydhe lhego, he sklher' alethhe; phrhaze, she gar he krhisist.
The case of historical writers is hard; for if they tell the truth they provoke man, and if they write what is false they offend God.—Matthew Paris.
Quattuor sunt maxime comprehendendae veritatis offendicula; videlicet, fragilis et indignae auctoritatis exemplum, consuetudinis diuturnitas, vulgi sensus imperiti, et propriae ignorantiae occultatio cum ostentatione sapientiae superioris.—Roger Bacon.
Iudicio perpende; et si tibi vera videntur, Dede manus; aut si falsum est, accingere contra.
Eventu rerum stolidi didicere magistro.
'All' he toi men tahyta thehon en gohynasi kehitai.
OUR PRESENT DISCONTENTS
The Essays in this volume were written at various times before and during the Great War. In reading them through for republication, I have to ask myself whether my opinions on social science and on the state of religion, the two subjects which are mainly dealt with in this collection, have been modified by the greatest calamity which has ever befallen the civilised world, or by the issue of the struggle. I find very little that I should now wish to alter. The war has caused events to move faster, but in the same direction as before. The social revolution has been hurried on; the inevitable counter-revolution has equally been brought nearer. For if there is one safe generalisation in human affairs, it is that revolutions always destroy themselves. How often have fanatics proclaimed 'the year one'! But no revolutionary era has yet reached 'year twenty-five.' As regards the national character, there is no sign, I fear, that much wisdom has been learnt. We are more wasteful and reckless than ever. The doctrinaire democrat still vapours about democracy, though representative government has obviously lost both its power and its prestige. The labour party still hugs its comprehensive assortment of economic heresies. Organised religion remains as impotent as it was before the war. But one fact has emerged with startling clearness. Human nature has not been changed by civilisation. It has neither been levelled up nor levelled down to an average mediocrity. Beneath the dingy uniformity of international fashions in dress, man remains what he has always been—a splendid fighting animal, a self-sacrificing hero, and a bloodthirsty savage. Human nature is at once sublime and horrible, holy and satanic. Apart from the accumulation of knowledge and experience, which are external and precarious acquisitions, there is no proof that we have changed much since the first stone age.
The war itself, as we shall soon be compelled to recognise, had its roots deep in the political and social structure of Europe. The growth of wealth and population, and the law of diminishing returns, led to a scramble for unappropriated lands producing the raw materials of industry. It was, in a sense, a war of capital; but capitalism is no accretion upon the body politic; it is the creator of the modern world and an essential part of a living organism. The Germans unquestionably made a deep-laid plot to capture all markets and cripple or ruin all competitors. Their aims and methods were very like those of the Standard Oil Trust on a still larger scale. The other nations had not followed the logic of competition in the same ruthless manner; there were several things which they were not willing to do. But war to the knife cannot be confined to one of the combatants; the alternative, Weltmacht oder Niedergang, was thrust by Germany upon the Allies when she chose that motto for herself. If the modern man were as much dominated by economic motives as is sometimes supposed, the suicidal results of such a conflict would have been apparent to all; but the poetry and idealism of human nature, no longer centred, as formerly, in religion, had gathered round a romantic patriotism, for which the belligerents were willing to sacrifice their all without counting the cost. Like other idealisms, patriotism varies from a noble devotion to a moral lunacy.
But there was another cause which led to the war. Germany was a curious combination of seventeenth century theory and very modern practice. An Emperor ruling by divine right was the head of the most scientific state that the world has seen. In many ways Germany, with an intelligent, economical, and uncorrupt Government, was a model to the rest of the world. But the whole structure was menaced by that form of individualistic materialism which calls itself social democracy, and which in practice is at once the copy of organic materialism and the reaction against it. The motives for drilling a whole nation in the pursuit of purely national and purely materialistic aims are not strong enough to prevent disintegration. The German Kriegsstaat was falling to pieces through internal fissures. A successful war might give the empire a new lease of life; otherwise, the rising tide of revolution was certain to sweep it away. As Sir Charles Walston has shown, it was for some years doubtful whether the democratic movement would obtain control before the bureaucracy and army chiefs succeeded in precipitating a war. There was a kind of race between the two forces. This was the situation which Lord Haldane found still existing in his famous visit to Germany. In the event, the conservative powers were able to strike and to rush public opinion. Perhaps the bureaucracy was carried along by its own momentum. Two or three years before the war a German publicist, replying to an eminent Englishman, who asked him who really directed the policy of Germany, answered: 'It is a difficult question. Nominally, of course, the Emperor is responsible; but he is a man of moods, not a strong man. In reality, the machine runs itself. Whither it is carrying us we none of us know; I fear towards some great disaster.' This seems to be the truth of the matter. No doubt, a romantic imperialism, with dreams of restoring the empire of Charlemagne, was a factor in the criminal enterprise. No doubt the natural ambitions of officers, and the greed of contractors and speculators, played their part in promoting it. But when we consider that Germany held all the winning cards in a game of peaceful penetration and economic competition, we should attribute to the Imperial Government a strange recklessness if we did not conclude that the political condition of Germany itself, and the automatic working of the machine, were the main causes why the attack was made. There is, in fact, abundant evidence that it was so. The scheme failed only because Germany was foolish enough to threaten England before settling accounts with Russia. But this, again, was the result of internal pressure. Hamburg, and all the interests which the name stands for, cared less for expansion in the East than for the capture of markets overseas. For this important section of conservative Germany, England was the enemy. So the gauntlet was thrown down to the whole civilised world at once, and the odds against Germany were too great.
For the time being, the world has no example of a strong monarchy. The three great European empires are, at the time of writing, in a state of septic dissolution. The victors have sprung to the welcome conclusion that democracy is everywhere triumphant, and that before long no other type of civilised state will exist. The amazing provincialism of American political thought accepts this conclusion without demur; and our public men, some of whom doubtless know better, have served the needs of the moment by effusions of political nonsense which almost surpass the orations delivered every year on the Fourth of July. But no historian can suppose that one of the most widespread and successful forms of human association has been permanently extinguished because the Central Empires were not quite strong enough to conquer Europe, an attempt which has always failed, and probably will always fail. The issue is not fully decided, even for our own generation. The ascendancy will belong to that nation which is the best organised, the most strenuous, the most intelligent, the most united. Before the war none would have hesitated to name Germany as holding this position; and until the downfall of the Empire the nation seemed to possess those qualities unimpaired. The three Empires collapsed in hideous chaos as soon as they deposed their monarchs. In the case of Russia, it is difficult to imagine any recovery until the monarchy is restored; and Germany would probably be well-advised to choose some member of the imperial family as a constitutional sovereign. A monarch frequently represents his subjects better than an elected assembly; and if he is a good judge of character he is likely to have more capable and loyal advisers. President Wilson's declaration that 'a steadfast concert for peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations; for no autocratic government could ever be trusted to keep faith within it,' is one of the most childish exhibitions of doctrinaire naivete which ever proceeded from the mouth of a public man. History gives no countenance to the theory that popular governments are either more moral or more pacific than strong monarchies. The late Lord Salisbury, in one of his articles in the Quarterly Review, spoke the truth on this subject. 'Moderation, especially in the matter of territory, has never been a characteristic of democracy. Wherever it has had free play, in the ancient world or the modern, in the old hemisphere or the new, a thirst for empire and a readiness for aggressive war has always marked it. Though governments may have an appearance and even a reality of pacific intent, their action is always liable to be superseded by the violent and vehement operations of mere ignorance.' The United States are no exception to this rule. They have extended their dominion by much the same means as the empire of the Tsars or our own. Texas and Upper California, the Philippines and Porto Rico, were annexed forcibly; New Mexico, Alaska, and Louisiana were bought; Florida was acquired by treaty; Maine filched from Canada. In no case were the wishes of the inhabitants consulted. Our own experience of republicanism is the same. It was during the short period when Great Britain had no king that Cromwell's court-poet, Andrew Marvell, urged him to complete his glorious career by demolishing our present allies:
A Caesar he, ere long, to Gaul, To Italy an Hannibal.
On the other hand, none of the 'autocrats' wanted this war. The Kaiser was certainly pushed into it.
Democracy is a form of government which may be rationally defended, not as being good, but as being less bad than any other. Its strongest merits seem to be: first, that the citizens of a democracy have a sense of proprietorship and responsibility in public affairs, which in times of crisis may add to their tenacity and endurance. The determination of the Federals in the American Civil War, and of the French and British in the four years' struggle against Germany, may be legitimately adduced as arguments for democracy. When De Tocqueville says that 'it is hard for a democracy to begin or to end a war,' the second is truer than the first. And, secondly, the educational value of democracy is so great that it may be held to counterbalance many defects. Mill decides in favour of democracy mainly on the ground that 'it promotes a better and higher form of national character than any other polity,' since government by authority stunts the intellect, narrows the sympathies, and destroys the power of initiative. 'The perfect commonwealth,' says Mr. Zimmern,' is a society of free men and women, each at once ruling and being ruled,' It is also fair to argue that monarchies do not escape the worst evils of democracies. An autocracy is often obliged to oppress the educated classes and to propitiate the mob. Domitian massacred senators with impunity, and only fell 'postquam cerdonibus esse timendus coeperat.' If an autocracy does not rest on the army, which leads to the chaos of praetorianism, it must rely on 'panem et circenses.' Hence it has some of the worst faults of democracy, without its advantages. As Mr. Graham Wallas says: 'When a Tsar or a bureaucracy finds itself forced to govern in opposition to a vague national feeling which may at any moment create an overwhelming national purpose, the autocrat becomes the most unscrupulous of demagogues, and stirs up racial or religious or social hatred, or the lust for foreign war, with less scruple than a newspaper proprietor under a democracy,' The autocrat, in fact, is often a slave, as the demagogue is often a tyrant. Lastly, the democrat may urge that one of the commonest accusations against democracy—that the populace chooses its rulers badly—is not true in times of great national danger. On the contrary, it often shows a sound instinct in finding the strongest man to carry it through a crisis. At such times the parrots and monkeys are discarded, and a Napoleon or a Kitchener is given a free hand, though he may have despised all the demagogic arts. In other words, a democracy sometimes knows when to abdicate. The excesses of revolutionists are not an argument against democracy, since revolutions are anything rather than democratic.
Nevertheless, the indictment against democracy is a very heavy one, and it is worth while to state the main items in the charge.
1. Whatever may be truly said about the good sense of a democracy during a great crisis, at ordinary times it does not bring the best men to the top. Professor Hearnshaw, in his admirable 'Democracy at the Crossroads,' collects a number of weighty opinions confirming this judgment. Carlyle, who proclaimed the merits of silence in some thirty volumes, blames democracy for ignoring the 'noble, silent men' who could serve it best, and placing power in the hands of windbags. Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, Sir James Stephen, Sir Henry Maine, and Lecky, all agree that 'the people have for the most part neither the will nor the power to find out the best men to lead them.' In France the denunciations of democratic politicians are so general that it would be tedious to enumerate the writers who have uttered them. One example will suffice; the words are the words of Anatole Beaulieu in 1885:
The wider the circle from which politicians and state-functionaries are recruited, the lower seems their intellectual level to have sunk. This deterioration in the personnel of government has been yet more striking from the moral point of view. Politics have tended to become more corrupt, more debased, and to soil the hands of those who take part in them and the men who get their living by them. Political battles have become too bitter and too vulgar not to have inspired aversion in the noblest and most upright natures by their violence and their intrigues. The elite of the nation in more than one country are showing a tendency to have nothing to do with them. Politics is an industry in which a man, to prosper, requires less intelligence and knowledge than boldness and capacity for intrigue. It has already become in some states the most ignominious of careers. Parties are syndicates for exploitation, and its forms become ever more shameless.
A later account of French politics, drawn from inside knowledge and experience, is the remarkable novel, 'Les Morts qui parlent,' by the Vicomte Le Vogue. Readers of this book will not forget the description of the bain de haine in which a new deputy at once finds himself plunged, and the canker of corruption which eats into the whole system. It is no wonder that the majority of Frenchmen do not care to record their votes. In 1906, 5,209,606 votes were given, 6,383,852 electors did not go to the poll. The record of democracy in the new countries is no better. We must regretfully admit that Louis Simond was right when he said, 'Few people take the trouble to persuade the people, except those who see their interest in deceiving them.'
2. The democracy is a ready victim to shibboleths and catchwords, as all demagogues know too well. 'The abstract idea,' as Scherer says, 'is the national aliment of popular rhetoric, the fatal form of thought which, for want of solid knowledge, operates in a vacuum.' The politician has only to find a fascinating formula; facts and arguments are powerless against it. The art of the demagogue is the art of the parrot; he must utter some senseless catchword again and again, working on the suggestibility of the crowd. Archbishop Trench, 'On the Study of Words,' notices this fact of psychology and the use which is commonly made of it.
If I wanted any further evidence of the moral atmosphere which words diffuse, I would ask you to observe how the first thing men do, when engaged in controversy with others, is ever to assume some honourable name to themselves, such as, if possible, shall beg the whole subject in dispute, and at the same time to affix on their adversaries a name which shall place them in a ridiculous or contemptible or odious light. A deep instinct, deeper perhaps than men give any account of to themselves, tells them how far this will go; that multitudes, utterly unable to weigh the arguments on one side or the other, will yet be receptive of the influences which these words are evermore, however imperceptibly, diffusing. By argument they might hope to gain over the reason of a few, but by help of these nicknames the prejudices and passions of the many.
The chief instrument of this base art is no longer the public speech but the newspaper.
The psychology of the crowd has been much studied lately, by Le Bon and other writers in France, by Mr. Graham Wallas in England. I think that Le Bon is in danger of making The Crowd a mystical, superhuman entity. Of course, a crowd is made up of individuals, who remain individuals still. We must not accept the stuffed idol of Rousseau and the socialists, 'The General Will,' and turn it into an evil spirit. There is no General Will. All we have a right to say is that individuals are occasionally guided by reason, crowds never.
3. Several critics of democracy have accused it not only of rash iconoclasm, but of obstinate conservatism and obstructiveness. It seems unreasonable to charge the same persons with two opposite faults; but it is true that where the popular emotions are not touched, the masses will cling to old abuses from mere force of habit. As Maine says, universal suffrage would have prohibited the spinning-jenny and the power-loom, the threshing-machine and the Gregorian calendar; and it would have restored the Stuarts. The theory of democracy—vox populi vox dei—is a pure superstition, a belief in a divine or natural sanction which does not exist. And superstition is usually obstructive. 'We erect the temporary watchwords of evanescent politics into eternal truths; and having accepted as platitudes the paradoxes of our fathers, we perpetuate them as obstacles to the progress of our children.'
4. A more serious danger is that of vexatious and inquisitive tyranny. This is exercised partly through public opinion, a vulgar, impertinent, anonymous tyrant who deliberately makes life unpleasant for anyone who is not content to be the average man. But partly it is seen in constant interference with the legislature and the executive. No one can govern who cannot afford to be unpopular, and no democratic official can afford to be unpopular. Sometimes he has to wink at flagrant injustice and oppression; at other times a fanatical agitation compels him to pass laws which forbid the citizen to indulge perfectly harmless tastes, or tax him to contribute to the pleasures of the majority. In many ways a Russian under the Tsars was far less interfered with than an Englishman or American or Australian.
5. But the two diseases which are likely to be fatal to democracy are anarchy and corruption. A democratic government is almost necessarily weak and timid. A democracy cannot tolerate a strong executive for fear of seeing the control pass out of the hands of the mob. The executive must be unarmed and defenceless. The result is that it is at the mercy of any violent and anti-social faction. No civilised government has ever given a more ludicrous and humiliating object-lesson than the Cabinet and House of Commons in the years before the war, in face of the outrages committed by a small gang of female anarchists. The legalisation of terrorism by the trade-unions was too tragic a surrender to be ludicrous, but it was even more disgraceful. None could be surprised when, during the war, the Government shrank from dealing with treasonable conspiracy in the same quarter.
The Times for May 24, 1917, contained a noteworthy example of justice influenced by pressure, and therefore applied with flagrant inequality. In parallel columns appeared reports of 'sugar-sellers fined' and 'strike leaders released.' The former paid the full penalty of their misdeeds because no body of outside opinion maintained them. The latter, who were stated to have committed offences for which the maximum penalty was penal servitude for life, got off scot-free because they were members of a powerful organisation which was able to bring immense weight to bear on the Government.
The 'immense weight' was, of course, the threat of virtually betraying the country to the Germans. The country is at this moment at the mercy of any lawless faction which may choose either to hold the community to ransom by paralysing our trade and channels of supply, or by organised violence against life and property. Democracy is powerless against sectional anarchism; and when such movements break out there is no remedy except by substituting for democracy a government of a very different type.
Democracy is, in fact, a disintegrating force. It is strong in destruction, and tends to fall to pieces when the work of demolition (which may of course be a necessary task) is over. Democracy dissolves communities into individuals and collects them again into mobs. It pulls up by the roots the social order which civilisation has gradually evolved, and leaves men deracines, as Bourget says in one of his best novels, homeless and friendless, with no place ready for them to fill. It is the opposite extreme to the caste system of India, which, with all its faults, does not seem to breed the European type of enrage, the enemy of society as such.
6. The corruption of democracies proceeds directly from the fact that one class imposes the taxes and another class pays them. The constitutional principle, 'No taxation without representation,' is utterly set at nought under a system which leaves certain classes without any effective representation at all. At the present time it is said that one-tenth of the population pays five-sixths of the taxes. The class which imposes the taxes has refused to touch the burden of the war with one of its fingers; and every month new doles at the public expense are distributed under the camouflage of 'social reform.' At every election the worldly goods of the minority are put up to auction. This is far more immoral than the old-fashioned election bribery, which was a comparatively honest deal between two persons; and in its effects it is far more ruinous. Democracy is likely to perish, like the monarchy of Louis XVI, through national bankruptcy.
Besides these defects, the democracy has ethical standards of its own, which differ widely from those of the educated classes. Among the poor, 'generosity ranks far before justice, sympathy before truth, love before chastity, a pliant and obliging disposition before a rigidly honest one. In brief, the less admixture of intellect required for the practice of any virtue, the higher it stands in popular estimation. In this country, at any rate, democracy means a victory of sentiment over reason. Some may prefer the softer type of character, and may hope that it will make civilisation more humane and compassionate than it has been in the past. Unfortunately, experience shows that none is so cruel as the disillusioned sentimentalist. He thinks that he can break or ignore nature's laws with impunity; and then, when he finds that nature has no sentiment, he rages like a mad dog, and combines with his theoretical objection to capital punishment a lust to murder all who disagree with him. This is the genesis of Jacobinism and Bolshevism.
But whether we think that the bad in democracy predominates over the good, or the good over the bad, a question which I shall not attempt to decide, the popular balderdash about it corresponds to no real conviction. The upper class has never believed in it; the middle class has the strongest reasons to hate and fear it. But how about the lower class, in whose interests the whole machine is supposed to have been set going? The working man has no respect for either democracy or liberty. His whole interest is in transferring the wealth of the minority to his own pocket. There was a time when he thought that universal suffrage would get for him what he desires; but he has lost all faith in constitutional methods. To levy blackmail on the community, under threats of civil war, seems to him a more expeditious way of gaining his object. Monopolies are to be established by pitiless coercion of those who wish to keep their freedom. The trade unions are large capitalists; they are well able to start factories for themselves and work them for their own exclusive profit. But they find it more profitable to hold the nation to ransom by blockading the supply of the necessaries of life. The new labourer despises productivity for the same reason that the old robber barons did: it is less trouble to take money than to make it. The most outspoken popular leaders no longer conceal their contempt for and rejection of democracy. The socialists perceive the irreconcilable contradiction between the two ideas, and they are right. Democracy postulates community of interest or loyal patriotism. When these are absent it cannot long exist. Syndicalism, which seems to be growing, is the antipodes of socialism, but, like socialism, it can make no terms with democracy. 'If syndicalism triumphs,' says its chief prophet Sorel, 'the parliamentary regime, so dear to the intellectuals, will be at an end.' 'The syndicalist has a contempt for the vulgar idea of democracy; the vast unconscious mass is not to be taken into account when the minority wishes to act so as to benefit it.' 'The effect of political majorities,' says Mr. Levine, 'is to hinder advance,' Accordingly, political methods are rejected with contempt. The anarchists go one step further. Bakunin proclaims that 'we reject all legislation, all authority, and all influence, even when it has proceeded from universal suffrage.' These powerful movements, opposed as they are to each other, agree in spurning the very idea of democracy, which Lord Morley defines as government by public opinion, and which may be defined with more precision as direct government by the votes of the majority among the adult members of a nation. Even a political philosopher like Mr. Lowes Dickinson says, 'For my part, I am no democrat.'
Who then are the friends of this curieux fetiche, as Quinet called democracy? It appears to have none, though it has been the subject of fatuous laudation ever since the time of Rousseau. The Americans burn incense before it, but they are themselves ruled by the Boss and the Trust.
The attempt to justify the labour movement as a legitimate development of the old democratic Liberalism is futile. Freedom to form combinations is no doubt a logical application of laisser faire; and the anarchic possibilities latent in laisser faire have been made plain in the anti-democratic movements of labour. But Liberalism rested on a too favourable estimate of human nature and on a belief in the law of progress. As there is no law of progress, and as civilised society is being destroyed by the evil passions of men, Liberalism is, for the time, quite discredited. It would also be true to say that there is a fundamental contradiction between the two dogmas of Liberalism. These were, that unlimited competition is stimulating to the competitors and good for the country, and that every individual is an end, not a means. Both are anarchical; but the first logically issues in individualistic anarchy, the last in communistic anarchy. The economic and the ethical theory of Liberalism cannot be harmonised. The result—cruel competition tempered by an artificial process of counter-selection in favour of the unfittest—was by no means satisfactory. But it was better than what we are now threatened with.
That the labour movement is economically rotten it is easy to prove. In the words of Professor Hearnshaw, 'the government has ceased to govern in the world of labour, and has been compelled, instead of governing, to bribe, to cajole, to beg, to grovel. It has purchased brief truces at the cost of increasing levies of Danegeld drawn from the diminishing resources of the patient community. It has embarked on a course of payment of blackmail which must end either in national bankruptcy or in the social revolution which the anarchists seek.' The powerful trade-unions are now plundering both the owners of their 'plant,' and the general public. It is easy to show that their members already get much more than their share of the national wealth. Professor Bowley has estimated that an equal division of the national income would give about L160 a year to each family, free of taxes. But even this estimate, discouraging as it is, seems not to allow sufficiently for the fact that under the present system much of the income of the richer classes is counted twice or three times over. Abolish large incomes, and jewels, pictures, wines, furs, special and rare skill like that of the operating surgeon and fashionable portrait painter, lose all or most of their money value. All the large professional incomes, except those of the low comedian and his like, are made out of the rich, and are counted at least twice for income-tax. It is certain that a large part of the national income could not be 'redistributed,' and that in the attempt to do so credit would be destroyed and wealth would melt like a snow man. The miners, therefore, are not seeking justice; they are blackmailing rich and poor alike by their monopoly of one of the necessaries of life. And now they strike against paying income-tax!
It is not necessary or just to bring railing accusations against any class as a body. Power is always abused, and in this case there is much honest ignorance, stimulated by agitators who are seldom honest. In a recent number of the Edinburgh Review Sir Lynden Macassey speaks of the widespread, almost universal, fallacies to which the hand-worker has fallen a victim. They believe that all their aspirations can be satisfied out of present-day profits and production. They believe that in restricting output they are performing a moral duty to their class. They do not believe that the prosperity of the country depends upon its production, and are opposed to all labour-saving devices. They refuse co-operation because they desire the continuance of the class-war. Such perversity would seem hardly credible if it were not attested by overwhelming evidence. The Government remedy is first to create unemployment and then to endow it—the shortest and maddest road to ruin since the downfall of the Roman Empire.
We may have a faint hope that some of these fallacies will be abandoned by the workmen when their destructive results can no longer be concealed. But sentimentalism seems to be incurable. It erects irrationality into an act of religious faith, gives free rein to the emotion of pity, and thinks that it is imitating the Good Samaritan by robbing the Priest and Levite for the benefit of the man by the road-side. The sentimentalist shows a bitter hatred against those who wish to cure an evil by removing its causes. A good example is the language of writers like Mr. Chesterton about eugenics and population. If social maladies were treated scientifically, the trade of the emotional rhetorician would be gone.
We have seen that democracy—the rule of majorities—has been discredited and abandoned in action, though officially we all bow down before it. Another popular delusion is that the chief change in the last fifty years has been a conversion of the world from individualism to socialism. In the language of the Christian socialists, who wish to combine the militant spirit and organisation of medieval Catholicism with a bid for the popular vote, we have 'rediscovered the Corporate Idea.' But if we take socialism, not in the narrower sense of collectivism, which would be an economic experiment, but in the wider sense of a keen consciousness of the solidarity of the community as an organic whole, there is very little truth in the commonly held notion that we have become more socialistic. It is easy to see how the idea has arisen. It became necessary to find some theoretical justification for raising taxes, no longer for national needs, but for the benefit of the class which imposed them; and this justification was found in the theory that all wealth belongs to 'the State,' and may be justly divided up as 'the State'—that is to say, the majority of the voters—may determine. Whenever the question arises of voting new doles to the dominant section of the people at the expense of the minority, our new political philosophers profess themselves fervent socialists. But true socialism, which is almost synonymous with patriotism, is as conspicuously absent in those who call themselves socialists as it is strong in those who repudiate the title. This paradox can be easily proved. The most socialistic enterprise in which a nation ever engages is a great war. A nation at war is conscious of its corporate unity and its common interests, as it is at no other time. The nation then calls upon every citizen to surrender all his personal rights and to offer his life and limbs in the service of the community. And what has been the record of the 'socialists' in the struggle for national existence in which we have been engaged? In the years preceding the war they ridiculed the idea that the country was in danger of being attacked, and used all their power to prevent us from preparing against attack. They steadily opposed the teaching of patriotism in the schools. When the war began, they prevented the Government from introducing compulsory service until our French Allies, who were left to bear the brunt, were on the point of collapse; they, in very many cases, refused to serve themselves, thereby avowing that, as far as they were concerned, they were willing to see their country conquered by a horde of cruel barbarians; and they nearly handed over our armies to destruction by fomenting strikes at the most critical periods of the war. This attitude cannot be accounted for by any conscientious objection to violence, which is in fact their favourite weapon, except against the enemies of their country. Their socialism is, in truth, individualism run mad; it is the very antithesis to the consciousness of organic unity in a nation, which is the spiritual basis of socialism. In this sense, the nation as a whole has shown a fine socialistic temper; but the disgraceful exception has been the socialist party. The intense and perverted individualism of the so-called socialist is shown in another way. Whatever liberties a State may permit to its citizens, it is certain that no nation can be in a healthy condition unless the government keeps in its own hands the keys of birth and of death. The State has the right of the farmer to decide how many cows should be allowed to graze upon ten acres of grass; the right of the forester to decide how many square feet are required for each tree in a wood. It has also the right and the duty of the gardener to pull up noxious weeds in his flower-beds. But the socialist vehemently repudiates both these rights. Being an ultra-individualist, he is in favour of laisser faire, where laisser faire is most indefensible and most disastrous.
It would be easy to maintain that the organic idea was more potent, both under medieval feudalism and under nineteenth-century industrialism, than it is now. In former days, economic and social equality were not even aimed at, because it was thought inevitable that in a social organism there must be subordination and a hierarchy of functions. Essentially, and in the sight of God, all are equal, or, rather, the essential differences between man and man are absolutely independent of social status. In a few years Lazarus may be in heaven and Dives in hell. Beside this equality of moral opportunity and tremendous inequality in self-chosen destiny, the status of master and servant seemed of small importance; it was a temporary and trivial accident. Accordingly, in feudal times, as to-day in really Catholic communities, feelings of injustice and social bitterness were seldom aroused and class differences take on a more genial colour. In spite of the lawlessness and brutality of the Middle Ages it is probable that men were happier then than they are now.
The French Revolution, which was a disintegrating solvent, pulverised society, and was impotent to reconstruct it. Yet under the industrial regime which followed it in this country, the nation was conscious of its unity. The system was the best that could have been devised for increasing the population and aggregate wealth of the country; and even those who suffered most under it were not without pride in its results. The ill-paid workman of the last century would have thought it a poor thing to do a deliberately bad day's work.
I am not praising either the age of feudalism or the 'hungry forties' of the nineteenth century. In the latter case especially the sacrifice exacted from the poor was too great for the rather vulgar success of which it was the condition. But to call that age the period of individualism, and our own generation the period of socialism, is in my opinion a profound mistake. In Germany, too, the real socialists are not the 'Spartacist' scoundrels who have betrayed and ruined their country, but the bureaucracy with their Deutschland ueber Alles. If I were a little more of a socialist, I could almost admire them, in spite of all their crimes.
The landed gentry (and in honesty I must add the endowed clergy) are a survival of feudalism, as the capitalist is a survival of industrialism. Both have to a large extent survived their functions. The mailclad baron, round whose fortified castle the peasants and others gathered for protection, has become the country gentleman, against whom the indictment is not so much that his only pursuit is pleasure, as that his only pleasure is pursuit. 'The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate' were intelligible while the rich man protected the poor man from being plundered and killed by marauders; but in our times nobody wants a castle or to live under the shadow of a castle. The clerical profession was a necessity when most people could neither read nor write. But to-day our best prophets and preachers are laymen. As at ancient Athens, in the time of Aristophanes, 'the young learn from the schoolmaster, the mature from the poets.' Similarly, the captain of industry cannot hold the same autocratic position as formerly, in view of the growing intelligence and capacity of the workmen; and the capitalist who is not a captain of industry is a debtor to the community to an extent which he does not always realise. This class is becoming painfully conscious of its vulnerability.
There are, therefore, irrational survivals in our social order; and though it may be proved that they are not a severe burden on the community, it is natural that popular bitterness and discontent should fasten upon them and exaggerate their evil results. It cannot be disputed that this bitterness and discontent were becoming very acute in the years before the war. An increasing number of persons saw no meaning and no value in our civilisation. This feeling was common in all classes, including the so-called leisured class; and was so strong that many welcomed with joy the clear call to a plain duty, though it was the duty of facing all the horrors of war. What is the cause of this discontent? There are few more important questions for us to answer.
Those who find the cause in the existence of the survivals which we have mentioned are certainly mistaken. It is no new thing that there should be a small class more or less parasitic on the community. The whole number of persons who pay income-tax on L5000 a year and upwards is only 13,000 out of 46 millions, and their wealth, if it could be divided up, would make no appreciable difference to the working man. The wage-earners are better off than they have ever been before in our history, and the danger of revolution comes not from the poor, but from the privileged artisans who already have incomes above the family average. We must look elsewhere for an explanation of social unrest. If we consider what are the chief centres of discontent throughout the civilised world, we shall find that they are the great aggregations of population in wealthy industrial countries. Social unrest is a disease of town-life. Wherever the conditions which create the great modern city exist, we find revolutionary agitation. It has spread to Barcelona, to Buenos Ayres, and to Osaka, in the wake of the factory. The inhabitants of the large town do not envy the countryman and would not change with him. But, unknown to themselves, they are leading an unnatural life, cut off from the kindly and wholesome influences of nature, surrounded by vulgarity and ugliness, with no traditions, no loyalties, no culture, and no religion. We seldom reflect on the strangeness of the fact that the modern working-man has few or no superstitions. At other times the masses have evolved for themselves some picturesque nature-religion, some pious ancestor-worship, some cult of saints or heroes, some stories of fairies, ghosts, or demons, and a mass of quaint superstitions, genial or frightening. The modern town-dweller has no God and no Devil; he lives without awe, without admiration, without fear. Whatever we may think about these beliefs, it is not natural for men and women to be without them. The life of the town artisan who works in a factory is a life to which the human organism has not adapted itself; it is an unwholesome and unnatural condition. Hence, probably, comes the malaise which makes him think that any radical change must be for the better.
Whatever the cause of the disease may be (and I do not pretend that the conditions of urban life are an adequate explanation) the malady is there, and will probably prove fatal to our civilisation. I have given my views on this subject in the essay called The Future of the English Race. And yet there is a remedy within the reach of all if we would only try it.
The essence of the Christian revelation is the proclamation of a standard of absolute values, which contradicts at every point the estimates of good and evil current in 'the world.' It is not necessary, in such an essay as this, to write out the Beatitudes, or the very numerous passages in the Gospels and Epistles in which the same lessons are enforced. It is not necessary to remind the reader that in Christianity all the paraphernalia of life are valued very lightly; that all the good and all the evil which exalt or defile a man have their seat within him, in his own character; that we are sent into the world to suffer and to conquer suffering; that it is more blessed to give than to receive; that love is the great revealer of the mysteries of life; that we have here no continuing city, and must therefore set our affections and lay up our treasures in heaven; that the things that are seen are temporal, and the things that are not seen are eternal. This is the Christian religion. It is a form of idealism; and idealism means a belief in absolute or spiritual values.
When applied to human life, it introduces, as it were, a new currency, which demonetises the old; or gives us a new scale of prices, in which the cheapest things are the dearest, and the dearest the cheapest. The world's standards are quantitative; those of Christianity are qualitative. And being qualitative, spiritual goods are unlimited in amount; they are increased by being shared; and we rob nobody by taking them.
Secularists ask impatiently what Christianity has done or proposes to do to make mankind happier, by which they mean more comfortable. The answer is (to put it in a form intelligible to the questioner) that Christianity increases the wealth of the world by creating new values. Wealth depends on human valuation. For example, if women were sufficiently well educated not to care about diamonds, the Kimberley mines would pay no dividends, and the rents in Park Lane would go down. The prices of paintings by old masters would decline if millionaires preferred to collect another kind of scalps to decorate their wigwams. Bookmakers and company-promoters live on the widespread passion for acquiring money without working for it. It is hardly possible to estimate the increase of real wealth, and the stoppage of waste, which would result from the adoption of a rational, still more of a Christian, valuation of the good things of life. I have dealt with this subject in the essay on The Indictment against Christianity, and have emphasised the importance of taking into consideration, in all economic questions, the human costs of production, the factors which make work pleasant or irksome, and especially the moral condition of the worker. Good-will diminishes the toll which labour takes of the labourer; envy and hatred vastly increase it while they diminish its product. It is, of course, impossible that the worker should not resent having to devote his life to making what is useless or mischievous, and to ministering to the irrational wastefulness of luxury. Christianity, in condemning the selfish and irresponsible use of money, seeks to remove one of the chief causes of social bitterness. Senseless extravagance is the best friend of revolution.
The abuse poured upon 'the old political economy,' as it is called, is only half deserved. As compared with the insane doctrines now in favour with the working-man, the old political economy was sound and sensible. Hard work, thrift, and economy in production are, in truth, as we used to be told, the only ways to increase the national wealth, and the contrary practices can only lead to economic ruin. There is not much fault to find with the old economists so long as they recognised that their science was an abstract science, which for its own purposes dealt with an unreal abstraction—the 'economic man.' Every science is obliged to isolate one aspect of reality in this way. But when political economy was treated as a philosophy of life it began to be mischievous. A book on 'the science of the stomach,' without knowledge of physiology or the working of other organs, would not be of much use. Man has never been a merely acquisitive being; for example, he is also a fighting and a praying being. If our dominant motives were changed, the whole conditions dealt with by political economy would change with them. There have been civilisations in which the passion for accumulation was comparatively weak; and notoriously there are many persons in whom it is wholly absent. Devotion to art, to scientific investigation, and to religion is strong enough, where it exists, to kill 'the economic man' in human nature. A civilised nation honours its idealists, and recognises the immense benefit which they confer on the community by creating or revealing new and inexhaustible values; in an uncivilised country they can hardly live. Ruskin and William Morris saw, and doubtless exaggerated, the danger to which spiritual values were exposed at the hands of the dominant economism. Our danger now is that neglect of the simplest economic laws may plunge the nation into such misery that the people will no longer be willing to support art, science, learning, and philosophy. A large section of the labour party has the same standard of values as the hated 'capitalist,' and detests those whom it calls intellectuals and sky-pilots because they depreciate the currency which their class, no less than the capitalist, believes to be the only sound money.
It may be asked whether there is any reason to think that there is now less regard for the higher, the qualitative values of life, than at other periods. My opinion is that ever since the time of Rousseau and his contemporaries, we have been led astray by a will-of-the-wisp akin to the apocalyptic dreams of the Jews in the last two centuries before Christ, dreams which also filled the minds of the first generation of Christians. The Greeks never made the mistake of throwing their ideals into the future, a practice which, as Dr. Bosanquet has said, 'is the death of all sane idealism.' The belief in 'a good time coming' is a Jewish delusion. It nourished the Jews in their amazing obstinacy, and led to the annihilation of their State which, to the very end, they saw in their dreams bruising all other nations with a rod of iron, and breaking them in pieces like a potter's vessel. But, as any idealism is better than none, the Hebrew race has won remarkable triumphs, though of a kind which it never desired.
The myth of progress is our form of apocalyptism. In France it began with sentimentalism, developing normally into homicidal mania. In England it took the form of a kind of Deuteronomic religion. As a reward for our national virtues, our population expanded, our exports and imports went up by leaps and bounds, and our empire received additions every decade. It was plain that when Christ said 'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,' He was thinking of the British Empire. The whole structure of our social order encouraged the measurement of everything by quantitative standards. Everyone could understand that a generation which travels sixty miles an hour must be five times as civilised as one which only travelled twelve. Thus the beneficent 'law of progress' was exemplified in that nation which had best deserved to be its exponent. The myth in question is that there is a natural law of improvement, manifested by greater complexity of structure, by increase of wants and the means to satisfy them. A nation advances in civilisation by increasing in wealth and population, and by multiplying the accessories and paraphernalia of life.
Belief in this alleged law has vitiated our natural science, our political science, our history, our philosophy, and even our religion. Science declared that 'the survival of the fittest' was a law of nature, though nature has condemned to extinction the majestic animals of the saurian era, and has carefully preserved the bug, the louse, and the spirochaeta pallida.
We dined as a rule on each other; What matter? the toughest survived,
is a fair parody of this doctrine. In political science, by a portentous snobbery, the actual evolution of European government was assumed to be in the line of upward progress. Our histories contrasted the benighted condition of past ages with the high morality and general enlightenment of the present. In philosophy, the problem of evil was met by the theory that though the Deity is not omnipotent yet, He is on His way to become so. He means well, and if we give Him time, He will make a real success of His creation. Human beings, too, commonly make a very poor thing of their lives here. But continue their training after they are dead and they will all come to perfection. We have been living on this secularised idealism for a hundred and fifty years. It has driven out the true idealism, of which it is a caricature, and has made the deeper and higher kind of religious faith abnormally difficult. Even the hope of immortality has degenerated into a belief in apparitions and voices from the dead.
Nature knows nothing of this precious law. Her figure is not the vertical line, nor even the spiral, but the circle—the vicious circle, according to Samuel Butler. 'Men eat birds, birds eat worms, worms eat men again.' Some stars are getting hotter, others cooler. Life appears at a certain temperature and is extinguished at another temperature. Evolution and involution balance each other and go on concurrently. The normal condition of every species on this planet is not progress but stationariness. 'Progress,' so-called, is an incident of adaptation to new conditions. Bees and ants must have spent millennia in perfecting their organisation; now that they have reached a stable equilibrium, no more changes are perceptible. The 'progress' of humanity has consisted almost entirely in the transformation of the wild man of the woods, not into homo sapiens but into homo faber, man the tool-maker, a process of which nature expresses her partial disapproval by plaguing us with diverse diseases and taking away our teeth and claws. It is not certain that there has been much change in our intellectual and moral endowments since pithecanthropus dropped the first half of his name. I should be sorry to have to maintain that the Germans of to-day are morally superior to the army which defeated Quintilius Varus, or that the modern Turks are more humane than the hordes of Timour the Tartar. If there is to be any improvement in human nature itself we must look to the infant science of eugenics to help us.
It is not easy to say how this myth of progress came to take hold of the imagination, in the teeth of science and experience. Quinet speaks of the 'fatalistic optimism' of historians, of which there have certainly been some strange examples. We can only say that secularism, like other religions, needs an eschatology, and has produced one. A more energetic generation than ours looked forward to a gradual extension of busy industrialism over the whole planet; the present ideal of the masses seems to be the greatest idleness of the greatest number, or a Fabian farm-yard of tame fowls, or (in America) an ice-water-drinking gynaecocracy. But the superstition cannot flourish much longer. The period of expansion is over, and we must adjust our view of earthly providence to a state of decline. For no nation can flourish when it is the ambition of the large majority to put in fourpence and take out ninepence. The middle-class will be the first victims; then the privileged aristocracy of labour will exploit the poor. But trade will take wings and migrate to some other country where labour is good and comparatively cheap.
The dethronement of a fetish may give a sounder faith its chance. In the time of decay and disintegration which lies before us, more persons will seek consolation where it can be found. 'Happiness and unhappiness,' says Spinoza, 'depend on the nature of the object which we love. When a thing is not loved, no quarrels will arise concerning it, no sadness will be felt if it perishes, no envy if it is possessed by another; no fear, no hatred, no disturbance of the mind. All these things arise from the love of the perishable. But love for a thing eternal and infinite feeds the mind wholly with joy, and is itself untainted with any sadness; wherefore it is greatly to be desired and sought for with our whole strength.' It is well known that these noble words were not only sincere, but the expression of the working faith of the philosopher; and we may hope that many who are doomed to suffer hardship and spoliation in the evil days that are coming will find the same path to a happiness which cannot be taken from them. Spinoza's words, of course, do not point only to religious exercises and meditation. The spiritual world includes art and science in all their branches, when these are studied with a genuine devotion to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful for their own sakes. We shall need 'a remnant' to save Europe from relapsing into barbarism; for the new forces are almost wholly cut off from the precious traditions which link our civilisation with the great eras of the past. The possibility of another dark age is not remote; but there must be enough who value our best traditions to preserve them till the next spring-time of civilisation. We must take long views, and think of our great-grandchildren.
It is tempting to dream of a new Renaissance, under which the life of reason will at last be the life of mankind. Though there is little sign of improvement in human nature, a favourable conjunction of circumstances may bring about a civilisation very much better than ours to-day. For a time, at any rate, war may be practically abolished, and the military qualities may find another and a less pernicious outlet. 'Sport,' as Santayana says, 'is a liberal form of war stripped of its compulsions and malignity; a rational art and the expression of a civilised instinct.' The art of living may be taken in hand seriously. Some of the ingenuity which has lately been lavished on engines of destruction may be devoted to improvements in our houses, which should be easily and cheaply put together and able to be carried about in sections; on labour-saving devices which would make servants unnecessary; and on international campaigns against diseases, some of the worst of which could be extinguished for ever by twenty years of concerted effort. A scientific civilisation is not impossible, though we are not likely to live to see it. And, if science and humanism can work together, it will be a great age for mankind. Such hopes as these must be allowed to float before our minds: they are not unreasonable, and they will help us to get through the twentieth century, which is not likely to be a pleasant time to live in.
Some writers, like Mr. H.G. Wells, recognising the danger which threatens civilisation, have suggested the formation of a society for mutual encouragement in the higher life. Mr. Wells developed this idea in his 'Modern Utopia.' He contemplated a brotherhood, like the Japanese Samurai, living by a Rule, a kind of lay monastic order, who should endeavour to live in a perfectly rational and wholesome manner, so as to be the nucleus of whatever was best in the society of the time. The scheme is interesting to a Platonist, because of its resemblance to the Order of Guardians in the 'Republic.' A very good case may be made out for having an ascetic Order of moral and physical aristocrats, and entrusting them with the government of the country. Plato forbade his guardians to own wealth, and thus secured an uncorrupt administration, one of the rarest and best of virtues in a government. But political events are not moving in this direction at present; and the question for us is whether those who believe in science and humanism should attempt to form a society, not to rule the country, but to protect themselves and the ideas which they wish to preserve. But I agree with Mr. Wells' second thoughts, that the time is not ripe for such a scheme. Christianity, 'the greatest new beginning in the world's history,' appeared, as he says, in an age of disintegration, and 'we are in a synthetic rather than a disintegrating phase.... Only a very vast and terrible war-explosion can, I think, change this state of affairs.' The vast explosion has occurred, and the stage of disintegration, which Mr. Wells ought perhaps to have seen approaching even eleven years ago, has clearly begun. But it will have to go further before the need of such a society is felt. The time may come when the educated classes, and those who desire freedom to live as they think right, will find themselves oppressed, not only in their home-life by the tyranny of the trade-unions, but in their souls by the pulpy and mawkish emotionalism of herd-morality. Then a league for mutual protection may be formed. If such a society ever comes into being, the following principles are, I think, necessary for its success. First, it must be on a religious basis, since religion has a cohesive force greater than any other bond. The religious basis will be a blend of Christian Platonism and Christian Stoicism, since it must be founded on that faith in absolute spiritual values which is common to Christianity and Platonism, with that sturdy defiance of tyranny and popular folly which was the strength of Stoicism. Next, it must not be affiliated to any religious organisation; otherwise it will certainly be exploited in denominational interests. Thirdly, it must include some purely disciplinary asceticism, such as abstinence from alcohol and tobacco for men, and from costly dresses and jewellery for women. This is necessary, because it is more important to keep out the half-hearted than to increase the number of members. Fourthly, it must prescribe a simple life of duty and discipline, since frugality will be a condition of enjoying self-respect and freedom. Fifthly, it will enjoin the choice of an open-air life in the country, where possible. A whole group of French writers, such as Proudhon, Delacroix, Leconte de Lisle, Flaubert, Leblond, and Faguet agree in attributing our social malaise to life in great towns. The lower death-rates of country districts are a hint from nature that they are right. Sixthly, every member must pledge himself to give his best work. As Dr. Jacks says, 'Producers of good articles respect each other; producers of bad despise each other and hate their work.' It may be necessary for those who recognise the right of the labourer to preserve his self-respect, to combine in order to satisfy each other's needs in resistance to the trade-unions. Seventhly, there must be provision for community-life, like that of the old monasteries, for both sexes. The members of the society should be encouraged to spend some part of their lives in these institutions, without retiring from the world altogether. Temporary 'retreats' might be of great value. Intellectual work, including scientific research, could be carried on under very favourable conditions in these lay monasteries and convents, which should contain good libraries and laboratories. Lastly, a distinctive dress, not merely a badge, would probably be essential for members of both sexes.
This last provision tempts me to add that the Government would do well to appoint at once a Royal Commission, or, rather, two Commissions, to decide on a compulsory national uniform for both sexes. Experts should recommend the most comfortable, becoming, and economical dress that could be devised, with considerable variety for the different trades and professions. Such a law would do more for social equality than any readjustment of taxation. It has been often noticed that every man looks a gentleman in khaki; and it is to be feared that many war brides have suffered a painful surprise on seeing their husbands for the first time in civilian garb. There need be no suggestion of militarism about the new costume; but a man's calling might be recorded, like the name of his regiment, on his shoulder-straps, and the absence of such a badge would be regarded as a disgrace, whether the subject was a tramp or one of the idle rich. This suggestion may seem trivial, or even ludicrous; and I may be reminded of my dislike of meddling legislation; but the importance of the philosophy of clothes has not diminished since 'Sartor Resartus.' Clerical dignitaries might be trusted to vote for this mitigation of their lot.
Some may wonder why I have not expressed a hope that the guardianship of our intellectual and spiritual birthright may pass into the hands of the National Church. I heartily wish that I could cherish this hope. But organised religion has been a failure ever since the first concordat between Church and State under Constantine the Great. The Church of England in its corporate capacity has never seemed to respect anything but organised force. In the sixteenth century it proclaimed Henry VIII the Supreme Head of the Church; in the seventeenth century it passionately upheld the 'right divine of kings to govern wrong'; in the eighteenth and nineteenth it was the obsequious supporter of the squirearchy and plutocracy; and now it grovels before the working-man, and supports every scheme of plundering the minority. In fact, we must distinguish sharply between ecclesiasticism, theology, and religion. The future of ecclesiasticism is a political question. In the opinion of some good judges, the acute nationalism now dominant in Europe will quickly pass away, and a duel will supervene between the 'Black International' and the 'Red.' Catholicism, it is supposed, will shelter all who dread revolution and all who value traditional civilisation; its unrivalled organisation will make it the one possible centre of resistance to anarchy and barbarism, and the conflict will go on till one side or the other is overthrown. This prediction, which opens a truly appalling prospect for civilisation, might be less terrible if the Church were to open its arms to a new Renaissance, and become once more, as in the beginning of the modern period, the home of learning and the patroness of the arts. But we must not overlook the new and growing power of science; and science can no more make terms with Catholic ecclesiasticism than with the Revolution. The Jacobins guillotined Lavoisier, 'having no need of chemists'; but the Church burnt Bruno and imprisoned Galileo. Science, too strong to be victimised again, may come between the two enemies of civilisation, the Bolshevik and the Ultramontane; it is, I think, our best hope.
I am conscious that I have spoken with too little sympathy in one or two of these essays about the Ritualist party. I was more afraid of it a few years ago than I am now. The Oxford movement began as a late wave of the Romantic movement, with wistful eyes bent upon the past. But Romanticism, which dotes on ruins, shrinks from real restoration. Medievalism is attractive only when seen from a short distance. So the movement is ceasing to be either medieval or Catholic or Anglican; it is becoming definitely Latin. But a Latin Church in England which disowns the Pope is an absurdity. Many of the shrewder High Churchmen are, as I have said in this volume, throwing themselves into political agitation and intrigue, for which Catholics always have a great aptitude; but this involves them in another inconsistency. For Catholicism is essentially hierarchical and undemocratic, though it keeps a 'career open to the talents.' The spirit of Catholicism breathes in the Third Canto of the 'Paradiso,' where Dante asks the soul of a friend whom he finds in the lowest circle of Paradise, whether he does not desire to go higher. The friend replies: 'Brother, the force of charity quiets our will, making us wish only for what we have and thirst for nothing more. If we desired to be in a sublimer sphere, our desires would be discordant with the will of Him who here allots us our diverse stations.... The manner in which we are ranged from step to step in this kingdom pleases the whole kingdom, as it does the King who gives us the power to will as He wills.' Accordingly, these ecclesiastical votaries of democracy cut a strange figure when they seek to legislate for the Church. The High Church scheme (defeated the other day by a small majority) for drawing up a constitution for the Church, consisted in disfranchising the large majority of the electorate and reserving the initiative and veto for the House of Lords (the Bishops). In fact, the constitution which our Catholic democrats would like best for the Church closely resembles that of Great Britain before the first Reform Bill. In the same way the ritualistic clergy, while professing a superstitious reverence for the episcopal office, make a point of flouting the authority of their own bishop. The movement, in my opinion, is beginning to break up, and Rome will be the chief gainer. But many of its leaders have been among the glories of the Church of England, and I could never speak of them with disrespect.
Catholicism, whether Roman or Anglican, stands to lose heavily by the decay of institutionalism as an article of faith. It is becoming impossible for those who mix at all with their fellow-men to believe that the grace of God is distributed denominationally. The Christian virtues, so far as we can see, flower impartially in the souls of Catholic and Protestant, of Churchman and Schismatic, of Orthodox and Heretic. And the test, 'by their fruits ye shall know them,' cannot be openly rejected by any Christian. But fanatical institutionalism has been the driving force of Catholicism as a power in the world, from the very first. The Church has lived by its monopolies and conquered by its intolerance. The war has given a further impetus to the fall of this belief, which, with its dogma, Extra ecclesiam nulla salus, was tottering before the crisis came.
The prospects of Christian theology are very difficult to estimate; and I am so convinced myself of the superiority of the Catholic theology based on Neoplatonism, that I cannot view the matter with impartial detachment. We all tend to predict the triumph of our own opinions. But miracles must, I am convinced, be relegated to the sphere of pious opinion. It is not likely, perhaps, that the progress of science will increase the difficulty of believing them; but it can never again be possible to make the truths of religion depend on physical portents having taken place as recorded. The Christian revelation can stand without them, and the rulers of the Church will soon have to recognise that in very many minds it does stand without them.
I have already indicated what I believe to be the essential parts of that revelation. Whether it will be believed by a larger number of persons a hundred years hence than to-day depends, I suppose, on whether the nation will be in a more healthy condition than it is now. The chief rival to Christianity is secularism; and this creed has some bitter disappointments in store for its worshippers. I cannot help hoping that the human race, having taken in succession every path except the right one, may pay more attention to the narrow way that leadeth unto life. In morals, the Church will undoubtedly have a hard battle to fight. The younger generation has discarded all tabus, and in matters of sex we must be prepared for a period of unbridled license. But such lawlessness brings about its own cure by arousing disgust and shame; and the institution of marriage is far too deeply rooted to be in any danger from the revolution.
I have, I suppose, made it clear that I do not consider myself specially fortunate in having been born in 1860, and that I look forward with great anxiety to the journey through life which my children will have to make. But, after all, we judge our generation mainly by its surface currents. There may be in progress a storage of beneficent forces which we cannot see. There are ages of sowing and ages of reaping: the brilliant epochs may be those in which spiritual wealth is squandered, the epochs of apparent decline may be those in which the race is recuperating after an exhausting effort. To all appearance, man has still a great part of his long lease before him, and there is no reason to suppose that the future will be less productive of moral and spiritual triumphs than the past. The source of all good is like an inexhaustible river; the Creator pours forth new treasures of goodness, truth, and beauty for all who will love them and take them. 'Nothing that truly is can ever perish,' as Plotinus says; whatever has value in God's sight is safe for evermore. Our half-real world is the factory of souls, in which we are tried, as in a furnace. We are not to set our hopes upon it, but to learn such wisdom as it can teach us while we pass through it. I will therefore end these thoughts on our present discontents with two messages of courage and confidence, one from Chaucer, the other from Blake.
That thee is sent, receyve in buxomnesse, The wrastling for this worlde axeth a fall. Her is non hoom, her nis but wildernesse: Forth, pilgrim, forth! Forth, beste, out of thy stall! Know thy contree, look up, thank God of all: Weyve thy lust, and let thy gost thee lede; And trouthe shall delivere, it is no drede.
Joy and woe are woven fine, A clothing for the soul divine; Under every grief and pine Runs a joy with silken twine. It is right it should be so; Man was made for joy and woe; And when this we rightly know Safely through the world we go.
 Times Literary Supplement, July 18, 1918.
 Hearnshaw, Democracy at the Crossroads, p. 63.
 Miss M. Loane. Mr. Stephen Reynolds has said the same.
 Professor Hearnshaw quotes: 'Il y a opposition evidente et irreductible entre les principes socialistes et les principes democratiques. Il n'y a pas de conceptions politiques qui soient separees par des abimes plus profonds que la democratie et le socialisme' (Le Bon). 'Socialism must be built on ideas and institutions totally different from the ideas and institutions of democracy' (Levine). 'La democratic tend a la conciliation des classes, tandis que le socialisme organise la lutte de classe' (Lagardelle).
 A.D. Lewis, Syndicalism and the General Strike.
 The Division of the Product of Industry.
 First and Last Things (pp. 148-9. Published in 1908).
The sentiment of patriotism has seemed to many to mark an arrest of development in the psychical expansion of the individual, a half-way house between mere self-centredness and full human sympathy. Some moralists have condemned it as pure egoism, magnified and disguised. 'Patriotism,' says Ruskin, 'is an absurd prejudice founded on an extended selfishness.' Mr. Grant Allen calls it 'a vulgar vice—the national or collective form of the monopolist instinct.' Mr. Havelock Ellis allows it to be 'a virtue—among barbarians.' For Herbert Spencer it is 'reflex egoism—extended selfishness.' These critics have made the very common mistake of judging human emotions and sentiments by their roots instead of by their fruits. They have forgotten the Aristotelian canon that the 'nature' of anything is its completed development (he phusis telos estin). The human self, as we know it, is a transitional form. It had a humble origin, and is capable of indefinite enhancement. Ultimately, we are what we love and care for, and no limit has been set to what we may become without ceasing to be ourselves. The case is the same with our love of country. No limit has been set to what our country may come to mean for us, without ceasing to be our country. Marcus Aurelius exhorted himself—'The poet says, Dear city of Cecrops; shall not I pay, Dear city of God?' But the city of God in which he wished to be was a city in which he would still live as 'a Roman and an Antonine.' The citizen of heaven knew that it was his duty to 'hunt Sarmatians' on earth, though he was not obliged to imbrue his hands with 'Caesarism.'
Patriotism has two roots, the love of clan and the love of home. In migratory tribes the former alone counts; in settled communities diversities of origin are often forgotten. But the love of home, as we know it, is a gentler and more spiritual bond than clanship. The word home is associated with all that makes life beautiful and sacred, with tender memories of joy and sorrow, and especially with the first eager outlook of the young mind upon a wonderful world. A man does not as a rule feel much sentiment about his London house, still less about his office or factory. It is for the home of his childhood, or of his ancestors, that a man will fight most readily, because he is bound to it by a spiritual and poetic tie. Expanding from this centre, the sentiment of patriotism embraces one's country as a whole.
Both forms of patriotism—the local and the racial, are frequently alloyed with absurd, unworthy or barbarous motives. The local patriot thinks that Peebles, and not Paris, is the place for pleasure, or asks whether any good thing can come out of Nazareth. To the Chinaman all aliens are 'outer barbarians' or 'foreign devils.' Admiration for ourselves and our institutions is too often measured by our contempt and dislike for foreigners. Our own nation has a peculiarly bad record in this respect. In the reign of James I the Spanish ambassador was frequently insulted by the London crowd, as was the Russian ambassador in 1662; not, apparently, because we had a burning grievance against either of those nations, but because Spaniards and Russians are very unlike Englishmen. That at least is the opinion of the sagacious Pepys on the later of these incidents. 'Lord! to see the absurd nature of Englishmen, that cannot forbear laughing and jeering at anything that looks strange.' Defoe says that the English are 'the most churlish people alive' to foreigners, with the result that 'all men think an Englishman the devil.' In the 17th and 18th centuries Scotland seems to have ranked as a foreign country, and the presence of Scots in London was much resented. Cleveland thought it witty to write:—
Had Cain been Scot, God would have changed his doom; Not forced him wander, but confined him home.
And we all remember Dr. Johnson's gibes.
British patriotic arrogance culminated in the 18th and in the first half of the 19th century; in Lord Palmerston it found a champion at the head of the government. Goldsmith describes the bearing of the Englishman of his day:—
Pride in their port, defiance in their eye, I see the lords of human kind pass by.
Michelet found in England 'human pride personified in a people,' at a time when the characteristic of Germany was 'a profound impersonality.' It may be doubted whether even the arrogant brutality of the modern Prussian is more offensive to foreigners than was the calm and haughty assumption of superiority by our countrymen at this time. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were quite of Milton's opinion, that, when the Almighty wishes something unusually great and difficult to be done, He entrusts it to His Englishmen. This unamiable characteristic was probably much more the result of insular ignorance than of a deep-seated pride. 'A generation or two ago,' said Mr. Asquith lately, 'patriotism was largely fed and fostered upon reciprocal ignorance and contempt.' The Englishman seriously believed that the French subsisted mainly upon frogs, while the Frenchman was equally convinced that the sale of wives at Smithfield was one of our national institutions. This fruitful source of international misunderstanding has become less dangerous since the facilities of foreign travel have been increased. But in the relations of Europe with alien and independent civilisations, such as that of China, we still see brutal arrogance and vulgar ignorance producing their natural results.
Another cause of perverted patriotism is the inborn pugnacity of the bete humaine. Our species is the most cruel and destructive of all that inhabit this planet. If the lower animals, as we call them, were able to formulate a religion, they might differ greatly as to the shape of the beneficent Creator, but they would nearly all agree that the devil must be very like a big white man. Mr. McDougall has lately raised the question whether civilised man is less pugnacious than the savage; and he answers it in the negative. The Europeans, he thinks, are among the most combative of the human race. We are not allowed to knock each other on the head during peace; but our civilisation is based on cut-throat competition; our favourite games are mimic battles, which I suppose effect for us a 'purgation of the emotions' similar to that which Aristotle attributed to witnessing the performance of a tragedy: and, when the fit seizes us, we are ready to engage in wars which cannot fail to be disastrous to both combatants. Mr. McDougall does not regret this disposition, irrational though it is. He thinks that it tends to the survival of the fittest, and that, if we substitute emulation for pugnacity, which on other grounds might seem an unmixed advantage, we shall have to call in the science of eugenics to save us from becoming as sheeplike as the Chinese. There is, however, another side to this question, as we shall see presently.
Another instinct which has supplied fuel to patriotism of the baser sort is that of acquisitiveness. This tendency, without which even the most rudimentary civilisation would be impossible, began when the female of the species, instead of carrying her baby on her back and following the male to his hunting-grounds, made some sort of a lair for herself and her family, where primitive implements and stores of food could be kept. There are still tribes in Brazil which have not reached this first step towards humanisation. But the instinct of hoarding, like all other instincts, tends to become hypertrophied and perverted; and with the institution of private property comes another institution—that of plunder and brigandage. In private life, no motive of action is at present so powerful and so persistent as acquisitiveness, which, unlike most other desires, knows no satiety. The average man is rich enough when he has a little more than he has got, and not till then. The acquisition and possession of land satisfies this desire in a high degree, since land is a visible and indestructible form of property. Consequently, as soon as the instincts of the individual are transferred to the group, territorial aggrandisement becomes a main preoccupation of the state. This desire was the chief cause of wars, while kings and nobles regarded the territories over which they ruled as their private estates. Wherever despotic or feudal conditions survive, such ideas are likely still to be found, and to cause dangers to other states. The greatest ambition of a modern emperor is still to be commemorated as a 'Mehrer des Reichs.'
Capitalism, by separating the idea of property from any necessary connection with landed estate, and democracy, by denying the whole theory on which dynastic wars of conquest are based, have both contributed to check this, perhaps the worst kind of war. It would, however, be a great error to suppose that the instinct of acquisitiveness, in its old and barbarous form, has lost its hold upon even the most civilised nations. When an old-fashioned brigand appears, and puts himself at the head of his nation, he becomes at once a popular hero. By any rational standard of morality, few greater scoundrels have lived than Frederick the Great and Napoleon I. But they are still names to conjure with. Both were men of singularly lucid intellect and entirely medieval ambitions. Their great achievement was to show how under modern conditions aggressive war may be carried on without much loss (except in human life) to the aggressor. They tore up all the conventions which regulated the conduct of warfare, and reduced it to sheer brigandage and terrorism. And now, after a hundred years, we see these methods deliberately revived by the greatest military power in the world, and applied with the same ruthlessness and with an added pedantry which makes them more inhuman. The perpetrators of the crime calculated quite correctly that they need fear no reluctance on the part of the nation, no qualms of conscience, no compassionate shrinking, no remorse. It must, indeed, be a bad cause that cannot count on the support of the large majority of the people at the beginning of a war. Pugnacity, greed, mere excitement, the contagion of a crowd, will fill the streets of almost any capital with a shouting and jubilant mob on the day after a war has been declared.