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Title: The Unfinished Programme of Democracy
Author: Roberts, Richard
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                              PROGRAMME OF


                        BOOKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR

 The Renascence of Faith

 The Highroad to Christ

 Christ and Ourselves

 Personality and Nationality

 The Church in the Commonwealth (New Commonwealth Books)

 The Red Cap on the Cross



                            RICHARD ROBERTS

                    [Illustration: Publisher’s Logo]

                               NEW YORK:
                             B. W. HUEBSCH


                             TO “MINE OWN,”

                           N., P., D., AND G.



           CHAPTER                                      PAGE
                I. THE CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY                 9
               II. THE TESTS OF DEMOCRATIC PROGRESS       39
              III. THE PECUNIARY STANDARD                 64
               IV. THE REDEMPTION OF WORK                 93
                V. THE ACHIEVEMENT OF LIBERTY            131
               VI. THE PRACTICE OF FELLOWSHIP            160
              VII. THE ORGANISATION OF GOVERNMENT        210
             VIII. A DEMOCRATISED WORLD                  251
               IX. EDUCATION INTO DEMOCRACY              295



THESE pages embody the attempt of a plain man to thread a way through
the social confusion of our time. The book sets out with a profound
faith in the validity of the democratic principle; and its object is to
trace the path along which the logic of this principle appears to lead.
No claim is made to expert knowledge of economics or political science;
but the writer has endeavoured to acquaint himself with the recent
literature of the subject and to understand the main currents of
prevailing opinion and feeling.

Events are moving so rapidly at the present time that certain passages
became impertinent before the book was finished. It is probable that
before it finally leaves the writer’s hands, other passages may suffer
in the same way. But the main drift of the argument remains unaffected.

                  *       *       *       *       *

No attempt has been made in the body of the book to discuss the methods
by which the social and economic changes which are impending should be
carried through. It has been assumed that in the English-speaking world,
the traditional respect for constitutional processes would avail to
prevent resort to what has come to be known as “direct action.” It is
now clear that this assumption was ill-founded and that there is a
considerable movement of opinion toward industrial or “direct” action.
The writer would venture to state his conviction that recourse to this
method would be unspeakably disastrous and would carry with it
consequences which its present advocates cannot foresee. It will be no
easy task to restore the normal constitutional and economic processes
when once they have been scrapped in the pursuit of some immediate
object; and it is as sure as anything can very well be that the first
step in direct action will have to be followed by others and must end in
a confusion out of which the forty years it took to deliver Israel out
of Egypt would be all too short to extricate us.

At the same time it should in fairness be acknowledged that if organised
labour decides to use this dubious weapon, it will be under great
provocation. The tardiness of governments to fulfil their promises,
their too obvious tenderness toward the vested interests, the blind and
obstinate bourbonism of the privileged classes over against the new
proletarian awakening—all these things combine to create a situation
which labour may feel intolerable and may resolve to end by a summary
process. It is indeed only the most resolute and speedy mobilisation of
all the resources of practical goodwill and reasonableness that can
avert a great catastrophe. Organised labour has proved itself to be
neither vindictive nor unreasonable when it has been met with fair and
square dealing; and if we are plunged into the chaos of a general strike
or perhaps worse, the larger responsibility will rest with those who,
possessed of power and privilege, either could or would not see that the
clock had moved onward a great space—and, during the years of war, with
great rapidity—and so were unwilling or unready to adapt themselves to
the new circumstances.

                  *       *       *       *       *

One subject of fundamental importance is touched upon but incidentally
in these pages—namely, the land. What is said herein concerning property
in general applies with even more point to land; and the plea which is
made for the standardisation of the price of staple commodities clearly
leads to the public ownership of land, which is indeed on every ground
the only reasonable solution of the land question. But adequate
discussion of the matter would carry the argument of the book too far
afield. In these pages, attention is primarily directed to the situation
which has been created by modern industrialism.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The obligations of the writer to friends and writers are legion; it
would be hopeless to enumerate them. Some items of this indebtedness may
be inferred from the footnotes. The writer in particular regrets that
Mr. Laski’s _Authority in the Modern State_ did not fall into his hands
sooner; but he is glad to find himself in substantial agreement with the
argument and conclusions of that notable work.

    Capel Curig,
      North Wales._
  _July 15th, 1919._


                               Chapter I.
                        THE CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY

    “What is democracy? Sometimes, it is the name for a form of
    government by which the ultimate control of the machinery of
    government is committed to a numerical majority of the community.
    Sometimes, and incorrectly, it is used to denote the numerical
    majority itself, the poor or the multitude existing in a state.
    Sometimes, and still more loosely, it is the name for a policy,
    directed exclusively or mainly to the advantage of the labouring
    class. Finally, in its broadest and deepest, most comprehensive and
    most interesting sense, democracy is the name for a certain general
    condition of society, having historic origins, springing from
    circumstances and the nature of things, not only involving the
    political doctrine of popular sovereignty but representing a cognate
    group of corresponding tendencies over the whole field of moral,
    social and even spiritual life within the democratic
    community.”—LORD MORLEY.

    “I speak the password primeval, I give the sign of Democracy, By
    God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart
    of on the same terms.”—WALT WHITMAN.

    “To be a democrat is not to decide on a certain form of human
    association, it is to learn how to live with other men.”—MARY P.

THE inherent logic of the democratic idea calls for a society which will
provide for all its members those conditions of equal opportunity that
are within human control. It denies all forms of special and exclusive
privilege, and affirms the sovereignty of the common man.

In practice, however, democracy has gone no further than the achievement
of a form of government; and in popular discussion the word has usually
a connotation exclusively political. It is even yet but slowly becoming
clear that a democratic form of government is no more than the bare
framework of a democratic society; and democracy as we know it is justly
open to the criticism that it has not seriously taken in hand the task
of clothing the political skeleton with a body of living social flesh.

Modern democracy is, of course, historically very young; and it may be
reasonably maintained that it is premature to speak of its failure to
realise its full promise. Nevertheless, it is of some consequence that
already that part of the democratic programme which has been achieved
and put to the proof is being exposed to heavy fire of destructive
criticism. During the past few years, we have become familiar with the
idea of a world made safe for democracy; and in the minds of many people
democracy (which in this connection means representative popular
government) stands as a sort of ultimate good which it is impious to
challenge or to criticise. Yet this democracy, for which the world has
been presumably made safe at so great and sorrowful a price, is by some
roundly declared to be radically unsafe for the world and a hindrance to
social progress. The syndicalists, for instance, believe the democratic
state to be no more than the citadel of bourgeois and plutocratic
privilege, and have decreed its destruction, proposing to substitute for
it a modified anarchism. Others, like Paul Bourget and Brunetiere, so
far from finding it the sanctuary of the privileged, fear it as a source
of anarchy and social confusion, and invite us to retrace our steps to
happier days when authority being less diffused was more speedily and
effectually exercised. Neither the syndicalist nor the authoritarian
criticism is wholly baseless; yet it is true that in neither case does
it arise from an inherent defect in the democratic principle. The one
arises from the circumstance that political democracy still lacks its
logical economic corollary; the other from the fact that democracy is
not sustained by its proper ethical coefficient.

These, however, are not the only grounds for the increasing scepticism
of the validity of democratic institutions. The democratic state, like
its predecessors, has proved itself to be voracious of authority; and in
the exercise of its presumed omnicompetency it has increasingly occupied
itself with matters, which—both in respect of extent and content—it is
incapable of handling adequately. It has become palpably impossible to
submit all the concerns of government to parliamentary discussion; and
in consequence there has been a tendency on the one hand to invest
administrative departments with virtual legislative power, and on the
other to convert representative assemblies into mere instruments for
registering the decisions of the executive government. The recent
proposal for the establishment of a permanent statutory National
Industrial Council in England has been evoked by the palpable inability
of Parliament to deal effectually with the problems of industrial
production. Even before the War, it was becoming plain that the
congestion of parliamentary business in England called for some drastic
remedy if parliament was to be saved from futility and discredit. But
here again, the failure has been due to no inherent defect in the
democratic principle but rather to the fact that the unitary and
absolutist doctrine and practice of the state has hindered the proper
development of democracy.

In a word, the trouble with democracy is that there is not enough of it.
The remedy for the ills of democracy is more democracy. Politically, it
is still incomplete; its economic applications have yet to be made; and
while we do lip service to its ethical presuppositions, they are far
from being a rule of life. Yet lacking these things, democracy is
condemned to arrest, and through arrest to decay.

Meantime the dynastic principle has fallen—has indeed fallen under
circumstances which make its revival seem exceedingly remote.
Nevertheless, if democracy suffers arrest at this point in its history,
if the peoples fail to work out its logic, society may lapse into an
anarchy out of which dynasticism or something like it may once more
emerge. It is no hyperbole to speak of the crisis of democracy; and it
is only to be saved as the democratic peoples set themselves earnestly
to the business of strengthening its stakes and lengthening its cords.


Few British people of liberal mind are able to look back upon that
period of their history which gathers around the Boer War without a
certain humiliation. Professor L. T. Hobhouse ascribes the popular
defection of the British people from the democratic principle and temper
during that time to four causes: (_a_) the decay of profound and vivid
religious belief; (_b_) the diffusion of a stream of German idealism
“which has swelled the current of retrogression from the plain
rationalistic way of looking at life and its problems,” and which has
stimulated the growth of the doctrine of the absolute state and its
imperialistic corollaries; (_c_) the career of Prince Bismarck, and
(_d_) “by far the most potent intellectual support of the reaction ...
the belief that physical science has given its verdict (for it came to
this) in favour of violence against social justice.” This provides us
with an instance (so plain that another were superfluous) of the
inability of an unfulfilled democratic order to resist alien and hostile
influences that may be “in the air,” and of its consequent perversion to
ends which belie its own first principles. It is the permanent danger of
democracy when it is not sustained and inspired by a generous moral
impulse to be prostituted to undemocratic ends. “It is at best” (to
quote Mr. Hobhouse again) “an instrument with which men who hold by the
ideal of social justice and human progress can work; but when these
ideals grow cold, it may, like other instruments, be turned to base
uses.” Lord Morley, with a similar sensitiveness to the perils of
democracy asks whether we mean by it “a doctrine or a force;
constitutional parchment or a glorious evangel; perfected machinery for
the wire-puller, the party-tactician, the spoils-man and the boss, or
the high and stern ideals of a Mazzini or a Tolstoi.” It may, indeed, be
reasonably held that worse has befallen it than Lord Morley’s fears. We
have evidence how frequently democracy has in practice become the tool
of strong and unscrupulous men and gangs of such men seeking selfish and
corrupt ends; and how, for Lincoln’s famous formula, we have had
government of the people by a well-to-do oligarchy in the interest of
the privileged classes.

Nor have we any guarantee against this kind of degradation and
degeneracy except in the perpetual reaffirmation and revitalising of the
spiritual and moral grounds of democracy. It may indeed be possible to
create political safeguards against the exploitation of the people and
their government in the interest of individuals and classes; but there
is no such safeguard against democracy, as it were, exploiting itself
for undemocratic ends or sinking into undemocratic practices except in
its continued education in the purposes for which it exists, in its
extension into every region of life, and in its repeated solemn
submission of itself to its principles and ideals. Until democracy
becomes and is felt to be a personal and collective vocation, it is
forever liable to corruption and apostasy. Democracy can only live and
thrive while men remain sincerely and consciously democratic. Liberty
and Equality are doubtful and precarious boons, and may—as they often
have—become positive dangers without Fraternity. Democracy without its
appropriate moral coefficient must be a vain and short-lived thing. So
long as, while professing to give a fair field to every man, it does no
more than provide an open field for the strong man, it will inevitably
lead to the exploitation of the multitude and to the creation of new
forms of privilege; and that in the main has been its recent history.

Not less than by the loss or the absence of moral impulse, is democracy
endangered by ignorance or forgetfulness of what it exists for. Two
words are usually taken to describe the characteristics of democracy,
_liberty_ and _equality_; and the atmosphere of a particular democracy
depends upon whether it lays the larger emphasis on one or on the other
of these. In England, for instance, the type is libertarian. The Briton
has cared less for political equality than for what he calls freedom,
the right of self-determination, the opportunity to live out his own
life in his own way. He has been less doctrinaire than his French
neighbours and has not been much troubled by the logical anomaly of an
aristocracy so long as the aristocracy left him reasonable elbow-room.
When the aristocracy was found to be obstructive, its pretensions were
suitably abridged. In general, the idea of formal equality has played a
less important part in England than it has in France or the United
States. Democracy in the two latter countries is more specifically
egalitarian. This difference is, however, mainly a difference of stress
upon two aspects of the same thing, the egalitarian emphasis having to
do with the formal status of the citizen, the libertarian with the
personal independence which should belong to the status.

Yet the inadequate co-ordination of the two ideas may, and indeed does,
lead to certain unhappy consequences. In Great Britain, an insufficient
attention to equality has led to a too prolonged survival of the idea of
a “governing class”; and social prestige still possesses an inordinate
influence upon the distribution of political power. In France, on the
other hand, an insufficient stress on liberty has tended to make
Frenchmen _étatistes_. According to Emile Faguet, they are accustomed to
submit to despotism and are eager in turn to practise it. They are
liberals only when they are in a minority. In the United States,
egalitarianism produces a kind of compulsory uniformitarianism. It is
significant that, while in a state of war all nations are intolerant of
dissent and free discussion, in the United States where the doctrine of
political equality has reached its completest expression, dissent from
the common view has been much more harshly treated than in any other
belligerent country. The cardinal sin appears to be that of breaking the
ranks. Liberty, according to Lord Acton, is “the assurance that every
man shall be protected in doing what he believes to be his duty against
the influence of authority and majorities, custom, and opinion;” and if
that be true, it does not necessarily follow that democracy is the home
of liberty. An egalitarian democracy may indeed become the tomb of
liberty. “Democracy,” says the same learned authority, “no less than
monarchy or aristocracy sacrifices everything to maintain itself, and
strives with an energy and a plausibility that kings and nobles cannot
attain to override representation, to annul all the forces of resistance
and deviation, and to secure by plebiscite, referendum, or caucus, free
play for the will of the majority. The true democratic principle that
none shall have power over the people is taken to mean that none shall
be able to restrain or to evade its power; the true democratic principle
that the people shall not be made to do what it does not like, is taken
to mean that it shall not be required to tolerate what it does not like.
The true democratic principle that every man’s free-will shall be as
unfettered as possible is taken to mean that the free will of the
sovereign people shall be fettered in nothing.... Democracy claims to be
not only supreme, without authority above, but absolute, without
independence below, to be its own master and not a trustee. The old
sovereigns of the world are exchanged for a new one, who may be
flattered and deceived but whom it is impossible to corrupt or to
resist; and to whom must be rendered the things that are Cæsar’s, and
also the things that are God’s.” Democracy appeared in order to deliver
the individual from a dehumanising subjection; but it may become a
dehumanising tyranny itself. A sovereign people may become as harsh and
merciless as a sovereign lord.

The democratic idea is the corollary of the doctrine of the equal
intrinsic worth of every individual soul. The modern democratic movement
has started from a recognition of this principle; and the principle is
meaningless unless it implies the prescriptive right of the individual
to self-determination. Lord Acton’s definition of liberty is inadequate
because he approaches it from the standpoint of one who was in a
permanent religious minority in his own country, and in a permanent
intellectual minority in his church. Liberty is surely the assurance
that a man may have full opportunity to live out his own life and to
grow to the full stature of his manhood, to be true to himself through
everything. This requires the recognition of real personal independence
and a definite minimum of obligatory uniformity. In another connection,
Acton insists that “liberty is not a means to a higher political end; it
is itself the highest political end. It is not for the sake of a good
public administration that it is required, but for security in the
pursuit of the highest objects of civil society and of private life.” It
is so frequently assumed that the function of government is the
establishment and preservation of order that it is well to remember that
it is a comparatively easy thing to secure some kind of order. The real
difficulty is to establish and to secure liberty. We are far too ready
to assume that liberty is capable of looking after itself and that the
fragile plant which needs our solicitude is social order. But liberty
stands in jeopardy every hour, not less in a democracy than in an
autocracy. And in so far as a democracy, which was born of the craving
for liberty fails to preserve and to extend liberty, it proves itself

And just as democracy is only made safe from corruption and
subordination to undemocratic ends by repeated solemn affirmation of its
moral and spiritual foundations, so it is only made safe from declining
into absolutism and tyranny by constant return upon its metaphysical
centre—the sanctity of the individual. In the modern world, the
multitude is not in danger; our chief pre-occupation must be to save the
individual from being swamped by the multitude. We are apt not to see
the trees for the wood; we must be for ever reminding ourselves that the
wood is made up of the trees. Democracy that tends to authority and
uniformity is foreordained to decay; the democracy of life is one of
freedom and infinite variety. Democracy has yet to solve the problem of
setting the individual free without opening the door to individualism
and anarchy.


It may be with some reason pleaded that the defects of modern democracy
spring from the conditions under which it emerged as a historical fact.
It has appeared with an aspect altogether too negative, as though the
abolition of monarchy or aristocracy or any form of privilege were
sufficient to bring it to birth. The democratic principle has
implications which are not exhausted with the destruction of autocracy
or aristocracy or even with the formal affirmation of popular
sovereignty and the institution of a universal and equal franchise.
Historically, democracy is the product, direct or indirect, of popular
risings against political privilege whether vested in a person or in a
class. Probably we should have to seek a still anterior cause in the
power of economic exploitation which political power confers upon him
who holds it. The mainspring of revolution is the sense of
disinheritance rendered intolerable by injustice and exploitation and
the consequent demand of the disinherited class for its appointed share
in the common human inheritance of light and life. But the tragedy of
revolution (despite the conventional historical judgment) is that it has
never gone far enough. The records of revolution are filled chiefly with
its negative and destructive performances because its impulse, not
having been sustained by an adequate social vision, ran out before it
completed its work or before it could swing on to the business of
construction. It was too readily assumed that the one thing needful was
to break down the one palpable disabling barrier of privilege. That
done, the rest would follow; the golden age would at once materialise.
But it has never done so. It was not perceived that the logic of
revolution required and pointed to a sequel of positive and creative
social action.

This was essentially Lamennais’ plea in 1831. A revolution, he told his
fellow countrymen, is only the beginning of things. You have cleared the
ground; upon that cleared ground, you have to raise the fabric of a
living society. France did, indeed, already provide the instance of the
danger of an uncompleted revolution. The political equality established
by the Revolution of 1789, was intended to give a fair field to every
man; but because it went no further, in effect it opened the door to the
strong man. The strong man appeared presently in the person of Napoleon;
and with Napoleon came the Empire and all that that episode cost Europe
in blood and treasure. The same kind of miscarriage (in another region
and on a larger scale) has befallen the wider historical development of
the French Revolution. Because it was not seen that the “natural right”
of property might no less than the “divine right” of noble birth become
a source of disinheritance, the door was opened to a movement which in
the nineteenth century produced a new type of privilege and a new manner
of disinheritance. That Jack’s vote has been declared to be as good as
his master’s has not saved Jack from an exploitation as real and
burdensome as that under which his father groaned. But it is of a
different kind. The older disability was chiefly agrarian; the new is
industrial. The doctrine of political liberty (interpreted in the light
of Adam Smith) received an economic translation in the doctrine of
“laissez-faire”; and this combined, first, with the restrictions imposed
upon the power of the territorial aristocracy, second, with the new
commercial civilisation which began at the Industrial Revolution, and
third, with the advantage with which the propertied classes, especially
the rich merchant class, started in the new order, has brought about a
new kind of disability. The common people have exchanged the old master
for a new, a feudal aristocracy for an industrial plutocracy, land
barons for trade barons; they have been released from agrarian serfdom
only to be tied to the wheel of industrial wage-slavery. Political
emancipation did not bring with it real freedom.

It was characteristic of Lamennais’ insight that he saw that political
liberty without safeguards against economic exploitation would prove a
vain thing. Writing to the working men of Paris in 1847, he said that,
with them he “should demand that in accordance with justice and reason,
the question should be gone into, how it is possible, in the
distribution of the fruits of labour, to do away with the revolting
anomalies which crush under their weight the most numerous portion of
the human family.”[1] Emile Faguet justly observes that Lamennais saw
that the coming enemy was “_le pouvoir d’argent_,” and that he did what
he could to choke it off before it could establish itself. Nor was
Lamennais alone in his sense of the inadequacy of political change to
meet the needs of the common people. Robert Owen reached a similar
conclusion, and, indeed, was so sceptical of the value of political
action for social improvement that during one period of his life he
preached outright to the working classes a doctrine of political
indifferentism. The working-class movements which came into being early
in the nineteenth century—the Co-operative Societies and the Trade
Unions—originated in the need of countervailing the economic
disadvantage under which the new order had placed the worker and which
the endeavour to establish political equality and liberty had been
powerless to prevent. The growth of Socialism and Syndicalism represents
a revolt from a social order in which the privilege of noble birth has
been superseded by the privilege of property, and the disinherited class
has but suffered a new disinheritance.

Footnote 1:

  This view was shared by Mazzini, whose gospel was at many points
  identical with that of Lamennais. See _The Duties of Man_, ch. xi.

It is by now abundantly evident that the next stage in the evolution of
democracy will consist of a movement of the proletarian masses to remove
the economic disabilities under which they believe themselves to be
suffering. The revolutionary movement in Europe is directed not only
against the dynastic tradition but against the modern institution of
private capitalism; and while the influences of change that have now
overwhelmed Russia and Germany were afoot long before the war, it is not
to be questioned that their liberation was due to the War. Beneath the
outward calm of empire there was a seething mass of unrest; and once the
crust of empire was cracked, this lava of human passion rushed through.
The worker has come to believe that the origins of the war are to be
traced to economic causes, direct products of the capitalist system of
industry, which is also the source of his disabilities in times of
peace; and whether in peace or in war, the worker has at last to pay the
bill. It is not to the point here to discuss whether the premises from
which the worker argues or the conclusions he has reached are valid or
not. We are concerned only to note the state of the case at the present
moment. We observe that the failure of dynastic imperialism has become
the occasion of economic revolution; and in this circumstance we are to
look for the clue to the course of the democratic movement in the
immediate future.

The movement seems indeed to be historically due. The first great
turning point in modern history was the Protestant Reformation with its
insistence upon religious liberty as against ecclesiastical authority.
The second turning point was the French Revolution, which was the first
act in the drama of establishing political liberty as against the power
of aristocracy. It may well turn out that the Russian Revolution marks
the beginning of the third crisis in the modern period, the first act in
the drama of economic emancipation. The Protestant Reformation affirmed
the liberty of the layman against a privilege resting upon an alleged
monopoly of the means of grace; the French Revolution affirmed the
liberty of the citizen against privilege resting upon the fact of noble
birth; the Revolution now in progress will affirm the liberty of the
worker as against privilege resting upon the presumed rights of
property. Perhaps we are about to realise the long delayed economic
corollary of the French Revolution.

Several circumstances of war-experience have given a powerful stimulus
to the movement for radical economic change. Before the war, men were
still haunted by the fear that the revolutionary changes advocated by
the more advanced spirits might turn out to be a transition from the
frying pan into the fire. But the cynical readiness of the “big
business” interests in all the belligerent countries to turn the
nation’s necessity to their own advantage; and the now demonstrated
incompetency and wastefulness of the system of private capitalist
enterprise have served to remove from among the workers any lingering
sense that the good of the nation is bound up with the existing
industrial order. In Great Britain in particular the close industrial
organisation required by the war has provided a revelation of hitherto
unexplored and even unsuspected possibilities of production, proving
“big” business to have been uncommonly bad business. The immense
increase of output in all industries, through the proper co-ordination
and standardisation of processes, the systematic use of scientific
investigation, and the more adequate oversight of the physical condition
of the workers has made it plain that private capitalism either would
not or could not make proper use of the productive resources of the
British people. For instance, the ignorant opposition of the average
employer to the movement for reducing the hours of labour has convicted
him of a stupid incapacity to handle men, especially in view of such
findings as those recorded by Lord Henry Bentinck, who shows
conclusively (from data drawn from the engineering, printing and textile
trades) that “in every case in which experiments have been tried, the
result in output has been favourable to a shortening of the working

Footnote 2:

  _Contemporary Review_, February, 1918.

Moreover, the war-time emphasis upon the idea of democracy has greatly
stimulated the demand for its extension into the field of industry. This
demand was assuming definite shape before the war; but what was at that
time the propaganda of a comparatively small group has now become the
faith of a multitude; and this faith is becoming more and more
articulate as a demand for a socially intensive as well as
geographically extensive application of the democratic principle. The
argument runs in some such fashion as this. Broadly speaking, the
democratic idea has three notes; first, the institution of those
conditions of equal opportunity which are within human control; second,
the participation of the community as a whole in the creation of these
conditions, which means a universal franchise and equal ungraded
partnership in affairs; and third, the absence of any privileged class
which is able to impose its will upon the rest or any part of the rest.
Some rough approximation to this state of things has been made in the
political region; there it is accounted good and right. Why, then should
not the same process be good and right in other regions of life? For
instance, the greater part of a man’s life gathers around and is
governed by his work; yet this democratic principle which is so
estimable in politics is taboo in industry. To begin with, there is no
such thing as a condition of equal opportunity in the industrial region.
Certain antecedent advantages of birth, possession, and education have
created a privileged class; and the rest are under a corresponding
handicap. There was a time when the ranker could rise out of the ranks
and make a field for himself; but in these days of trusts, combines,
chain-stores and the like, the opportunity of the ranker to quit the
ranks has dwindled almost to vanishing point. In the second place,
industry is under class government. The persons engaged in it are
divided into masters and servants, employers and employees; and the
hired man has hardly a word to say in determining the conditions of his
work. The only freedom he possesses lies in the choice of a master; and
even this, under the régime of large corporations, is steadily
disappearing. For the rest, he is confined to a choice between working
under conditions imposed by the employer and not working at all, which
means starvation. In industry there is a rule of privilege as real as
that of the old territorial aristocracy; and the modern practice of
investment has served to perpetuate this privilege within the bounds of
a single class by the simple operation of the accident of birth, just as
feudal landownership in another age became the foundation of
aristocratic power. The one qualification which requires to be made here
is that the concentration of large multitudes of workers in urban
centres, as the result of the machine industry, has enabled the workers
to join together in self-defence; and the Trade Union has to some extent
mitigated the insolence of plutocratic power.

The argument, however, does not end here. It proceeds to the analysis of
the causes of this privilege; and it finds it in the doctrine of
property-rights. It would take us too far afield to trace this doctrine
to its origins. Apparently the French thinkers who laid the train of the
Revolution believed that the “natural right” of property was the
necessary check upon the natural right of freedom; but they could not
foresee the developments of the Industrial Revolution. Otherwise it is
questionable whether they would have found the solution of their problem
so easy. For it is not open to argument that the presumed sanctity of
property rights has, under the conditions created by the Industrial
Revolution furnished the foundation of the modern capitalist order and
its corollaries. The capitalist owes his power to his possession of
property in the shape of industrial plant or of money. Yet it is plain
to anyone who analyses the position with any degree of realism that the
mere possession of a number of things should no more entitle or enable
an individual to lord it over his fellows than an inheritance of blue
blood. Nevertheless, in point of cold fact, that is the present
position; there is, however, a prospect that the divine right of
property may presently go the same way as the divine right of kings.

But it will go not under the pressure of a theory. It will disappear
under the strain of economic necessity. In England the proposal of a
“levy on capital” has been widely and seriously discussed. It is
asserted that it will be impossible to raise by taxation a revenue
sufficient to pay the interest on the war debt after providing for
indispensable national services; and there appears to be no way out of
this _impasse_ save by making a levy upon the accumulated wealth of the
country. A levy equal to the debt would require to take something like
two-fifths of the estimated total of the private capital. The methods by
which this might be done do not now concern us; nor does it matter very
much for our argument that the industrial and commercial magnates, and
the _ancien régime_ economists are declaiming vehemently against it.
Even the fact that the levy may not be carried out in the form now
advocated is not of great moment. What is important is that the serious
discussion evoked by the proposal has shown that the traditional
doctrine of property-rights is in liquidation. There has not been, so
far as the present writer has been able to discover, any lifting-up of
hands in horror at this suggestion of a sacrilegious invasion upon this
ancient sanctity; the discussion has been conducted on the plane of
expediency and utility. This marks a very considerable movement—for to
many, the Reform Bill of 1831 looked like the end of the world, since it
was (as a politician of the time said) “a maxim that every government
which tends to separate property from constitutional government must be
liable to perpetual revolution.”[3] Property was the chief cornerstone
of the social structure; and even as late as 1888, Lord Acton wrote to
Mr. Gladstone that he hears that “the skilled artisans of London are
hostile to the clergy but not to property,” which latter circumstance he
plainly regards as a sign of grace. Yet to-day, under the exigencies of
public need, it is seriously discussed whether the state should not lay
its hands on anything up to a half of the private wealth of the country.

Footnote 3:

  Quoted in Laski, _Problems of Sovereignty_, p. 70—note.

This is essentially a return to the view of a saner age. The mediæval
doctrine was that right in property was not absolute, but that it was of
the nature of a trust. This is the view that underlies the project of a
levy. Professor Hobhouse draws a distinction between “property for use”
and “property for power.” The right to possess property can hardly be
denied. It is essential to a man’s freedom and growth that he should
have absolute control over a certain number of things. But it should be
restricted to what is necessary for personal freedom and growth. A man
may have, that is, property for use but not for power. He may not have
so much property as would enable him to control or virtually to own the
life and labour of others. It is to some such doctrine of property as
this that the mind of progressive labour is tending. Property is in
prospect of socialisation; and perhaps only such socialised property
will in future be available as capital. Under economic pressure, the
doctrine of property is being ethicised; and to ethicise the doctrine is
simply to declare property to be wholly subordinate to social ends.

The first step in modern democracy was the socialisation of political
power; the second without which the first cannot be complete, will be
the socialisation of economic power.


We should, however, be deluding ourselves if we suppose that radical
economic change will of itself bring about the kind of world that we
want. The miscarriage which has followed political revolution in the
past may no less disastrously follow economic revolution. Economic
change is of itself powerless to secure us from the appearance of new
types of privilege; and there is not a little danger that the present
tendencies of some advanced thought may lead to bureaucratic government.
Between a proletarian bureaucracy and an industrial plutocracy there is
little to choose; and the tyranny of the expert may become as galling as
that of a despot. “In the socialistic presentment,” says Professor
Hobhouse, “the expert sometimes looks strangely like the powers that
be—in education for instance, a clergyman under a new title, in business
that very captain of industry who at the outset was the socialist’s
chief enemy. Be that as it may, as the expert comes to the front and
efficiency becomes the watchword of administration, all that was human
in socialism vanishes out of it. Its tenderness for the losers in the
race, its protests against class-tyranny, its revolt against commercial
materialism, all the sources of inspiration under which socialist
leaders have faced poverty and prison, are gone like a dream and instead
of them we have a conception of society as a perfect piece of machinery,
pulled by wires radiating from a single centre, and all men are either
experts or puppets. Humanity, Liberty, Justice are expunged from the
banner and the single word _efficiency_ replaces them.” This is, indeed,
a sufficiently dismal prospect, for which it is hardly worth while to
change our present state. It should be said, however, that this
particular peril is greatly minimised by the current emphasis upon
democratic control in industry. The danger remains real notwithstanding.
Nor is it the only danger inherent in a purely economic change. Indeed,
it may be questioned whether any economic change has elements of
permanence, while it is only economic.

The word _efficiency_ betrays the mind of the age which gave it its
current connotation. It was a machine-governed mind; and mechanistic
conceptions of life and progress are from the nature of the case
unfriendly to the democratic spirit. The appearance of the “efficiency
engineer” showed the low estate into which man had fallen—man made once
a little lower than the angels but now treated as a little lower than
the machine. The business of efficiency engineering was the closer
subordination of the man to the machine by methods alleged to be
scientific. Nothing could show more plainly than this does the absence
of that broad humanism which is the very breath of democracy; and even
the generous intention of the socialist ideal was vitiated by the
mechanistic character of socialist doctrine. Statecraft itself became an
affair of efficiency-engineering on a large scale; and the logic of the
mechanistic habit of thought reached its fine flower in the merciless
regimentation of the German people and the enthronement of the “Great
God Gun.” From this pernicious heresy, we may hopefully expect that
reflection on our war-experience may deliver us. Already there are
manifest signs of a reaction to a healthier and kindlier conception of
life and its meaning. The excessive and artificial centralisation of
power in the State is being challenged by a demand for the revival of
regional culture and such a redistribution of the functions of
government as a recognition of the “region” would require.[4] The
business of “unscrambling” the egg, will indeed be long and difficult;
but it is clear that any advance in the essential humanities is bound up
with a release of life from the artificial integrations forced upon it
by the machine civilisation. Mr. Delisle Burns has shown us that the
essential note of Greek life was its sociability;[5] and this is indeed
a pole to which normal human nature ever swings true. But in the Greek
city, sociability was vitiated and ultimately destroyed by the tragic
schism of a slave-system; while in modern civilisation it has been
poisoned by the dominion of the machine. The swamping of the “region” by
the state has enfeebled the natural social bonds of a less sophisticated
age; and somehow or other democracy must thread its way back to a
simpler and more spontaneous sociability. For the artificial synthesis
of “the individual and the state,” we must restore the natural order of
“myself and my neighbours.”

Footnote 4:

  Upon this subject, see _The Coming Polity_, by Geddes and Branford.
  (Williams and Norgate.)

Footnote 5:

  In his _Greek Ideals_.

But we have travelled so far from the simple amenities of the “region”
and our minds have become so sophisticated in artificial and mechanical
modernity that our recovery must begin in something akin to a spiritual
renewal, in a new perception of essential human values. Economic change
will not deliver us from the mechanistic obsession; and we shall only be
saved from the inherent dangers of economic change under present
conditions by a fresh recognition of the central principle of democracy.
That every soul has equal worth carries with it the corollary that
personality must be conceived as an end in itself and not merely as a
means. It is our quarrel with the Junker classes wherever we find them,
that they deliberately relegate large masses of their fellowmen into a
sub-human category. Democracy is the direct denial of this posture. It
affirms on the contrary that every man has a prescriptive right to stand
on his feet unashamed, and to have full opportunity to become the whole
man he may be. It ascribes to him certain liberties and a certain
inalienable status among his fellows; and the employer who regards his
men as “hands” denies democracy as directly as does the autocrat who
regards his subjects as serfs or cannonfodder. In other words, democracy
requires a specific type of personal relationship between men; and
perhaps, its troubles are chiefly due to the fact that while it preached
liberty and equality with no uncertain sound, it neglected to lay a
corresponding emphasis upon fraternity. In truth, democracy is beset
more perilously and more persistently by the inward enemy than the foe
without—the inner enemy that lurks in men’s souls. For though there be a
democrat in every man, there is also a potential aristocrat. The
ultimate battle-ground of the democratic ideal is in men’s hearts. After
the external enemies of democracy are defeated on land and on sea,
democracy will have to go on fighting for its life in our souls. In this
as in all things else, “the kingdom of heaven is within you.”

The personal practice of democracy is comparatively simple, as its
central doctrine is. The equal worth of souls does not of course imply
equal capacity; nor does the fact of unequal natural capacity do away
with the truth of equal worth. It simply indicates the kind of world we
live in. It is a world in which capacity is the measure not of worth but
of obligation; and the law of life is mutual service. In one of the very
few political allusions which Jesus made, He stated this point with much
plainness. “Ye know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them
and they that have authority over them are called ‘benefactors’” (as it
was in the beginning, and has been ever since, when autocrats and their
like have conceded to their subjects some fragment of the natural rights
of which they have despoiled them and then have posed as “benefactors,”
and when imperialists talk of conferring their peculiar _Kultur_ on the
“lesser breeds without the law”), “but,” said Jesus, “it shall not be so
among you. He that is greatest among you, let him be the servant of
all.” This is the authentic democratic spirit and the personal practice
without which democracy cannot live.

It is not enough to pay lip service to democratic ideals—the sanctity of
personality and the obligation of mutual service; or even to accept them
in a spirit of pious sentimentalism. That kind of thing is already
common enough. To the idealistic temper, we must attach the pragmatic
habit, and translate our doctrines into concrete programmes of
emancipation and co-operation. The city of God is not to be built with
good intentions. Fraternity must be rendered into a polity. Yet even
fraternity may perish in formality except it be sustained by a living
brotherliness. _It is the spirit that quickeneth._ Democracy like every
living thing must either grow or decay. If it stops at a political form
or an economic scheme, then it must decline and die. It is only as its
essential spirit captures our consciences and wills and its central
principle is consistently and continuously applied that it can survive
the perversity of our nature and the vicissitudes of history. It must
become a crusade and a holy war.


                              Chapter II.

    “The fundamental reform for which the times call is rather a
    reconsideration of the ends for which all civilised government
    exists, in a word, the return to a saner measure of social
    values.”—LORD MORLEY.

THE next stage in the realisation of the democratic ideal would appear
to be tolerably clear. We are moving toward an extension of the
democratic principle into the economic and industrial sphere; but is the
movement governed by an understanding of the goal we have in view? Are
we sure that our immediate policies are consistent with the “far gain”
which we should seek? Or are we to regard progress purely as a somewhat
blind experimental affair, largely beyond control? We are obviously
moving—somewhere; the movement indeed promises to be an improvement. But
are there any tests which can be applied to it in order that we may
satisfy ourselves that the course we are on will land us safely in port?


Mr. Thorstein Veblen has rendered an important service to this
generation by showing how the technology of the machine industry has
invaded our minds and led us to an almost exclusive pre-occupation with
_processes_. It is this intellectual bias which explains—at least in
great part—our complete capitulation to the Darwinian hypothesis and
accounts for the way in which we have pressed it out of its proper
sphere to furnish clues in religion, history, and ethics—regions in
which there are factors to be considered which are not included among
the data of the doctrine of biological evolution. Here also is the
explanation of the wide acceptance of the pragmatist philosophy.
Pragmatism is indeed the characteristic philosophy of the machine-age;
its postulate “that truth is what works” is clearly derived from the
engine-shop, where efficiency is the only rule. Generally it may also be
said that it is this mechanistic attention to processes which accounts
for the importance and omnicompetency ascribed to the still juvenile
science of psychology; and this is particularly true of the application
of psychology and psychological method to the problems of sociology.

Psychology is the fruit of the application of the scientific method to
mental processes; its subject matter consists of the observable
phenomena of mind. Its application to sociology has produced an almost
exclusive concentration on social functions; and while this has
important uses, it does not furnish us with the clue we need to our
sociological tasks. Mental functions, whether of the individual or of
society, cannot be treated in the same way as chemical reactions.
Chemical reactions are predetermined and invariable; human functions are
dirigible. Those functions which ultimately govern and sustain human
activity and determine human character are directed to more or less
sharply recognised and chosen ends. It is indeed true that many of the
processes which are concerned in the movement of life are, as Mr. Cooley
has pointed out, unconscious and seemingly impersonal, such as those
which account for the growth of tradition and the variations of
language. Nevertheless, as Mr. Cooley himself very excellently shows in
his illustration of the growth of a book in its author’s mind, even
these unconscious and involuntary processes fall into line with a
definitely fixed purpose of the mind.[6] The problem of sound social
integration is not merely an affair of processes operating properly. For
human powers may function, at least for a time, in a normal way even
while they are being directed to mischievous and perverse ends. Modern
Germany supplies an instance of unexampled attention to social
processes; but it is not open to question that all this has been
directed to a perverse and immoral end, and has (as the event has shown)
culminated in catastrophe and confusion. Just so a man’s intellect may
operate brilliantly; yet the man himself may be a thief. Psychology may
claim that its business is a disinterested study of processes; and the
claim is justly made. But the same claim cannot be made for sociology.
The sociologist may indeed claim that he too is a scientist; and that
his science like every other is empirical and not teleological. But the
two claims are not parallel. Psychology deals with an _opus operatum_,
the actual concrete mind as it is; whereas the assumption which
underlies all sociology is that it is handling an _opus operandum_, a
work still to be done, the production of a living and wholesome society.
The teleological interest is necessarily supreme. This does not mean
that sociology has not its empirical aspects; of course, it has; and
these aspects are all important for the construction of a sound
sociology. But we shall produce a mere torso of sociology if we suppose
we can ignore the problem of ends. The relation of psychology to
sociology is of much the same character as its relation to education or
the relation of physiology to public health.

Footnote 6:

  Charles Horton Cooley, _Social Process_, p. 16.

It is probable, moreover, that the obscuration of this question of ends
has been helped by the modern acceptance of the doctrine of progress.
This in its turn appears to be mainly due to the application of the
principle of evolution to human affairs. We have supposed that because
living nature shows a process of development, the life of man is also
necessarily governed by a law of predestined progress, from worse to
better, from the simple to the more complex. The result of this
evolutionary view of human affairs has been to make the study of ends
appear impertinent. The ends are already determined; why then trouble
ourselves about them? It is true that we do not know whither this _vis a
tergo_ is propelling us; the only thing we can do, therefore, is to
study the processes by which it works as we see them in operation in
men’s minds, whether the single or the mass mind. We shall observe them,
duly record them, and contemplate them in a spirit of detachment,
without concerning ourselves overmuch with their destination. But it is
now too late in the day to suppose that this attitude can be seriously
maintained. The area of the margin of human freedom may be a subject of
controversy; but it is impossible to take seriously the kind of
determinism which denies the possibility of directing human action to
deliberately chosen ends. The actual range of our control over our
actions may be limited; but within those limits it is very real. And in
any case it does not require to be very much to make the evolution
hypothesis of very doubtful validity as an interpretation of the whole
life of man.[7]

Footnote 7:

  For a concise statement of the philosophical argument against a
  doctrine of progress based upon biological evolution, see Bertrand
  Russell, _Mysticism and Logic_, pp. 105, 106.

Sociology must concern itself with ends; and it must do so at its own
beginnings. If this means that it has to forfeit its claim to a strictly
scientific status, so be it. There is no virtue in replying that the
question of ends is an affair of speculation and hypothesis. That is
indeed true; but it cannot be helped. We are compelled to speculate
concerning ends since there is no other way of reaching a conception of
them. And there is no harm in speculation so long as it starts from the
soundest available premises, and its conclusions are not hardened into
dogma. Sociology will hardly rise above an academic futility until it
abandons its obsession to rank as a pure science and makes bold to
define however tentatively the goal toward which social processes should
be directed. Let it by all means make its surveys and collate its
statistics unremittingly; but these things it ought to do and not to
leave the other undone.


Yet it becomes plain, immediately we begin to discuss this question of
ends, that if we exclude definitely religious considerations from the
argument, we cannot indicate an end that has the character of a real
end, that is, an absolute ultimacy. It is indeed questionable how far
even the religious postulate directly provides the conception of an end,
except to the comparatively small company of people who are strongly
mystical by nature. The Shorter Catechism taught us that the chief end
of man was to seek God and to glorify Him for ever, but to most of us
this brings not information but bewilderment; and Mr. Kipling’s paradise
where the painter “draws the thing as he sees it for the God of things
as they are” is attractive but elusive. The truth appears to be that for
the multitude of religiously disposed persons, the sense of God becomes
effectual for conduct only as it dramatises itself in the form of a
social vision or a personal relationship; and the ascendency of Jesus in
the Christian tradition is explained by the power He has possessed of
inviting that unreserved personal loyalty through which the sense of God
assumes reality for common men. Such a phrase as “the glory of God”
describes not our knowledge but our ignorance. All the content which can
intelligibly be given to it is that there is an ideal end toward which
we are called to move. This, however, does not mean that it is barren of
immediate effect on conduct. We know that throughout history it has had
the power to evoke a supreme disinterestedness in people who have been
sensitive to it. It is, of course, akin to what Mr. Benjamin Kidd calls
“the emotion of the ideal;” and it is related closely to the
characteristic poetic anticipation and hope expressed in such passages
as Tennyson’s in which he speaks of the “one far-off divine event to
which the whole creation moves.”

But disinterestedness and “the emotion of the ideal,” while they are
essential to any kind of healthy social existence afford but slender
foundation for a positive social policy. No moral attitude or emotion
will carry us far except it be evoked by an ideal which can dramatise
itself in terms of a more or less achievable undertaking. We are
therefore compelled to relinquish the hope of a definition of absolute
social ends, and must be content with something more modest and
manageable. We may at least attempt to indicate certain proximate social
aims. Even if we cannot hopefully describe the ultimate goal of life, we
may reasonably endeavour to answer the question—What do we want our
social organisation to produce? Just what results are we to aim at? That
some such discussion as this is involved in any fruitful handling of the
question of social integration is clear from the fact that the
conception of an aim is either implicit or explicit in all attempts to
formulate a social polity ever since Aristotle defined the aim of the
Republic as the promotion of the good life. But this definition, like
Mill’s “greatest good of the greatest number” raises further
questions—What is the nature of the good? What is the characteristic
note and quality of the good life? This indeed takes us to the very
centre of our problem; for at last the controversy between the
militarist and the pacifist, the protectionist and the free-trader, the
authoritarian and the libertarian, springs from differing conceptions of
the good life. This is not to say that either party has worked out a
reasoned conviction on the point. Both appear to start from certain
instinctive acceptances, determined largely by temperamental
variations,—which points to the need of a rigorously rationalistic
exploration of this entire region. Mr. Graham Wallace speaks of “the
organisation of happiness”; but as he himself perceives, he is speaking
in paradox. It seems in any case improbable that our social aims can be
defined in terms of an emotional state.


A good deal of confusion has been introduced into this subject by a
tendency to regard society itself as an end. In much modern thought upon
the matter, the individual is conceived as attaining his own end through
his due contribution to the life of the group. The extreme development
of this view is to be found in the German doctrine of the state, a
doctrine which prevails in more or less perfection wherever the Hegelian
philosophy has struck its roots.[8] On this view, the individual has
neither function nor end which is not to be expressed in terms of his
own personal subordination to the state. He is a cog in the wheel, and
no more. The modern dogma of progress has reinforced this view to some
extent; as has also the obsession of _size_, which is one of the
by-products of our extended knowledge of the physical universe and which
has had the effect of minimising the significance of the single life.
But whatever the causes to which this view is attributable, its
influence on sociological thought is beyond question. It has been
assumed, with varying explicitness, that the supra-personal end which
the individual is to serve is to be identified with the social group to
which he belongs. It is his appointed purpose to minister to the
happiness of the group or to increase its efficiency as a military or
economic unit.

Footnote 8:

  The devout Hegelian who dislikes the Prussian doctrine of the state is
  nowadays at some pains to explain that Hegel’s view of the state does
  not cohere quite congruously with the rest of his philosophy.

(_a_) It may be urged against this view that the antithesis which it
implies between the individual and the group is fallacious. For the
group is composed of individuals and it cannot have a conscious end
except in the minds of the individuals who compose it. There is a degree
of truth in speaking of the “personality” of a group so long as the
analogy is not pressed too far. A group may have a common thought and
may unite in a collective act; but to say that a group has a definite
“personality” of its own is to carry the process of abstraction too far.
A group attains to consciousness only in the several minds of its
members. Moreover social ends must take shape in individual lives. That
the individual should serve a social end is true; it is equally true
that the social aim must be achieved in the character and experience of
individuals. For if they are not realised in persons, where shall they
be realised? If our ultimate social aims do not become effective in the
single life, they remain mere abstractions, existing only in a
speculative thought and never reaching the point of actuality. But it
serves us as little to insist on the converse of this view and to assert
that the end of society is the individual. The truth would rather appear
to be that the individual is to reach his own end in and through a
society which it is his first business to create. Personal
self-realisation and social integration will proceed _pari passu_. The
individual and the group will find themselves in each other; the great
soul and the great society will arrive together. But from the nature of
the case, we must seek the clue to the character of right social aims
through a study of personality, and of what is involved in its

(_b_) A further objection to this view is that it subordinates
personality to aims that are limited and sectional. In practice it may
make good Germans, but almost certainly it cannot make good men. While
it is better for a man to serve the narrowest social group than to serve
his self-regard, yet the exclusiveness of the social group as it is
identified with the state or the nation is hostile to that increasing
social integration which is implied in a self-consistent sociology. The
current conceptions of the state and the nation must undergo some
revision if they are to be made congruous with a fruitful social polity.
The nation represents a stage in the social education of the race, in
that discipline whereby the caveman grows into a citizenship of the
world; and in no sense can the nation be ethically regarded as
constituting an adequate end for the individual, except as the nation in
its turn is consciously seeking its own end in the service of the whole.

It is true that men have in the past generally regarded the glory and
the power of their particular group as an end which has the right to
command their absolute devotion, and have believed that to suffer death
in such a cause is the highest conceivable self-realisation. This does
indeed represent a much higher ethical plane than that on which a man
fights only for his own hand or the tiny circle of his blood kindred.
But the fact that this loyalty to his group has had the power to evoke
the highest possible sacrifice, does not prove that the glory and the
power of the group provides a full and valid end for him as a man. In
his character as German or Englishman, it may appear to provide him with
an end to which he may properly submit himself without reserve; but it
is questionable whether he can do so without some sacrifice of his
possibilities and obligations as a man. The propaganda of Germanism
produced very efficient and docile Germans; but the records of the war
leave us little room to doubt that the process has had a mischievous
effect upon their manhood. From the standpoint of an expanding society
polity, education should produce individuals who are human before they
are national. There is no system of national education which achieves
this result; but the ultimate logic of the prevailing educational
tradition as we see it in the German conduct of the war should provoke
serious misgivings and minister to a change of heart in those persons
who direct the policies of public education.

(_c_) It is worth observing in this connection that even in Germany the
Germanic propaganda had to trick itself out in a pseudo-universal
jargon. It had to say large-sounding things about a _Kultur-mission_ to
the world in order to validate itself in the eyes of the German people.
The claim implied in the _Kultur-mission_ as it was commonly expounded
is so preposterous as to be self-refuting to a normal mind; but this
systematic diffusion of the idea proves that man has reached a point
where the power and wealth of a particular group is no longer able by
itself to evoke an effectual response in the individuals who compose the
group. The fact is that civilised mankind is slowly learning to think in
universal terms. Its social grasp is already faintly embracing the whole

This circumstance tends to simplify the sociologist’s task very
materially. While the application of the polity which he evolves will
require to take account of the peculiar traditions and institutions of
different groups, he will be free to work out his polity in terms which
are independent of the present exclusive and conflicting aims of the
groups which compose the world of man. He will state the ultimate
problems of society in Germany in the same terms as he will state those
in America; for he will necessarily be dealing with the one factor which
is common to both. There cannot be a distinctive social science in
Germany and another in America, differing from one another in essentials
and both at the same time being true. There will be endless variety in
the methods by which social principles are applied by different groups;
for we cannot write off the past of a people and the institutions in
which its history is embodied. Yet there can be no true sociology in
England or in Germany unless its postulates are equally valid in
America. In other words these postulates must be drawn from a
disinterested study of personality. They will not concern themselves
with the welfare of a particular group, in whatever terms that welfare
may be defined. But they will be concerned with the good of the world of
groups because they are derived from the one fact which is common to and
underlies them all, and which, despite conflicting aims still binds
human groups together in a permanent unity, namely, personality.


The aims of our social polity must, therefore, be defined congruously
with the nature of personality; and the corresponding social processes
must validate themselves by bringing to those whom they affect, the
sense of movement towards a real and recognisable personal good. It does
not require that all the individuals composing a society should organise
their common life with the conscious and deliberate aim of personal
self-realisation; but it is certain that the processes of a genuine
social integration will be accompanied by a certain growing emotional
satisfaction in the persons concerned. It is generally assumed that this
emotional satisfaction is to be described as _happiness_; but it is
probably something deeper and more organic than the state which this
word connotes. Professor Dewey says that “to find out what one is fitted
to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key of
happiness.”[9] This is, of course, true so far as it goes; but it is
symptomatic of the inadequate analysis which this point generally
receives. Obviously there are possibilities of self-realisation and
personal satisfaction far beyond the attainment which Professor Dewey
indicates in this sentence. We might, perhaps, find a better definition
of the emotional state which we should require our process of social
development to produce, in the New Testament use of the word _joy_.
There the word is clearly associated with an emotional state consequent
upon a sense of accomplishment or discovery. The golfer experiences it
for a passing moment after a completely successful drive from the tee.
The artist knows it more durably as he puts the finishing touch to what
he believes to be his masterpiece. Gibbon had it (not without a large
tincture of self-admiration) on the memorable evening on which he
finished the “Decline and Fall.” It is the condition which is described
by the word “fruition;”[10] the inward reaction evoked by the sense of
arrival, of fulfilment, and of course—derivatively—of being surely on
the way. It comes to a man when he knows he is on the road to personal

Footnote 9:

  _Democracy and Education_, p. 360.

Footnote 10:

  This word is so frequently mishandled that it is perhaps necessary to
  point out that it does not mean _bearing fruit._ It is derived from
  the Latin word _fruor_, _I enjoy_; and it describes an inward state.

  Illustrative of the New Testament use of the word _joy_, the following
  passages may be cited: John ii. 30, “_This my joy is made full_”
  (spoken by John Baptist on hearing that Jesus was launched on the full
  tide of His ministry.) John xvi. 21, “... when she is delivered of the
  child, she remembereth no more the anguish for joy that a man is born
  unto the world.” Matt. xiii. 14, “In his joy, he goeth and selleth all
  that he hath” (the merchant man who has found the pearl of great
  price). Luke xv. 9, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that
  was lost.”

It is upon the question of what constitutes personal completeness that
we have to reach some kind of conclusion if our sociological thinking is
to be fruitful and if we are to have the proper tests to apply to our
social programmes. Obviously the society we want to produce is one which
will provide the conditions under which every man may rise to the full
stature of his manhood. But what is the full-grown man? Apparently the
only person in the modern world who has possessed a definite and vivid
conception of the full-grown man is Nietzsche. But Nietzsche’s doctrine
is ruled out by our democratic hypothesis. He has told us that mankind
falls into two broad classes of master and slave, and though he
recognises a considerable hierarchy of social grades, he sees,
nevertheless, at the one end the ruling class, and at the other “the
class of man who thrives best when he is looked after and closely
observed, the man who is happy to serve not because he must, but because
he is what he is, the man uncorrupted by political and religious lies
concerning liberty, equality and fraternity, who is half conscious of
the abyss which separates him from his superiors, and who is happiest
when he is performing those acts which are not beyond his
limitations.”[11] Obviously the only kind of society possible on the
Nietzschean terms is an armed peace between supermen and “slave
morality” for the rest. The will to power soon or late issues in
anarchy. The strength of the position of Nietzsche lies in the theoretic
justification it provides for the native human bias which leads to the
quest of personal ascendency, and the struggle for possession. The
result of this tendency has been the constant subordination and
exploitation of the weak by the strong, and a ceaseless scrimmage among
the strong in which the weak are the pawns; and if this struggle has not
brought about the Nietzschean equilibrium, it is due, presumably, to the
enervating influence of Christianity. Yet, here, in this self-regarding
bias we have the original source of all our social chaos; but the
disorder is not to be overcome by inhibiting this impulse. It is
sometimes supposed that human nature is incurably and permanently
self-regarding and anarchic; but this is not true. It is indeed true
that human nature does take easily to the practice of self-assertion as
against others; this is the penalty of our inheritance from the “ape and
the tiger.” But it is mere folly to suppose that man has to carry this
sorrowful entail in perpetuity. It is fastened on him largely by reason
of the external circumstances of his life, a vicious social heredity
which has put a premium upon power and pushfulness, and an atmosphere of
competition in which capacity and cunning win the prize. It is, however,
not impossible to communicate to men a social vision which is able to
divert the natural energies of the human spirit into more generous
channels. This, did they but know it, is the peculiar vocation of the
preacher and the teacher.

Footnote 11:

  A. M. Ludovici, _Nietszche_, pp. 85f.

Mr. Bertrand Russell has recently laid just emphasis upon the supremacy
of impulse in determining human conduct; and has pointed out the
distinction between impulses which make for life and those which make
for death. William Blake had a somewhat similar view. What Blake in “The
Marriage of Heaven and Hell” calls _energy_ appears to be that vital
stress which expresses itself in our impulses, and which in the form of
“poetic” energy is the source of creative art. In Blake’s psychology,
this _energy_ only works out healthily and fruitfully when it is
co-ordinated on the one side with Reason and on the other by Desire; and
he traces our human troubles to an undue ascendency of one or other of
these two balancing principles. When Reason prevails over Desire, it
imposes disastrous restraint upon energy; but when the tables are
turned, the ascendency of Desire leads to the “vegetated life.” Blake’s
analysis has much to commend it; and it appears to supply the necessary
complement to Mr. Russell’s. For our impulses, whether they make for
life or death are the same impulses—the difference in their result
springing from a difference in their direction, and in the conditions
under which they operate.

The old psychological analysis of the mind into will, intellect,
affections, and so forth has served its turn; and for purposes of social
building we must betake ourselves rather to an analysis of Blake’s
_energy_ or Mr. Russell’s _impulses_. M. Bergson has shown us how the
“_elan vitale_” has in the course of its onward march split up again and
again, and in so doing has set afoot new lines of development and
variation; and we have for result the infinite wealth of plant and
animal form which fills the earth. The primitive urge of life was
seemingly a bundle of tendencies, which were released, one at this
point, and another at that, under the stress of the circumstances
encountered on the way. In the same way the _energy_, the vital stress
of personality is an organic complex of impulses, each of which has
released and shaped itself conformably to the conditions in which the
human spirit has found itself in the process of growth. In this complex
of impulses, it is possible to discern three main strands:

1. _The Impulse of Self-preservation._ This has to do with the desire
and purpose to maintain life; and its primitive form was determined by
the necessity of procuring food, clothing and shelter. Its
characteristic activity was that of discovering and adapting the means
which were available to the end of sustaining life; and out of this grew
agriculture, weaving, housebuilding and a range of operations which grew
in number and elaboration as the requirements of life increased. Here is
the origin of what Mr. Veblen has called _the Instinct of Workmanship_.

2. _The Impulse of Reproduction._ This in its elemental form expresses
itself in the begetting of children. But as man became more familiar
with the objects round about him, in the course of handling them for the
ends of self-preservation, this impulse became associated with the
instinct of workmanship, and man began to attempt to reproduce himself
in other media than his flesh. He came to do certain work which was not
required by the exigencies of his physical subsistence; and this work he
did—as it were—for the joy of doing it. He attempted to express himself
upon such materials as were capable of receiving his impress; and his
delight in his handicraft became the beginning of Art. Presently he
learnt to set line and colour and sound in combinations that pleased
him, and in which he was conscious of the joy of fatherhood. This is
_the Instinct of Creativeness_. It is not always perceived that there is
a very profound distinction to be drawn between the workmanlike and the
creative activities. Miss Helen Marot appears to assume (in her book
_The Creative Impulse in Industry_), that a democratic form of
co-operation, and an understanding of industrial processes will satisfy
the creative instinct in industry. It is difficult to see how this can
happen under the conditions of the modern large-scale machine industry.
Miss Marot rightly insists that the creative impulse is not merely an
affair of individual self-expression. Nevertheless, it is only possible
to a group when the group is comparatively small, and every member is in
active touch with the whole process. The instinct of workmanship is of a
routine productive character, the instinct of creativeness is original
and _reproductive_. Nothing on this earth can make our highly
specialised machine processes into opportunities of self-expression.
This, however, does not mean that the machine industry has no place in
the future social order.

3. _The Impulse of Association._—Man has always lived with men; and
there is perhaps nothing so distinctive of human nature as its faculty
for association. We are so made that we only find ourselves and each
other as we live together in societies, that we only find ourselves as
we find one another. The exchanges of love and friendship, the riches of
fellowship—these are the most fruitful experiences of life. “We are
members of one another”; and are fulfilled in each other. Our mutual
need has released in us _the Instinct of Sociability_.

The weakness of this kind of analysis is that it appears to untwine
threads that cannot be untwined in practice and never are separated in
experience. Human instincts do not operate independently; they blend
into each other continuously and inextricably in countless ways. We have
seen how the reproductive impulse fused with the instinct of workmanship
into an impulse toward creative art. But the debt has been repaid in the
introduction of requirements of beauty into the exercise of workmanship.
In the era of craftsmanship, the two impulses were very intimately
blended, workmanship and creativeness going hand in hand in the erection
of stately minsters, or in the making of harness for the squire’s
horses. It is due to the development of the machine that these two
impulses have been so widely parted in our time, to the immense injury
of both; and it is one of the tasks, perhaps the chief of the tasks,
facing us in the future to restore them to something of their old-time
intimacy. Of this restoration, the great modern prophet is William
Morris, who saw hope neither for the worker nor for the artist except in
a closer association of industry with beauty, and who laid the
foundation of this revived association by his own pioneer work as a
house-decorator. This does not require, as some suppose, the scrapping
of the machine industry, even though that were possible; it only
requires that we understand the true place of the machine industry and
put it there. Similarly, the instinct of sociability coalesced with
those of workmanship and creativeness. The signal instance of this
combination is to be found in the spirit of the mediæval Guilds; but
there are other instances in plenty. Most of the great human
achievements in thought, religion and art, have had a social origin, in
schools of philosophers and prophets, in groups of artists and the like,
and conversely new departures in thought, religion and art have become
the _foci_ of new groups.

Of all this the moral would seem to be that we must treat the _energy_
of personality, its characteristic outgoing, as a single undivided
indivisible stream; yet we must recognise it also as a stream containing
a certain range of ingredients. Therefore, what we shall require of our
ideal society is that it shall generate an atmosphere and an environment
in which the constituent ingredients of personal _energy_ shall find
opportunity of full, co-ordinated and parallel development. It will be a
society in which the instinct of workmanship, creativeness and
sociability will grow side by side and hand in hand toward “the perfect
man, of the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

Of this society then, we may say, that its marks will be that first
every man shall have the opportunity of a secure and sufficient physical
subsistence, second, that its work will press upward to the plane of
art, and that its sociability will grow into vital and purposeful
fellowship. By these tests we shall judge the soundness of democratic

Our analysis has hitherto taken account only of the common man without
reference to natural divergencies of genius or capacity. Professor
Geddes has lately been emphasising Comte’s doctrine of history as an
interplay of the temporal and spiritual powers, and his classification
of the four Social types—Chiefs, People, Emotionals and Intellectuals.
Mr. Arnold Bennett found men on the Clyde sorting themselves out into
Organisers, Workers, Energisers and Initiators, which classification, as
Professor Geddes justly points out, corresponds closely to Comte’s.
These types, however, reduce themselves to two, namely those chiefly
animated by the impulse of action, and those chiefly animated by the
impulse of reflection. Of course, these types shade off imperceptibly
into one another, because the impulses which give them their peculiar
colour are native to and present in universal human nature. And while it
is certain that nature will see to it that mankind will be delivered
from the doom of a dead uniformity, it is nevertheless necessary that we
should aim at the full development of both the active and reflective
impulses in every man. Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets!
Hitherto, we have considered man as actuated mainly by the impulse of
action; but the release and development of the _impulse of reflection_
is essential to the growth of society. For the experience which is the
sequel of action is condemned to sterility except it be reflected upon.
Reflection upon experience is the appointed guide of further action. We
must, therefore, add to our tests of sound democratic progress, a
fourth, namely, that it shall be of a kind to stimulate and encourage
reflection. It must, that is, include a method of education whereby
every man shall as far as possible become capable of independent thought
and sound judgment.

Out of all this emerges immediately one certain conclusion. The kind of
society which encourages creative self-expression, independent judgment
and a living expanding fellowship must necessarily be conceived and
created in freedom. For to these essential human impulses, freedom is
the very breath of life. The initial problem of sociology is, therefore,
the achievement of freedom; upon that foundation, and that only, can it
build for eternity.


                              Chapter III.
                         THE PECUNIARY STANDARD

    “The deeper cause of the oppression of the factory operative and of
    the terrible degradation and pauperisation of the agricultural
    labourer, was not the mere fact that machines were invented which
    multiplied the efficiency of labour, but the previous
    monopolisation, in the period of the Renaissance and the
    Reformation, and during the earlier part of the eighteenth century,
    of the land and of education. The great change then took place in
    the current philosophy of life, which made the whole of the
    governing classes of England, with exceptions practically
    negligible, accept with avidity the idea merely more clearly
    formulated by political economists, that the highest duty of man was
    to buy in the cheapest and sell in the dearest market.”

                                                         PATRICK GEDDES.


THE saying that “man shall not live by bread alone” has been in familiar
circulation so long and on authority so good that it is remarkable how
slightly it has affected the general conduct of life. Bread and the
things symbolised by bread in the saying are and must remain the first
care of men, but they are first only in the sense of being preliminary,
the necessary conditions of the main and supreme business of life. Yet
modern civilisation as a whole has shown no manifest sign of a
conception of life which requires that the chief interest and energy of
men should be directed to ends of a higher order than that of
maintaining physical existence. This fact is to some extent obscured
from us by the elaborate development of commercial organisation, so that
multitudes of men are engaged in enterprises and vocations apparently so
removed from the actual business of clothing, feeding and housing other
men that they are not aware of being connected with it at all. Yet the
entire structure of commerce rests upon the requirement that certain
primary physical needs of men must be met. That men shall be fed,
clothed, sheltered, provided with heat and light,—here is the source of
commerce. Around these primary needs certain other demands have
gathered—for elaboration in food and clothing, comfort in the home, and
the like; and a multitude of commercial activities of a secondary kind
have been set afoot and added to the sufficiently complex business of
providing society with the first necessities of life. This secondary
life of commerce is mainly parasitical and feeds upon the other, and its
vitality depends as much upon the success with which demands are
ingeniously created as upon the power to produce the supply profitably.
Added to this vast business of production is an enormous machinery of
distribution; and in these or in financial operations, originally
derived from them but now largely controlling them, we are all more or
less directly engaged. There are a few professional occupations which
remain outside this classification, which (to use Carlyle’s phrase) “are
boarded and lodged on the industry” of the community to which they
belong,—the doctor, the clergyman, the lawyer, the teacher, the actor,
the artist, the journalist; yet so strong and imperious is the
commercial tradition that the non-productive vocations are required to
justify their existence by providing the inspiration, the health, the
recreation and the knowledge necessary to the effectual and prosperous
working of the economic machine. Society seems (outside the “leisure
class”) feverishly engaged in keeping itself alive.

Yet if its only purpose were to keep itself alive, it would not need to
be so busy. But to the first impulse of production and exchange has been
added another interest, that of making profit and accumulating wealth.
In the process of exchange the opportunity was found of securing a
margin of personal advantage; and gradually this margin of personal
advantage has become the chief incentive to commercial enterprise. It
does not belong to our purpose to trace the history of this change; it
is enough that we should observe the fact that the profit-seeking motive
has become the real driving force of modern commerce, and that
historical circumstances, such as the introduction of large scale
processes, the world-wide ramifications of commerce through improved
facilities of travel and transportation, the invention of the telephone
and the telegraph, the growth of trusts, combines, and monopolies have
made possible fabulous increments and accumulations of profit.[12]

Footnote 12:

  For an analysis of the process by which simple barter has grown into
  the modern intricate system of commerce, with its fine flower in “big
  finance,” see Thorstein Veblen, _The Instinct of Workmanship_, chap.
  V., VI., VIII. More summarily in Geddes and Slater, _Ideas at War_,
  Chap. III., IV., V. For a useful analysis of the current commercial
  organisation see Cole, _Self-Government in Industry_, pp. 178, 179.

The effect of this upon a generation habituated to the profit-making
temper has been to set up the multi-millionaire as the type of
perfection toward which aspiring youth should be encouraged to strive.
We go into business not to feed and clothe each other, but to make
money; and since from the nature of the case only comparatively few of
us have the capacity and the opportunity to become commercial supermen,
the rest of us remain in business to feed and clothe ourselves, or (as
we say) to “make a living.” Commerce, which owes its origin to social
need, has almost wholly lost the social motive. If we are not making
money ourselves, we hire ourselves out as the money-making tools of
others; and while some of us aim at larger profits, the rest of us hope
for larger wages. The economic motive is universal, and it expresses
itself exclusively in the pecuniary standard. “The Almighty Dollar” is
more than a gratuitous exercise in satire, it describes the spirit of an

Much has been heard since the war began of the profiteer, on both sides
of the Atlantic, and on both sides of the quarrel. But the profiteer is
not a phenomenon peculiar to war-time. Like the poor, he is always with
us; the war has but served to reveal him more vividly in his proper
character. His peculiar crime is that he makes the extremity of his
country the opportunity of private gain. But what he does in time of
war, he does no less sedulously in time of peace. His sin takes a deeper
dye in war-time because the national need is greater, and his
opportunity is much enlarged. Yet the story of how “big business” has
endeavoured, and has largely succeeded in the endeavour to control the
legislative machinery of the nations in its own interests in normal
times, is a very deplorable and shameful chapter in modern history. It
is, of course, no new thing that legislatures should show themselves
tender to economic interests; there is even yet no legislature in the
world which is not more careful of the rights of property than of the
welfare of men—except, perhaps, in Russia. By a curious paradox, those
who most jealously guarded the sanctities of property, were once the
implacable critics of commercial enterprise, but that phase has passed
away. Landed aristocracies, no less than bourgeois manufacturers, have
been so seduced by the lure of large and swift gain that the old line of
demarcation has disappeared; and the doctrine of property rights has
been invoked to secure the sanctity of the capitalist system of
industry. The “governing classes” in Europe and America, who to-day are
the economically powerful, have become an unholy alliance which exploits
the state in the interests of trade. It is not the English brewers and
publicans only who say, “our trade, our politics,” though these
particular people may be the only ones who have the effrontery to say so
in public. It is always the profiteer’s cry; and whenever in the past a
piece of social legislation has been introduced in England, he raises
the scare cry that “capital will leave the country,” which simply means
that he esteems his profits more highly than he does his country. He is
the author of the inspiring doctrine that “trade follows the flag”;
which prostitutes national idealism to the sordid business of
profiteering; and so deeply has this poison entered into our life that
Christian missions to the non-Christian world are frequently commended
on the ground that they do pioneering work for the trader.

All this is, of course, trite and commonplace; and ever since the early
part of the nineteenth century there has been a continuous and
increasing note of protest against the modern commercial doctrine of
competitive profit-making. It must, however, be admitted that the
protest has not gained much headway against the evil; on the contrary
the evil has, during this same period, grown by leaps and bounds, so
that the earlier twentieth century witnessed its supreme achievements.
Mr. John D. Rockefeller is the tragical culmination of the process in
our generation; and there is no reason to suppose that he is the last,
or greatest figure of the line of Crœsus. Nor will the subordination of
life to the business of pecuniary gain be effectually stayed until we
seriously take in hand the profiteering ideology which governs all our
thought and conduct. The main ingredient in the social heredity of this
generation is the profit-making impulse; that is the atmosphere which it
has breathed and which constitutes its habitual universe of discourse.
Art and religion alike have been infected with the spirit; the current
repute of an artist is fixed by the prices which his pictures command;
and the prosperity of a Christian congregation is judged by its
statistical returns. It is required of education that it shall minister
primarily to commercial efficiency; and the outcry against the study of
the classics, and the demand for a more exclusively scientific and
technical education reflect the essentially commercial orientation of
our educational outlook. It is, perhaps, the most deplorable aspect of
this latter tendency that it so often becomes vocal in persons whose
academic training should have provided them with a more discriminating
view of life. Even in the universities, which should be the impregnable
citadels of spiritual idealism, there is an inclination to capitulate to
the monstrous and deadly doctrine that the end of national life is
commercial supremacy.

Commerce originated in social need and should be a social service; nor
indeed has its perversion to profit-making prevented it from rendering
substantial services to society. Apart from its provision of the
necessities of life, many of its inventions have added much to the
wealth of life independently of their immediate purposes. The unique
facilities for travel which we moderns enjoy owe their origins in the
first instance to the demand for better commercial transport.
Stephenson’s first locomotive was intended to haul coal trucks. The
increasing socialisation of life in our time owes much to the economic
motive that has popularised the telegraph and the telephone; and the
supreme achievement of Mr. Henry Ford is not a miracle of standardised
production, but the contribution which his car has made to the
socialisation of the farmer’s life. Our knowledge of the earth’s surface
and its peoples, and through this, one of the foundations of the coming
internationalism, we owe greatly to the enterprise of the trader. For a
hundred great services beyond its ministry to the elementary human needs
of food and clothing, we are debtors to commerce and to those merchant
venturers in many ages who laid its broad modern foundations. Yet just
because we acknowledge a manifest debt even to profiteering commercial
enterprise, it is the more necessary that we should assail its modern
ascendency over life, and its own perversion to individual aims, and
point out the havoc which its more modern developments have wrought. It
would be foolish and undiscriminating to say that it is the sole source
of our social confusion, but it is simple truth to say that it has
become its chief direct occasion; and the result is to be traced to the
circumstances which have changed commerce from its essential function as
a great social service to a scramble for private gain. The restoration
of commerce to its own proper place and office is bound up with a
recovery of a true view of life as a whole, with a new understanding of
those things other and greater than bread by which it is ordained that
men shall live.


The paramountcy of the economic motive is no modern phenomenon, and it
would be a mistake to identify it exclusively with the modern commercial
civilisation. Its modern beginnings are no doubt to be found in the
appearance of the small merchant class in the era of craftsmanship; and
the difference between him and the merchant prince of the twentieth
century is mainly a difference of scale—this difference being chiefly
due to the high mobility of property when it assumes the form of money,
and the increased facilities for mobilising it through the development
of the credit system and the improvement in the means of communication.
The fundamental impulses and instincts which determine the social order
are broadly identical throughout history. That is why Marx’ economic
interpretation of history is probably the most luminous and fruitful
clue to the course of human affairs that historical study has yet
yielded to us. We are not justified in assuming (as some have done) that
it is the only valid clue; still less are those disciples of Marx
justified who have developed his theory of historical interpretation
into the metaphysical dogma of economic determinism. That economic
factors have controlled the general drift of human affairs in the past
does not necessarily mean that they are predestined to do so in

Yet even those who most vehemently denounce the existing profit-making
organisation of society are still obsessed by the notion that social
transformation is chiefly an affair of economic revolution. Their
thought appears to run wholly within the economic circle. It is in some
respects the strangest paradox of modern times that the Russian people
with their long and unique tradition of spirituality should have been so
completely captured (to all appearance) by the doctrinaire materialism
of the Marxian school and have accepted the view that the Kingdom of
Heaven comes by a proletarian capture of economic power. The
circumstance is, of course, capable of explanation, for in Russia, as
elsewhere, political power has gone with economic power; and the Russian
revolutionary knew what the Frenchman of 1789 did not know, namely, that
no political revolution could be complete or permanent which was not an
economic revolution at the same time. That, therefore, the Russian
revolution should have been primarily economic is not strange—since Marx
had lived and written in the interval between 1789 and 1917; but it
remains a somewhat singular fact that the spiritual idealism of Feodor
Dostoievsky and Lyof Tolstoi have been so little manifest during these
last surprising months. This preoccupation with economic change is
characteristic of the attitude of those everywhere who are most urgent
in their endeavour after social transformation. The advocates of the
National Guild Movement are never weary of reiterating that political
power belongs to those who wield economic power, and of urging that the
workers should make themselves masters of the economic resources of
society as the necessary preliminary of laying hold of the political
power.[13] This may be a sound counsel of immediate strategy; but it is
full of disaster if it is treated as a permanent principle of social
practice. For it leaves us still within the vicious circle where the
purely economic interests are paramount. Whensoever we consent to the
statement that the one thing needful to society is a more equitable
distribution of the wealth which its industry produces, we are still
within the same hopeless universe of discourse. A more equitable
distribution of wealth is needed; so much is obvious. But having secured
it, what then? Will the City of God then come down from heaven? Or are
we content with the hope of a redeemed society which goes no farther
than a vision of a community of healthy and contented animals? It is
certain that, so long as our thought of social regeneration moves
chiefly within the existing framework of wealth production and wealth
distribution, our effort will create a range of new social problems of
an acute and probably less soluble kind. That we should labour to
humanise and to socialise the existing commercial and industrial
organisation goes without saying; but there is no certainty that after
we have done so, the same economic pre-occupation will not still fill
our minds. It is not enough to work for change that only transfers the
power to produce and to enjoy wealth from the hands of a small minority
to those of the great majority. That is indeed only change, and not
necessarily progress. There will be fewer people with more butter on
their bread than they need; and fewer people with less than they need;
and that will be something gained. But it does not necessarily follow
that we will not still be chiefly concerned about bread and butter, and
whatever elaborations upon that simple theme that our enlarged resources
may tempt us to seek.

Footnote 13:

  This is not to be taken as meaning that the National Guild Movement is
  destitute of a spiritual outlook. On the contrary, see, for instance,
  the last chapter of S. G. Hobson’s _Guild Principles in War and

This is not in any sense an argument for spending less energy upon the
urgent task of accomplishing the radical economic changes which social
well-being plainly requires; it is rather a renewed plea that we should
ask ourselves whether we are moving conformably with a vision of man and
life as a whole. Whether we rank as reformists or revolutionists we
should endeavour to see the evils we hate and the manner and matter of
the remedy in the light of a philosophy of comprehensive and coherent
human good. The scheme of social insurance established in Great Britain
before the war was a response to a definite social need; but it is now
no longer open to question, that both in respect of its content, and the
method of its institution, its promoters failed to appreciate the
precise nature and conditions of the need; and the final solution of the
problem which evoked the measure has been confused and retarded. And
generally, so long as we think exclusively of social advance in economic
terms, out of relation to their context in life, we are subordinating
the greater thing to the lesser, and are in continual danger of
postponing the greater thing into an impossible future. We become and
remain virtual opportunists (even though we call ourselves
revolutionaries!), only moving spasmodically and incoherently within the
very circle of institutions and tendencies which have wrought our
present confusion, until we have gained that social perspective in which
the economic requirements of life take their proper place.

Properly understood, this place is a relatively humble one. In our
analysis of personality in the previous chapter, four major instincts
were defined. The first, the instinct of self-preservation has to do
with the maintenance of physical life; the second, the third and the
fourth, as they appear in their full development, are mainly concerned
with the spiritual expression of life. The first is the necessary basis
of the other three—the foundation, as it were, upon which they build;
but the real significance and joy of life are associated predominantly
with the impulses of creativeness, sociability, and reflection. Now, the
economic business of life has to do almost exclusively with the instinct
of self-preservation; its function ends with the provision of the
conditions and materials of a wholesome physical existence. Yet to-day,
the economic interests absorb virtually the whole of life; the ultimate
interests of life—that range of things which we may broadly call
_spiritual_, if they are not subordinated to and absorbed in the
economic motive, are consigned to the odds and ends of time which we are
able to spare from the sovereign business of making a fortune or making
a living. The distinctive human interests of religion, thought, art, and
recreation are no more than occasional alternatives which enable us to
some extent to repair the wear and tear of the ceaseless economic drive.
The real revolution we need is the general conviction that to put it
roughly—as the kitchen is to the home, so the economic interest is to
the rest of life. The kitchen is indispensable to the home; and there
are exceptional persons to whom it is the most important part of the
home. Yet it is no more than a strictly subordinate part of the home.
When we have finished with the business of procuring and eating bread,
then the real business of life begins. It is indeed necessary that the
kitchen should be in tune with home, and that the work of producing and
distributing the primary necessities of life should be organised so as
to be consistent with the spiritual realisation of life. We can, of
course, no longer admit a dualism of material and spiritual; for the
spiritual may and must infuse the material and subordinate it to its own
ends. To-day the material has made the spiritual ancillary to itself;
and the soul is the drudge of the body. The radical problem of the
future is how to reverse this position and to enthrone the spiritual.

What the spiritual realisation of life implies we can no more than dimly
guess. We may speak of love and art; but the potentialities of social
and creative achievement in human nature have yet to be explored. A
material civilisation has largely kept mankind in a state of arrested
development on every side save that which has to do with the conditions
of its physical life. Psychology is busily, though not yet very
successfully, explaining that hidden world of life which lies beyond the
frontiers of consciousness; there are (and this is virtually all we can
say) vast possibilities and powers latent within us of which we have
only occasional and indistinct intimations. We have tested the power and
the range of those endowments of which we are already aware; and the
triumphs of art and science show how nobly and richly our nature is
equipped. Nevertheless, all that art and science have yet accomplished
are but the promise of that glory that is still to be. But the full
release of all our powers—known and unknown—is contingent upon a social
setting more richly human, that is to say, more spiritual in temper, and
outlook, than mankind has hitherto known. This social setting will come
when we make up our minds to break the tyranny of the economic motive
and to deliver life from the infamous despotism of things. No man knows
to what heights of creative achievement and personal self-realisation we
may not attain when once the economic preoccupation which swallows our
best energies is dissipated, and we are free to become all that we have
it in us to be, when powers of fellowship and creation now inert and
unknown are awakened in us, and we press on to those peaks of attainment
of which prophets have spoken and which angels have desired to see.


The task before us, therefore, is the deliverance of life from the
ascendency of the economic motive; and at bottom this means the
redemption of commerce from the obsession of profit-making. In other
words, commerce must be conceived and conducted as a social service. It
is true that in the early days of modern commercialism, the principle of
competition was regarded as the heaven-sent panacea for human ills. Men
became dithyrambic about _laissez-faire_, and though they perforce
admitted that the growth of the commercial system had caused certain
glaring evils, yet they maintained that these were no more than the
inevitable accidents of a process of readjustment. Let the system only
work out its inherent logic to the end, and there will be a golden age
for everybody. The system has had a fair trial; and so far from
achieving the results confidently predicted by its advocates, it has
failed hopelessly to provide even a tolerably secure and sufficient
subsistence for the great mass of men. It is indeed difficult to see how
it could be otherwise or how those who uphold it could have expected a
different result. There is no doubt that the system has stimulated the
production of wealth; and this its protagonists accurately foresaw; but
they apparently supposed that the distribution of wealth would look
after itself. It had indeed done so, in a fashion which has deprived the
mass of toilers of that security of physical subsistence which is a
necessary condition of liberty and of the liberation of the spiritual
impulses. So far from adequately fulfilling the elementary services of
providing men with a steady and reasonable supply of the necessities of
life, it has made life itself insecure and precarious.

How this situation has come about may be stated summarily in a few
words: (_a_) The pursuit of profit tends to lower the cost of
production, while it raises the price of the product. Chief among the
costs of production is the payment of labour,—that is to say, wages. The
result of this tendency is to depress the income of the worker and at
the same time to raise his expenditure and since there is no limit fixed
at either end the standard of life is in constant danger of being
lowered beneath the point of reasonable subsistence. It often happens
that wages show an increase over given periods of time; but it is an
increase of money-wages and not of real wages; since the period of
wage-increase is generally also a period of a disproportionate increase
in the price of commodities. Some check has been placed upon the
decrease of wages by Trade Union action; but this is offset by the
partial elimination of competition in the markets through the growth of
Trusts and Combines, and the consequent upward tendency of prices.

(_b_) This insecurity is accentuated by the fact that the maintenance of
profits frequently require a check upon productivity in order to tighten
the market by reducing the supply of commodities. It is estimated that
in America this interference with production has kept productivity down
anywhere between twenty-five and fifty per cent. below its possible
maximum. This obstruction is effected by such devices as the diminution
of working hours, dismissal of workmen, and periodic stoppages of work.

(_c_) A further element of insecurity is to be found in the circumstance
that labour is itself treated as a commodity, subject to market
fluctuations, its price governed by the relation of supply to demand,
like any other commodity. In order to prevent an undue rise in the price
of labour, the industrial system has evolved a _reserve of labour_,
commonly called unemployment. In normal times, there is in every trade a
chronic margin—varying in amount—of unemployed men; and no man knows
when his turn may come to fall into the reserve. It naturally happens
that the less efficient man goes first—the man least equipped to face
the demoralising effects of unemployment. The result is that he
degenerates into an unemployable and swells the volume of the human
driftwood of our social order.

(_d_) Insecurity arises also from the unquestioned and unchallenged
authority of the owners or representatives of the invested capital,
against whose verdicts there is no appeal. The worker is at the absolute
mercy of the master or the foreman; and he can usually find work only at
the sacrifice of his freedom. Should he display any signs of restiveness
and be dismissed, the growth of Trusts and Employers’ Associations has
made it possible to deny him employment within the area over which such
bodies exercise control.

This takes no account of the dehumanising and despiritualising effects
of the machine industry under the conditions of the profit system. That
is an aggravation of the situation which must be considered in another
connection. Here we are concerned to note the failure of commerce under
a profit system to provide the conditions of security of life for the
mass of men. And not the least disastrous consequence of this failure is
the deep social schism it has engendered. It has created the criminal
antithesis of great wealth and great poverty in great cities, and the
virtually open warfare between capital and labour. The investor and the
employer are bent on larger dividends upon the outlay of capital; the
worker is seeking a larger return upon his outlay of labour. In the
struggle the worker is at a disadvantage. For while capital and labour,
the producers, are fighting, the casualties of the struggle are chiefly
among the consumers. But the consumers are mostly composed of the
labourer and the tenement-dweller, that is to say, the working-class
itself. So that the worker in the struggle is divided against himself.
If he is successful in his struggle for higher wages, the advantage is
lost through the increased price of commodities; for the employer pays
the higher wages out of higher prices. In the issue, the worker is
caught in the vicious circle of a continuous struggle against himself,
which to dependence and insecurity adds an unending confusion.

No question is here raised as to the legitimacy of profit; we are
concerned only to point out the consequences of a system which permits
an unlimited expansion of profits; and it should be clear that the
redemption of commerce and its restoration to the status of the social
service it should be, are to be wrought first by imposing a limit upon

This requires two measures:

First, the production and distribution of the necessities of life should
be definitely placed outside the sphere of competition. The British
Labour Party in its memorandum on reconstruction, proposes that the
coal-supply shall be so organised that the ordinary householder shall be
able to have his coal delivered at his door, at a uniform price all over
the country and all through the year—just as he buys postage stamps. But
the principle should be extended to all the essential commodities.
Flour, milk, coal, meat, wool, cotton and their immediate derivatives
should be withdrawn from the circle of competitive commerce, and be no
more subject to the fluctuations of a market manipulated in the interest
of profit-making than the water-supply is. There is no reason why the
supply of these primary articles should not be so regulated as to bear a
reasonably constant proportion to the demand. For those who argue that
this would dislocate the customary economic processes, a two-fold answer
may be returned. First, that the customary economic processes deserve to
be dislocated; and second, that the only possible justification of the
customary economic processes is derived from an economic theory which is
no longer relevant to the facts of life. In point of actual fact, the
standardisation of prices has become in recent years increasingly
common—the elimination of competition by the formation of trusts and
combines has had the result of fixing prices with a considerable
rigidity; and during the war, it has been done on a very large scale. In
neither case is it suggested by any one that it has had a deleterious
effect upon commerce. In this proposal for the standardisation of
prices, there is nothing new; it is simply a revival of the mediæval
custom of the _justum pretium_—according to which buyers and sellers and
market authorities together determined a price for each commodity which
should be equally fair to the producer and the consumer; and a return to
this practice—with such modifications as modern conditions require—is
opposed only by those who still hold to the curious illusion that Adam
Smith spoke the last word upon this subject.[14]

Footnote 14:

  Revelations of after-war profiteering in Great Britain and America are
  creating a definite demand for standardisation of prices. And if we
  are to have Wages Boards, why not Prices Boards?

Second: A limit should be placed upon profits, dividends, incomes and
fortunes. This may be done by taxation, inheritance duties and other
devices already familiar to the managers of public finance. We should
agree to make it cease to be worth anyone’s while to exploit the public,
by fixing rigid bounds to the accumulation of private wealth; and this
we may do with a good conscience. For all wealth is socially produced;
and the society which produces it has the first claim upon it. This is a
position which can be challenged only by those who still hold that the
possession of property confers upon its possessors a “divine right” to
take the lion’s share of the wealth produced by the industry of the
whole community.

It will be maintained that measures of this kind will take away the
incentive to industry and commercial progress. But it may be pointed out
in reply that the economic end of British life so far from being
disastrously undermined by wholesale interference with economic laws
during the war, seems to have been in a rather healthier condition than
it had ever known previously. Profits were limited; prices were
standardised; the old competitive basis was largely suspended. Virtually
all those incentives of self-regard and gain which we have been told
were essential to economic development were put out of business. Yet
production reached an unprecedented point, both in quality and in
amount. Another incentive was indeed operative; but this incentive was
not of the personal kind. The peril of the nation in the great hazard of
war evoked a social solidarity which proved a more powerful incentive to
industry than the self-regarding instincts ever provided. This is our
sufficient answer to those who still hold to the cynical superstition
that the only motives on which we can rely in dealing with human nature
are those of selfishness. What is needed to stimulate effort and
devotion is the sense of direct participation in a great social task;
and there is no reason to suppose that the systematic education of a
couple of generations may not make this same social idealism the normal
driving force of national effort. It is no doubt true that, as things
are, only such a challenge to patriotic feeling as war brings, could
achieve such a result; but it is our business to discover the stimuli
which will make this same intensity of devotion a permanent fact.

But, it may be said, the economic conditions of wartime are abnormal,
and economic “laws” must be disregarded in the stress of national
crisis. This is, of course, partly true and partly untrue. So far as
production is concerned, the only change that war requires is greater
speed and greater volume; the difference is one of degree and not at all
of kind. It is only in the region of finance that war-time conditions
work havoc with economic “laws”; and the experience of war-time has
taught us the useful lesson that these “laws” have no permanent
character. They are on the contrary contingent and derivative affairs,
being no more than general statements concerning economic tendencies
which are set afoot and sustained by the ways in which men habitually
act. If men could be induced to act differently, then we should require
to formulate a new set of “laws.” The greatest revelation of the war in
many respects is the tremendous achievement of industrial production in
Great Britain under the influence of a social emotion, and without any
of the common incentives of personal advantage. It may be conceded that
this social emotion was to some extent stimulated by a group antagonism,
but in the main it was the love of and the desire to preserve—in spite
of its faults—that particular social synthesis described as British that
lay behind this great performance. And once more let it be repeated that
the peril of war is not the only organ of social vision.

It is not pretended that commerce will be redeemed automatically by
placing a limitation upon the profit-motive; but without such a
limitation, it cannot be redeemed at all. It must enter into our scheme
to provide means of kindling the social vision which will transform
commerce into a social service; and this implies certain changes of
temper and method in the system of education. There is no reason why we
should not come to regard the business of feeding and clothing the
people as much a department of the public service as that of educating
or that of providing them with water or the time of day, or of
transmitting their correspondence; and there is no reason for supposing
that a right education will not provide in time as effectual a spur to
patriotism as the peril of war.


It is, however, not enough to standardise the cost of living and to
impose a limit upon profits; for we have still no adequate guarantee
against a lowering of the standard of life. It does not necessarily
follow that the surplus profits will go to the raising of wages, or that
standardised prices will make for a sufficient living. It is necessary
to define a minimum standard of life. The demand for a minimum wage is a
beginning in this direction, but under the profit system, the minimum
wage defined as a money-wage is something of a snare. For so long as
prices tend to fly upward, no minimum wage can effectually prevent a
depression of the standard of life. It is only as we succeed in fixing a
minimum “real wage” which takes account of the cost of living that we
approach a satisfactory estimate. But, again, under the present
system—the relation of supply to demand in the labour market will render
even a minimum “real wage” exceedingly precarious.

The only satisfactory solution of this difficulty is to dissolve the
connection between work and wages. The assumption that men will not work
unless they must is not true; but it is the truth that while men are
compelled to work by the coercion of fear—whether of hunger or of
punishment—they will not do the most or the best work of which they are
capable. That workmen nowadays are apt to do as little as they can for
as much as they can get is not to be disputed; and organised labour
combines with its demand for larger wages another demand for fewer
working hours, and under certain conditions imposes restrictions on
output. But this is simply the answer in kind which labour returns to
capital. It is the vicious sequel of a vicious system. Capital buys in
the cheapest and sells in the dearest market; and labour having been
brought up in the same school does the same thing. If capital tries to
extort as much as it can out of labour, it is not to be wondered at that
labour should take a hand in the game.

We have to recognise that the best workmanship requires two conditions;
first—that the worker shall have a direct interest in the thing he
produces, second, that he shall enjoy the freedom which comes from a
sense of guaranteed security. To the former we shall have to return at a
later stage in the argument. Concerning the latter, we have seen how the
present system exposes the worker to a grave and vexatious insecurity.
It is stupid to suppose that men will habitually put their best into
their work under such conditions as these. The whole system is
intrinsically demoralising to all whom it touches. It is demoralising to
the employer because he comes to regard the worker as a mere “hand,” a
tool; and that is a frame of mind which saps his own manhood. It is
demoralising to the worker because it treats his physical energy as a
thing to be bought and sold at a price, the highest price he can extort;
and since a man’s labour is actually inseparable from his person, it
reduces him to a condition of servility, which, within a certain limit,
is as real as that of a chattel slave. He has neither independence nor
security. Over against this state of things, we must affirm that a man’s
subsistence shall be guaranteed to him as a customary practice, in good
weather and in bad, in sickness and in health, in work or unemployment.
The British Labour Party’s proposal of a national minimum standard of
life universally enforced is certainly one of the cornerstones of a
wholesome social order. The cynic will probably say that this will be
the paradise of the slacker; and no doubt there would be some persons
base enough to evade their share of productive labour. But we can count
upon the public opinion of a society in which freedom has created a new
sense of social obligation and a new quality of fellowship, to make a
slacker’s life not worth living. It may very fairly be doubted whether
at the worst the slacker who remained incorrigible would constitute so
great a tragedy—either in number or in kind—or constitute so clear
evidence of the bankruptcy of a system as do the innumerable and
increasing derelicts of the present industrial order.

These three measures, the standardisation of the cost of living, the
limitation of profits, the institution of a minimum standard of life are
necessary to the redemption of commerce. For to redeem commerce, we must
in the first instance, take away from it the power and the opportunity
of exploiting life for the ends of private gain. But this process
secures another result. It ensures for the mass of the people a
reasonable security and sufficiency of physical subsistence, so that the
pre-occupation with self-preservation need no longer arrest their
spiritual development. We establish the foundations of freedom—freedom
from fear, from anxiety, from the autocracy of the employer or his
agent—and confer upon the ordinary man a new status, in which we may
with good hope expect to find him susceptible to a social vision
powerful to evoke his devotion and to bring his will into captivity to
its obedience. Commerce and industry will then no longer be a vast
scramble of competition and exploitation, but a generous social


                              Chapter IV.
                        THE REDEMPTION OF WORK.

    “And the men of labour spent their strength in daily struggling for
    breath to maintain the vital strength they laboured with. So living
    in a daily circulation of sorrow, living but to work, and working
    but to live, as if daily bread were the only end of a wearisome
    life, and a wearisome life the only occasion of daily bread.”—DANIEL

    “And perfect the day shall be, when it is of all men understood that
    the beauty of holiness must be in labour as well as in rest. Nay!
    more, if it may be, in labour; in our strength rather than in our
    weakness; and in the choice of what we shall work for through the
    six days and may know to be good at their evening time, than in the
    choice of what we pray for on the seventh, of reward and repose.
    With the multitude that keep holiday we may perhaps sometimes vainly
    have gone up to the House of the Lord and vainly there have asked
    for what we fancied would be mercy; but for the few who labour as
    their Lord would have them, the mercy needs no seeking, and their
    wide home no hallowing. Surely goodness and mercy shall _follow_
    them all the days of their life, and they shall dwell in the House
    of the Lord for ever.”—JOHN RUSKIN.

THE clue to the approaching change in the social order is to be found in
the mind of organised labour. What organised labour is resolved to
achieve, that it will achieve soon or late. Hitherto we have been
concerned in these pages with an enquiry, more or less speculative, into
the conditions and measures required for a wholesome social evolution.
How far does the present tendency of organised labour correspond with
the general lines of progress which our enquiry has so far constrained
us to define? It will not be necessary, in order to answer this
question, to survey the whole field of labour policy. For our present
purpose we may neglect on the one hand the conservative element in the
labour movement, and the extreme revolutionary element on the other.
This does not imply a judgment on either; it simply means that we shall
reach a safer judgment upon the direction in which labour is minded to
go by considering the central mass of the movement; and of this central
mass it may be affirmed with some assurance that its best mind has
received a more coherent and detailed interpretation in Great Britain
than elsewhere. We shall, therefore, consider the general tendency of
the progressive elements in the British Labour Movement. It will not be
necessary to raise the question of ways and means at this point. It is a
question upon which strong views are held on both sides—whether labour
is to attain its goal by political or industrial action, by gradual
approach or by some catastrophic method such as the general strike. But
the question of method does not arise at this point; our present object
is to examine so far as we may the goal which organised labour is


The Trade Union movement originated in the necessity to provide some
remedy for “the helplessness in which since the industrial revolution,
the individual workman stood in relation to the capitalist employer and
still more in relation to the joint-stock company and the national
combine or trust.” In this initial stage it was governed by what Mr.
Sidney Webb has called the “Doctrine of Vested Interests,” and it was
chiefly concerned with securing those concessions and safe-guards which
constitute the “Trade Union Conditions” to the suspension of which
British Labour consented for the period of the war. These conditions
affected the rate of wages, the length of working day, overtime, night
work, Sunday duty, mealtimes, holidays, and included a countless
multitude of details affecting processes, machines, the employment of
boys and girls, the limitation of output, and other related subjects—the
whole being an inconceivably intricate patchwork of concessions and
advantages gained as the result of innumerable local skirmishes and
negotiations. The policy at this stage may be properly described as one
of “nibbling” at the enemies’ lines, of raiding his trenches as
opportunity offered or need required; and it is a commonplace what large
and substantial advantages these operations have yielded to the workers
as a whole, whether unionists or not. But it was not possible that these
piece-meal tactics should continue to be the chief weapon of a growing,
highly organised movement which was gaining a kind of self-consciousness
and a common mind; and gradually out of the experience of the Unions
grew the “Doctrine of the Common Rule.” The main emphasis has now
shifted from the local and sectional problem to that of establishing and
maintaining a Standard Rate of Wages and a normal Working Day. This
change is naturally marked by the appearance of a large scale strategy
in place of the local and occasional tactics of the earlier stage; and
the earlier type of labour leader is rapidly disappearing in favour of
persons who are able to bring some gifts of statesmanship to the
problems of labour. This is not to say that the earlier doctrine has
been abandoned; rather it has been supplemented and overshadowed by the
new orientation.

But a situation has recently arisen which will probably bring about the
permanent and general supremacy of the Common Rule doctrine. The
urgencies of war-production made it desirable and necessary that the
achievements of the earlier unionism should be suspended; and all the
intricate machinery of safeguards and restrictions was willingly laid on
one side for the period of the war. But it is now evident that even with
the best will in the world, this restoration, as it was originally
guaranteed, has become impracticable. Events in industry have moved so
rapidly that it is impossible to retrace our steps to the _ante-bellum_
period and to pick up the lines of life where we dropped them in 1914.
At first sight it would appear that this result proved that the whole
achievement of the earlier union activity had been of a peculiarly
fragile and slender kind. Yet, despite this circumstance, the British
Trade Unions have grown considerably during the war, this growth being
doubtless due to the increasing sense that only a strong corporate
movement of the workers will be able to establish for them the necessary
conditions of a secure and independent life, and in particular such
improvements in their position, in respect of wages and other matters,
as they have been able to gain during the war. It now seems likely that
the outcome of the situation created by the impossibility of restoring
the _status quo ante_, and the increase of Trade Union strength, will be
the general acceptance of the Doctrine of the Common Rule and a
programme based upon it; and the demand for the Restoration of Trade
Union Conditions may take the form of a demand for certain general
standards of life and labour. Already, it is fairly evident that the
least that labour will demand will be what Mr. Sidney Webb calls “the
New Industrial Charter” in which there are five articles: (i.) the
prevention of unemployment; (ii.) the maintenance of standard rates of
wages; (iii.) a “constitution” for factory and industry, _i.e._ the
introduction of a measure of democratic control over the conditions of
work; (iv.) no limitation of output; (v.) freedom for every worker.[15]
The “charter” as it stands, represents a minimum demand; it certainly
does not run to revolutionary excess and contemplates no organic change
in the existing framework of the industrial order. With its probable
economic effects we are not now concerned, but it is important to notice
the emphasis which it lays upon the standing of the worker. The charter
aims to give him security against unemployment, a share in the control
of the conditions under which he works, and freedom from the autocratic
dictation of employer or foreman, and from the coercion of necessity.
Even this moderate measure would undoubtedly bring a great accession of
independence to the ordinary worker. Further, this charter applies to
all workers, not to unionists alone; for once the Standard Rate and the
Normal Day are conceded, the old invidious necessity of making war upon
non-unionists disappears; and with it, to the great good of all
concerned, the demoralising custom of imposing restrictions upon output.

Footnote 15:

  The whole position is discussed in its relation both to the employer
  and to the worker in Mr. Webb’s brochure: _The Restoration of Trade
  Union Conditions_. Since these passages were written, the increased
  demands here foreshadowed have been definitely made.


This “charter” will not be granted without a struggle. The greed and
_amour propre_ of some employers, and the stupidity of others, will
interpose great obstacles to its institution. The great growing strength
of organised labour, however, guarantees a comparatively early
capitulation of the intransigent employers.[16] But it would be a
mistake to suppose that this is all that is implied in the present
temper of labour. A good deal of what labour is looking to has not yet
reached the stage of articulation, but it is impossible to misapprehend
the general direction in which it is moving. The socialist propaganda,
even if it has not always been as prolific of conversions as its
promoters desired, has been a singularly potent instrument of education,
and if the workers as a whole have not accepted the conclusions of the
socialist, it is most certain that they have been profoundly moved by
his premises. Probably more than any other influence it has stimulated
the spirit of revolt against a permanent division of society by a line
of economic privilege; and it has encouraged a very real insurgency
against the idea, so comforting to the fortunate classes, that it is the
duty of all persons to be content in that station of life into which
Providence has been pleased to call them. While the rich believed that
their duty to their less fortunate neighbours was an affair of charity,
the Socialist had taught the poor to cry for justice. The chief
achievement of the Socialist movement up to this time lies less in the
acceptance of its doctrines than in the new sense of _right_ which it
has succeeded in awakening, even in many to whom the very term socialism
still represents a dangerous and forbidding spectre. And it is this
sense of _right_, the refusal to accept as permanent and just a state of
exploitation, with the demand for economic freedom and independence,
which is working as an irresistible leaven in the mind of the
worker-mass of our time; often indeed, inarticulately enough, but in the
minds of the better educated and most thoughtful workers, beginning to
express itself in specific requirements which far outstrip Mr. Sidney
Webb’s conservative interpretation of the present need.

Footnote 16:

  Since these paragraphs were written, a National Industrial Conference
  convened by the British Government, and composed of equal numbers of
  employers’ and workers’ representatives, has reported unanimously in
  favour of a universal minimum wage and a universal maximum week.

The Socialism popularly advocated during the last half-century, is,
however, not likely to capture the working-class of to-day. The
movement for the nationalisation of the means of production and
distribution—especially of the primary necessities of life—has
indeed gained strength during the war; and the public ownership
doctrine of orthodox socialism is in no danger of being discarded,
though it may be modified in the extent of its application. But the
orthodox socialist plan of vesting economic and industrial control
in the state will not survive the war. The modern doctrine of the
state reached its apogee during the war; it is already in process of
rapid discredit. This is chiefly due to the revelation of the logic
of state-absolutism, which the German performance in the war has
yielded; and we are likely to witness a strong reaction from the
doctrine of the sovereign omni-competent state in the coming
generation. Moreover, in England the working of the Munitions Act
has proved that the state may be as harsh and troublesome an
employer as a private individual or a corporation; and the workers
are not minded to emancipate themselves from the plutocracy to hand
themselves over to a bureaucracy.

But how is public ownership to be made practicable without slate
control? The experiences of war-time have revealed a possible solution
of the difficulty. The Garton Foundation and the Whitley Committee, the
former a private, the latter a parliamentary body, and neither committed
to “labour” views, have been led by the study of industrial conditions
in war-time to advocate introduction of democratic control into
industry, and experiments in democratic control which have been made,
have plainly demonstrated its practicability and its economic value. In
the woollen trades that centre upon Bradford, in Yorkshire, various
troubles interfered with the output of cloth. Early in 1916 the War
Office requisitioned the output of the factories for the production of
khaki, blankets, and other war-material; and a little later the
Government purchased all the available wool on the market. The
distribution of this wool to the factories was left by the Army
Contracts Department to a Board of Control which it established for the
whole industry. “The allocation,” says a recent account of the matter,
“is carried out by means of a series of rationing committees. There are
district rationing committees of spinners, of manufacturers, and a joint
rationing committee on which the Trade Unions are represented. These
committees ascertain all the facts about an individual firm’s
consumption of wool, and the kind and quality of machinery that has been
used. From these data the rations are arranged for the several mills of
the district, while the Government committee settles the rations for the
several districts. It is an extraordinarily interesting example of an
industry regulating its life on a principle of equity instead of leaving
the fortune of different mills and the fortunes of thousands of
workmen’s homes to the blind scramble of the market.” It is of interest
further to observe concerning this experiment that when the Government
requisitioned the mills, it established a method of payment which
eliminated profit-making, and the spinner and the manufacturer became
virtually government servants. This is worth remembering when it is
urged that the incentive of profit is essential to industrial
development, especially in view of the conspicuous success of the
experiment. More to our immediate point, however, is that this is a
definite experiment in democratic control, for the organisation in which
the ultimate control of the woollen industry was vested is composed of
thirty-three members, eleven each being appointed by the Government, the
Employers’ Associations, and by the Trade Unions.

The experiment in the woollen trades goes farther than the measure of
democratic control suggested by Mr. Sidney Webb in his charter. For he
contemplates no more than a democratic control of the actual conditions
of work, while the control of raw material is vested in the Board of
Control of the woollen industries. Mr. Webb’s suggestion is for
“workshop committees or shop stewards” in every establishment having
more than twenty operators, to whom the employer should be required to
communicate at least one week prior to their adoption any proposed new
rules, and also any proposed changes in wage-rates, piece-work prices,
allowances, deductions, hours of labour, meal-times, methods of working
and conditions affecting the comfort of the workshop.[17] Mr. Webb
himself would probably like a good deal more than this; but in his
brochure, he frankly writes as one who believes that “the most hopeful
evolution of society ... lies always in making the best rather than the
worst out of what we find at the moment to hand.” But in point of fact,
very considerable extensions of the principle are already being
canvassed; and it is unlikely that organised labour will be long content
with the timid bid for a share of industrial control which Mr. Webb’s
proposal represents. It is symptomatic of the present tendency that in
the Building Trades a movement initiated by Mr. Malcolm Sparkes, a
London Master Builder, looking toward the formation of an Industrial
Parliament for the building trades, has already been the subject of
serious discussion both by the employers’ associations, and the trade
unions concerned. Mr. Sparkes suggests that the Parliament should be
composed of twenty members appointed by the National Association
Building Trades Council, and twenty appointed by the Federation of
Building Trades Employers, and that it should meet regularly for
constructive, and not at all for arbitral or conciliatory purposes. To
this parliament would be remitted such matters as the regularisation of
wages, unemployment, technical training and apprenticeship, publicity,
and the investigation of possible lines of trade improvement. But
obviously such a parliament as Mr. Sparkes suggests could have vitality
and authority only as it stood at the top of a hierarchy of analogous
bodies all the way up, through provincial and district councils, from
the committee of the single shop.

Footnote 17:

  _The Restoration of Trade Union Conditions, p. 95._

The principle of democratic control in industry has come to stay;
together with the doctrine of public ownership it will probably fix the
accepted social policy of progressive labour. Already, indeed, this
combination is to be found in the British Labour Party’s memorandum on
“Labour and the Social Order.” The Party “demands the progressive
elimination from the control of industry of the private capitalist,
individual or joint-stock.” It stands “unhesitatingly for the national
ownership and administration of the Railways and Canals, and their
union, along with Harbours and Roads, and the Posts and Telegraphs ...
in a united national service of Communication and Transport, to be
worked, unhampered by capitalist, private and purely local interests,
_and with a steadily increasing participation of the organised workers
in the management, both central and local_, exclusively for the common
good.” And again, the Party “demands the immediate nationalisation of
mines, the extraction of coal and iron being worked as a public service,
_with a steadily increasing participation in the management, both
central and local, of the various grades of persons employed_.” It is no
exaggeration to say that the principle of democratic control in
industry, especially under the conditions within which the British
Labour Party contemplates it, carries with it an entire change in the
status of the worker. For when we remember that with democratic control
in industry, the British Labour Party demands a universal application of
the policy “of the National Minimum, affording complete security against
destitution, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad alike, to
every member of the community of whatever age or sex,” it is evident
that we have the two requirements of that necessary revolution in the
worker’s standing which is the corner-stone of a worthy social order.
The worker is no longer dependent, a pawn in the game of production, an
employed wage-earner, a “hand;” he has become a partner, possessing both
the freedom and the responsibility of partnership. And it is no less
evident that a great stride has been taken in the direction of
separating work from the means of subsistence and abolishing “wagery.”


There can be little doubt that the principle of public ownership with
democratic control has received a great impulse from the able advocacy
of what has come to be known as Guild-Socialism. The work _guild_ in
this connection is something more than a reminiscence of the mediæval
institution; the present movement has quite definite affinities with its
historical precursor, notably in the principle of combining all the
members of a craft in co-operation. But the “national” guild goes beyond
its forbear in two respects—in the fact of being national where the
older institution was local, and in the account it necessarily takes of
the more complex and specialised character of modern industry. “A
national guild,” says Mr. S. G. Hobson, “is a combination of all the
labour of every kind, administrative, executive, productive, in any
particular industry. It includes those who work with their brains and
those who contribute labour power. Administration, skilled and unskilled
labour—every one who can work—are all entitled to membership.” This body
of people will lease from the community the right and the means to carry
on the industry with which it is concerned, always providing that it
shall be under conditions which safeguard the interests of all the
people in respect of the products of the industry.

In the eyes of the guildsman, the “original sin” of the existing
industrial system is production for profit. In his _Guild Principles in
Peace and War_, Mr. S. G. Hobson puts side by side (_inter alia_) the
following figures, (the particular year to which they belong is not

                                  Iron and Steel         Railway
                                     Industries.   Construction.
       Net output                    £30,948,100     £17,103,100
       Persons employed                  262,225         241,520
       Net output per person                £118             £71
       Average wage per person               £67             £67

Here are revealed two facts of great interest. The first is that in
railway construction, which is chiefly for _need and use_, the disparity
between the average output and the average wage per person is only four
pounds, whereas the iron and steel industries, where production is for
profit, the disparity is as high as fifty-one pounds. Railway
construction represents output in locomotives, rolling-stock and so
forth which the railway companies make for their own use; whereas the
products of the iron and steel industries are destined for the market.
Where product is for profit, the excess of average output over the
average wage is more than twelve times as great as where the production
is for use. This is connected with the fact that the iron and steel
industries are chiefly concerned with the provision of dividends,
whereas in railway construction there is no such _direct_ necessity.

The second fact of importance is that in both cases the average wage is
the same. This is the result of two circumstances—first, the
commodity-theory of labour, according to which labour-power is regarded
as a measureable marketable affair, subject to the law of supply and
demand and separate from the personality of the worker; and second, that
reserve of labour commonly called unemployment, the existence of which
tends to moderate the fluctuations of the labour market. It is in the
interests of capital that there should be a permanent margin of
unemployment in order that the price of labour should not become
excessive at any time by reason of its scarcity.

In the past, the maintenance of the unemployed was, so far as their own
members were affected, assumed altogether by the Trade Unions; but by
the provisions of the National Insurance Act this has partly been laid
upon the employer and upon the community as a whole. But, says the
guildsman, since the existence of a reserve of labour seems under
present conditions inseparable from the conduct of the industry; and
since further, it is impossible to secure that under no conditions there
will not be some margin of unemployment, the charge for the maintenance
of the reserve of labour should be made to fall on the industry itself.
This, however, immediately destroys the commodity-theory of labour.
Under such an arrangement, the worker will be regarded not as a
potential vendor of so much labour-power, subject to the law of supply
and demand, and liable to lose his subsistence and that of his family by
the chances of the market, but as a regular member of a society which
provides a financial reserve for the purpose of maintaining him when he
falls into the labour reserve. So once more, we see the status of the
worker transformed. He ceases to be a “hand,” and becomes a partner.

The “national guild” is really no more than the systematic development
of this idea of partnership; and because it insists that this
partnership shall be real and not fictitious, it rejects all schemes of
democratic control in industry which (like the Garton Foundation and the
Whitley schemes) still retain the commodity-theory of labour, and all
schemes of profit-sharing which is the voluntary bounty of the employer.
The guildsman holds that the worker has a direct interest in the thing
produced apart from his hire, and that his contribution in the way of
labour entitles him to a partnership in the industry as real as that of
his employer, and much more real than that of the investor who does no
more than rake in his dividends. To this principle of partnership, there
is, of course, no logical end but the elimination of the private
employer, whether an individual or a company, and the combination of the
administrative, executive and productive labour in a given industry in
some such way as is contemplated in the “national guild.”

Under these conditions, production for profit will be subordinated
increasingly to production for need and use. Industry will be organised
no longer in the interests of capital, but in those of the community;
and the profits that may accrue will go to the community. The conduct of
the industry will be vested in a hierarchy of representative bodies
which will consist of persons chosen to act on behalf of the various
departments of production and administration; and these bodies will
range all the way up from the small shop council to the national
council. The guildsmen extend their vision further to a combination of
national councils, which will become the economic parliament of the
nation, empowered to handle its commercial and industrial affairs and
leaving the legislature to occupy itself with those aspects of public
life such as education, health, art, local government and so forth which
are now so grievously neglected and subordinated to the exigencies of
the commercial life of the nation.[18]

Footnote 18:

  The proposed National Industrial Council recommended by the recent
  National Industrial Conference is plainly an instalment of the
  National Guild Council.

That roughly is the guild theory. Its great advantage is that while it
eliminates competitive profit-making, it also avoids through its
emphasis upon democratic control, the danger of excessive centralisation
and bureaucratic control inherent in state socialism. On the other hand
it does not fall into the syndicalist error of antagonism to the state.
It is not without interest to point out here (in anticipation of later
discussion) that the national guild reflects on the economic side the
current tendency in political philosophy towards a doctrine of the state
which regards it as multi-cellular in nature, and would make it
federalistic in practice, in contrast with the emphasis of the last
generation upon its unitary and absolutist character. It would appear
that sovereignty is destined to be distributed among a series of
democratic functional controls.

The pressure of events has already validated many of the contentions of
the guildsman. We have seen how in the case of the woollen industries
the Government has initiated the practice of treating employers as its
own paid servants, has recognised the principle of democratic control,
has assumed the purchase and control of raw materials, and has
superseded production for profit by production for use; we have here all
the essentials of a national guild save one; and that one thing needful
is the short step from government control to public ownership. Naturally
the end of the war will bring some reaction from the position thus
achieved; yet it is impossible not to believe that the need to increase
the aggregate normal productivity of the nation, imposed by the
financial burdens of the war, will ultimately compel a further
development of these wartime tendencies. Certainly we have in the
British Labour Party some guarantee that this movement will continue.
Its memorandum on reconstruction virtually presupposes where it does not
explicitly affirm the underlying principles of the guild-movement.
“Standing as it does for the Democratic Control of Industry, the Labour
Party would think twice before it sanctioned any abandonment of the
present profitable centralisation of purchase of raw materials; of the
present carefully organised ‘rationing,’ by joint committees of the
trades concerned, of the several establishments with the materials they
require; of the present elaborate system of ‘costing’ and public audit
of manufacturers’ accounts, so as to stop the waste heretofore caused by
the mechanical inefficiency of the more backward firms, of the present
salutary publicity of manufacturing processes and expenses thus ensured;
and on the information thus obtained (in order never again to revert to
the old-time profiteering) of the present rigid fixing, for standardised
products, of maximum prices at the factory, at the warehouse of the
wholesale trader, and in the retail shop.”


“The question,” the Memorandum continues, “of the retail prices of
household commodities is emphatically the most practical of all
political issues to the woman elector. The male politicians have too
long neglected the grievances of the small household, which is the prey
of every profiteering combination.” And this brings us to the answer to
our question how far the present orientation of labour satisfies the
conditions we have laid down as necessary to worthy social progress. The
rigid fixing of the retail prices of household commodities,—the primary
necessities of life—plainly substitutes the principle of production for
need and use for that of production for profit; and while this of itself
does not eliminate the profiteer altogether, it tends so to limit the
area of exploitation as to bring the small household, which is after all
the unit of society, within reasonable distance of a healthy security of
material circumstance. Moreover, the principle of the National Minimum
virtually dissolves the connection between work and the means of
subsistence, so that the worker gains security of maintenance and a
large accession of freedom and independence. Still further, the
principle of democratic control brings to every worker complete immunity
from exploitation by those upon whom an antecedent economic advantage
has conferred power and enables him to graduate to the dignity and
responsibility of partnership.

But what then? Having achieved this new status, it is certain that he
will not be satisfied. For the thing that is stirring in the mind and
heart of organised labour to-day is something much deeper than a desire
for a more satisfactory physical life or for economic independence.
Labour is indeed unable to make articulate more than the margin of the
new desire of which it is aware; but the phenomenon which we have called
“labour unrest” properly understood, is the result of a craving,
imperious and not to be denied, for a larger life. Of this larger life
the worker instinctively feels that economic security and independence
are the indispensable pre-requisites. According to the measure of his
intelligence and insight, he is aiming for these things. That is the
inwardness of the present stirrings of organised labour. The worker
knows that while he is compelled to hire himself out at a price in order
to provide himself and his children with bread, under conditions which
make a sufficiency of bread permanently uncertain, and which virtually
deny him the opportunity of being anything more—from his first working
day to his last—than the tool of interests from which he is powerless to
detach himself, he can never become the man he might be or experience
the joy of life which his intuitions declare to be his rightful
inheritance. The greater part of life, and especially of the worker’s
life, is an unredeemed and unexplored tract; and the possibilities
hidden in those regions beyond, eye hath not seen neither hath ear
heard. But dimly and indistinctly the worker has caught glimpses of this
promised land and he has set his face that way. But he has justly
perceived that between him and the promised land lies the “great divide”
of economic disinheritance with all that it entails of insecurity and
bondage. To-day he has come so far as to be in the very act of crossing
this divide. That he does not discern clearly what manner of life awaits
him in his promised land is no wonder; for none of us know, since as yet
none of us have tasted save only in brief and transitory moments the
rare quality of the fellowship and the creative urge which belong to the
life of spiritual freedom. The British Labour Party speaks of “the
promotion of music, literature, fine art, which have been under
capitalism so grossly neglected, and upon which, so the Labour Party
holds, any real development of civilisation fundamentally depends.” This
is a hint of the “milk and honey” of the promised land, and it is only
in hints we can speak until we have entered upon our inheritance of
spiritual life, and have begun to explore its untold riches. But the
road into that land is the road of economic freedom and independence;
and that is the road which organised labour is making to-day. It has
discovered that “society, like the individual, does not live by bread
alone,—does not exist only for perpetual wealth production.” If it makes
bread and produces wealth, it is only that men may live, and living may
together strive to achieve the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

It is a fair conjecture concerning the results of this general movement,
that it will ultimately assign to the economic interests of life their
own proper secondary place. With the gradual disappearance of private
profit and wages will pass the present ascendancy of the economic motive
over the whole of life. It is significant of the intrinsic impulse of
this movement that the promoters of the national guild movement should
contemplate the separation of the conduct and control of the commercial
and industrial elements of national life from the business of the
national legislature, so that that body may attend to things other and
greater than bread. This does not mean that the economic aspects of life
will lose their proper importance; it simply means that they will be
deprived of their present paramountcy; and how much that means for the
right kind of social progress, for the development of a completely human
order of life, it is impossible to do more than fancy. But it will be a
great day when men awaken to the fact that the centre of gravity of life
is not in the body but in the mind.


To have transformed the status of the worker is, however, only a part of
the problem of work. An industrial democracy may conceivably be no
better than a glorified capitalist, a national profit-making concern.
But this keeps us still within the vicious circle of economic
domination, with the dangers of degeneration greatly increased. For in
place of individuals exploiting individuals, we should have nations
endeavouring to exploit nations—with two certain consequences, war and a
reaction to competitive individualism; and our last state would be worse
than the first. Our complete emancipation from the economic motive
requires not only a new status for the worker but _a new doctrine of
work_. Industry must no more be conceived as a means of _national_
wealth than of individual wealth.

The true doctrine of work is present in germ in the British Labour
Party’s formula of “workers whether by hand or by brain.” The inclusion
in one category of the industrial and professional classes should exert
a very profound influence upon the popular attitude to manual labour.
Much of the traditional habit of looking upon manual labour as being
intrinsically inferior to brain work is due to a stupid lack of
discrimination. For skilled labour often requires as nice a
co-ordination of mind and hand, and as sensitive a nervous organisation
as the most recondite surgery. The competent engineer is in no sense the
mental inferior of the accountant; probably the engineer has on the
whole the more highly organised mind; yet the engineer is popularly
assigned to a relatively lower social rating. The conventional social
divisions of those who work are entirely absurd and seem chiefly to
depend upon the clothes one wears. That toil is regarded as inferior
which cannot be performed without soiling clothes of a more or less
ceremonial cut.

But when once it is realised that the work of the physician or the
clergyman is different only in kind and not in social worth from the
work of the machinist or the farm-labourer, we shall have a more
reasonable basis for classification; and though it is true that the
minister (being no more immune from the pressure of social atmosphere
than other men) has not been unmindful of his stipend or the doctor of
his fee, yet both callings have preserved enough of the ideal of
disinterested social service to pass on something of the same impulse
into occupations which the common mind regards solely as means of
livelihood. This indeed, must be the first element in our doctrine of
work. It must be regarded primarily as a social service. John Ruskin
long ago tried to teach us that in every nation there were four great
intellectual professions: the soldier’s, to defend it; the pastor’s, to
teach it; the lawyer’s, to establish justice in it; and the merchant’s,
to provide for it; and it was, he added, the duty of each of these on
due occasion to die for it. What was novel in Ruskin’s doctrine was that
there was a due occasion on which a merchant should die for his country.
But why should we stop at the merchant? There is no reason why this
principle should not be extended to every kind of labour essential to
the life of the nation. At least there should be nothing inconceivable
in the idea that every member of the community should develop the same
degree and quality of social devotion. And (let it be repeated once
more) the industrial records of this time of war do make this
expectation into something more than a chimæra. The splendid social
devotion which the emergency of war has discovered and released should
and could be made a permanent asset. It is entirely a question of the
right kind of education.

If the impending revolution in the worker’s status brings with it (as it
should) a sense of genuine partnership, its natural sequel should be a
growing consciousness of participation in a great social task. Every man
would come to look upon his job as an integral and indispensable part of
the common service. This would add a new interest and worth even to the
purely mechanical tasks which the growth of large-scale production has
so greatly multiplied. It would be no more than a partial solution of
the entire problem involved in routine mechanical toil; but it would go
a great way towards mitigating its inevitable dreariness, and it would
certainly bring with it a quality of personal satisfaction in work which
working for a living at a job in which one’s sole interest is one’s hire
cannot possibly afford.


Yet neither the habit of regarding work as participation in a social
task nor the element of comradeship which we may reasonably expect to
grow out of such a way of conceiving work, nor yet the amelioration of
the purely external conditions of modern industrial production, can
possibly be accepted as furnishing a final solution of the problem of
work. It is probable that under existing conditions, some such changes
as these are all we can hope for over large areas of industrial life;
perhaps, indeed, without a general recognition of the real social
significance of large scale production, the best we can ever do will
consist of further modification of industrial conditions along these
lines. Yet all this does virtually nothing to make work a means of
worthy self-expression.

The high degree of specialisation which has followed the introduction
and improvement of industrial machinery, confines large multitudes of
people to occupations which consist of repeating the same small routine
operation all day and every day; and the mentally benumbing and
demoralising consequences of this type of work is one of the
commonplaces of social observation. Not the least of the social services
of Trade Unionism is that it has furnished to men occupied in purely
mechanical work an interest which has helped to keep their minds alive.
It is rarely recognised how inevitably certain of our graver social
evils are connected with the devitalising influences of modern
industrial conditions. Undoubtedly one of the most powerful causes of
the deadly grip of the drink traffic upon society is the opportunity it
provides of reaction from the depressing and deadening round of the
shop. The saloon strikes a kind of psychological balance with the
factory. The well-meaning persons who suppose that open spaces, museums,
art galleries, and the like will furnish effectual off-sets to the
public house, overlook the fact that the peculiar depression to which
the factory worker is subjected demands a relief more vivid and more
violent than these more refined avenues of diversion offer. Temperance
reformers have greatly neglected this aspect of their problem; and
prohibition without any accompanying provision for the healthy
equilibration of human energies is likely to have consequences that may
astonish and perhaps confound its advocates.

But the remedy for this and the other penalties which society has to pay
for its industrial system is not to be found in the abandonment of
large-scale processes and reversion to an earlier fashion of production.
Machinery certainly supplanted a more human, kindlier way of life; and
not even the extensive factory legislation which has tempered the worst
excesses of the new way, has compensated for the passing of the
amenities of the older system. We have, however, to count upon the
permanence and the still further extension of large-scale processes.
Obviously it is not intrinsically an evil thing, potentially it is an
asset of incalculable value to society. Even its monotonies have their
uses; for a certain amount of routine work is good for every man. It is
only evil when it is excessive. The disadvantages which belong to
large-scale production are on the whole incidental, and owe their origin
chiefly to _laissez faire_ and the economic motive. Once this vicious
connection is dissolved and production for need and use becomes the
general rule, the very proficiency of our large-scale processes will
liberate a great volume of human energy for the pursuit of the spiritual
ends of life.

For the elimination of the profit-interest, and the regulation of
production on the basis of calculated demand, will at once lead to a
very considerable diminution in the number of working hours. It is
questionable whether, with industrial processes properly organised, it
would be necessary for any man to spend more than four hours a day in
the actual production of necessities. This refers, of course, to the
strictly mechanical departments of production. In agriculture, which
depends upon seasons and weather conditions, it is obvious that a
standardised day is impracticable. Moreover, agriculture is an avocation
which has its own peculiar compensations. It is carried on in the
open-air and has elements of variety and change to which the industrial
worker is a stranger. Yet, even in agriculture the great extension of
mechanical and labour-saving instruments should go far to mitigate the
acknowledged disadvantages of the life. The evils attaching to the work
of the farmer and his labourer are, however, largely extrinsic. It is
the dullness and monotony of his spare hours that weigh most heavily
upon him.[19] With the industrial, it is different. He does not lack
opportunity of social life in so much as he lives normally in large
populous centres; but the atonic condition to which he is reduced by the
circumstances of his work, renders him incapable of creating and
enjoying the best kind of fellowship. He is either too weary for any
kind of fellowship and sits at home reading the newspaper, and then to
bed; or he turns in his need of compensating excitement to the
questionable atmosphere of the public-house. A small minority of tougher
mental and nervous fibre will cultivate an allotment or seek diversion
in books or sport; but the majority have neither inclination nor energy
for any active pursuits. The remedy for this trouble lies in the drastic
shortening of the working day for all men who are engaged in the
mechanical process of production. With the increasing application of
science to industry, under conditions of production for use, it is
impossible to say how short the necessary working day may become. And if
it became the rule, as it probably should, that no member of society
should be exempt from a share in the work of maintaining its natural
life and so take his part in mechanical production, there is no reason
why the indispensable mechanical toil expected of the individual should
not be reduced to a very low point indeed.

Footnote 19:

  The present wholly inadequate remuneration of the agricultural
  labourer does not come under discussion here, as the argument assumes
  that the principle of the national minimum is accepted. This
  assumption is the more reasonable in view of the fact that in England
  a minimum wage for agricultural labourers has been fixed and is to
  operate for five years.

If in addition men are trained from childhood to take the view that this
toil is a necessary social task, and therefore, intrinsically noble and
honourable, the whole atmosphere in which it is discharged would be
organically changed. To-day, the prevailing note of speed and
competition reduces the place and sense of comradeship to very narrow
limits. The general attitude of antagonism between capital and labour
infects the air, and not only makes co-operation between the
administrative and productive functions impossible, but introduces a
subtle poison of disintegration into the mutual relations of the
operatives. The only comradeship which appears to exist is that which is
created by the need under present conditions of safeguarding class
interests. When men of all classes have been brought up to regard a
certain amount of mechanical toil as an honourable obligation to the
society to which they belong, they will naturally accept their share in
the common task and bring themselves to it in a spirit of comradeship.


But it is useless to suppose that we have done all that is needed when
we have thus relieved the irksomeness of the day’s work. Indeed, we have
(if we leave it at that) only created a great peril—the peril of
deterioration which always attends unused or ill-used leisure. “Satan
finds some mischief still for idle hands to do;” and the antidote to
idleness lies in providing things to do that unoccupied hands will turn
to do with readiness. Yet it were fatal to regard this as a problem of
utilising spare time. We have indeed a greater and worthier task on
hand; and the drastic shortening of the statutory working day provides
us with our opportunity.

Genuine social progress and content is, as we have seen, to be achieved
only under conditions where men have the opportunity, and are trained in
the exercise of the instinct of creativeness. For the great majority of
men, the means of this self-expression must be found in some sort of
manual activity. It must take the form of work. Perhaps the solution
lies in the principle of “one man, two trades”; of which one shall be
some part of the mechanical toil involved in social upkeep, and the
other a craft in which a man may exercise and express something of his
own independent mind. Possibly we may distinguish the two types of
occupation as utility-trades and vocations, the one necessary quality of
the latter being that men should be able to put their whole souls into
their tasks; and in so far as these tasks are of a direct productive
kind, since they are not tasks of mere utility, they may fitly be tasks
of beauty as well. We require something of the nature of a revival of
the older type of craftsmanship in which the æsthetic faculties found
room for expression; and in the matter of clothing and house-furniture
and decoration there is ample room for the development of a revived
craftsmanship where use will go hand in hand with beauty. It should
plainly be an organic part of educational policy to provide for the
early laying of the foundations of original and creative craftsmanship.
In any wise system of education, the period of adolescence should be
marked by a very definite differentiation of vocational training
(without neglecting the other elements of a generous education).
Aptitudes should be watched for; and the growth of the youth should be
stimulated along the lines of his natural inclinations. Especially
should any signs of independent and original creative power be
encouraged. Change of this sort can, of course be brought about only
gradually; but it should be faced seriously if society is ever to be
emancipated from its baleful subjection to the economic motive.

That we find it difficult to believe that any change along these lines
is possible is due chiefly to a lack of acquaintance with any other
conditions than those which exist to-day. But William Morris and John
Ruskin found no difficulty in believing that men would work “for the joy
of the working,” provided that they had work to do which had in it the
elements of joy. It was so that they worked themselves; and the
substance of their teaching was a plea that work should be made once
more a delight by being raised to the plane of art—that is to say, that
it might become the avenue of independent creative self-expression. It
would doubtless take several generations before this doctrine could be
established as a habit of mind and society organised conformably to it,
but it is no cheap speculation which foresees, arising out of a
progressive liberation and discipline of the creative instincts of a
community, a new birth of art. The creative urge would, like the sun,
shoot out coronas of flaming achievement; art itself might climb to a
plane it has never hitherto known and break out in directions which we
in our present state of spiritual purblindness cannot anticipate. At
least, it is something to be remembered that those days in England in
which industry was alive with a fine craftsmanship and a generous
comradeship, were also the days which produced the finest monuments of
English art.


The organisation of society upon lines of this kind would be a
protracted and difficult task; and here one is concerned more with the
definition of a tendency rather than the precise measures necessary to
make it effective. Obviously there must be large exceptions to any rule
of life in any vital and developing social order. But the reduction of
mechanical toil to the lowest practicable point, and a generous
development of the idea and practice of the vocational life seem to be
essential. And the general principle which we desire for mechanical
tasks of production should be applied in other regions, as for instance
in the distributive trades and in those occupations which are concerned
with the disposal of waste. The increasing emphasis on hygiene has led
to the multiplication of a number of “waste-occupations,” the
street-cleaner, the drain-man, the garbage-man and so forth. Within this
region we have every right to expect so large an extension of scientific
and mechanical methods of dealing with the waste products of life as to
make some at least of these occupations wholly superfluous. This type of
occupation has meantime, the very undesirable and injurious effect of
relegating those who are engaged in it to a condition of much social
inferiority; and this is the more unjust, insomuch as the health of the
community depends so greatly upon its being faithfully performed. It was
a happy inspiration to clothe the New York street-cleaners in white; and
it should have a sacramental suggestion for their fellow citizens. For
we are familiar with a word which describes a multitude “arrayed in
white garments.” The innovation established a point of contact between
urban cleanliness and holiness; and it is within this cycle of social
judgment that the waste occupations should be placed. We should then
take more kindly to the only equitable solution of the problem presented
by this class of work, namely that it should be shared out and that all
the members of the community should be liable to be called out in
companies, as they are now for jury service, to do their part of this
indispensable work. This brings the waste occupations into the same
category as the productive trades; in point of fact, it is there they
really belong. There can be no intrinsic difference of worth between the
work of providing for the needs of society and the work of disposing of
its waste. For without either of these, society cannot live.

The only class for which there should be no room in a healthy social
order is the social parasite. It is to this class that the “idle rich”
belong, the people who neither toil nor spin yet fare sumptuously every
day at the expense of the labour of others. To this class also belongs
the large “flunkey” class—butlers, footmen, door-openers, and other
uniformed persons who are arrayed in fine apparel doing little things
for us that we ought to do for ourselves. It is just neither to these
persons nor to society that they should be allowed to continue in
careers of such complete uselessness. So far as Europe is concerned this
class has already largely disappeared, for the Army or industry has
swallowed it up; and it is not likely ever to re-emerge on the pre-war
scale. We must add also to this parasitic class those who are engaged in
luxury trades—with the _caveat_ that it is exceedingly difficult to draw
a strict frontier line between necessity and luxury on the one hand, and
on the other, between luxury and the thing that may minister to the
legitimate comfort, the health, the beauty and the general enrichment of
life. But there are some things so palpably on the wrong side of the
line that there should be no difficulty in identifying them. It is a
subject worth some reflection here that the war is teaching us to do
without many things which we had come to regard as necessities. It is a
sad commentary upon the civilisation we had produced, that it left us
with a hunger which we endeavoured to appease by an elaboration of the
fringes of life. We had gradually accumulated a range of comforts and
conveniences, and not a few superfluities, which had come to be regarded
as indispensable. But the war has taught us how few things are after all
needful. We have all the materials of joyful life when we have food to
eat, a home to live in, freedom and congenial work, comradeship and
love. And unless these become more and more the sure possession of all,
our social progress is no more than a laborious sham.


                               Chapter V.
                      THE ACHIEVEMENT OF FREEDOM.

    “When we say that one animal is higher than another, we mean that it
    is more able to control its own destiny. Progress is just this:
    Increase in Freedom.”—STEWART MCDOWALL.

    “Ne vous laissez pas tromper par de vaines paroles. Plusieurs
    chercheront a vous persuader que vous êtes vraiment libres, parce
    qu’ils auront écrit sur une feuille de papier le mot de liberté et
    l’auront affiché à tous les carrefours.

    La liberté n’est pas un placard qu’on lit au coin de la rue. Elle
    est une puissance vivante qu’on sent en soi et autour de soi, le
    génie protecteur du foyer domestique, la garantie des droits
    sociaux, et le premier de ces droits.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    La liberté luira sur vous quand, a force de courage et de
    persévérance, vous vous serez affranchis de toutes ces servitudes.”



POLITICAL and religious freedom cannot be complete without the winning
of economic freedom. That economic dependence cuts the nerve of all
freedom needs no proof; the history of landownership is full of
instances—even in recent times—of the coercion of dependants in matters
of opinion and religious observance. So long as one man’s subsistence
depends upon the will of another, it is foolish to suppose that he can
in any real sense be free; and it is to be counted for righteousness to
the Trade Unions that by binding the workers together, they have been
able to resist encroachments on the part of the vested interests upon
liberty of thought and conscience. Nevertheless, while the present
acceptances of the industrial order prevail, the worker still lacks that
liberty of the person without which the liberty of the mind, the crown
and safeguard of all liberty, can never be more than partial. It is true
that the serf was tied to the land in a way in which the modern worker
is not tied to his job. Yet the difference is more apparent than real;
for the worker has obtained this freedom at the cost of that security of
subsistence which the serf did undoubtedly to some extent enjoy. The
worker may also choose his master as the serf could not; but it is
nevertheless the choice of _a master_, a man who dictates the terms and
conditions of employment, except in so far as the principle of
collective bargaining has succeeded in entering in and modifying the
magisterial power of the employer. Freedom of thought and conscience is
a vain thing except a man be able to translate thought into act and to
obey the injunctions of his conscience; and so long as a system,
industrial or other, imposes restrictions upon a man’s control of his
own person, he does not possess that mobility with which his own
personal growth and his ultimate social efficiency are organically bound
up. To complete our heritage of freedom, it is essential that the worker
should receive a guarantee of economic security. His mind and his
conscience mud be delivered from the fear of starvation; for to-day it
is only at the risk of exposing himself and his children to hunger that
he is able to assert his liberty within the industrial region.[20]

Footnote 20:

  Upon the broader effects of the economic factor of property rights
  upon liberty, see pp. 246f.

It is further to be noted that industrial conditions circumscribe the
mind in another more subtle and probably more dangerous way; for a man
may assert—and indeed men have often done so—his liberty of thought, and
so save his mind even at the risk of starvation. The evolution of the
machine industry has been in a direction which continually decreases the
activity of the mind. It requires no more than habituation to a routine
process which makes no demand for initiative and independent judgment on
the part of the worker. This is apt to lead to a mental inertia which
accords well with that bondage of the person which the wage system
entails; and this is no doubt the reason (at least in great part) of the
general apathy of large masses of the workers in the past to progressive
industrial movements. And so long as there is ample and easy opportunity
for those parts of the physical and nervous organism which have laid
inert through the working day to strike a balance of expenditure with
the rest—in the drinking-shop or elsewhere—there seems to be no reason
why a large proportion of the workers should not sink into a permanent
helot class. We are apt to forget that the progressive elements of the
labour movement have not hitherto constituted or represented by a great
deal the total mass of the working population; and there has been a real
menace to the growth of liberty involved in the possibility that the
apathetic elements of the working class might be hardened into a virtual
serfdom. For the presence in any society of a permanently unprivileged
and disabled element which is condemned in perpetuity to do its menial
work is the undoing not only of liberty, but at last of the society

The problem of liberty resolves itself therefore into that of the
liberty of the mind. The coming achievement of economic independence is
due largely to the circumstance that the Trade Unions have afforded a
sanctuary for intellectual freedom against the danger of encroachment
upon it by the system of private capital and the conditions of the
machine industry.[21] It must, however, be remembered that the freedom
of the mind is dependent on factors other than external; and chiefly
upon the capacity to use mind in coherent and purposeful ways. A mind
capable of such use will not long remain bound. This aspect of the
problem belongs properly to the sphere of education; and it is in that
setting only that it can be profitably handled. At this point our
concern is with the external conditions of mental freedom.

Footnote 21:

  It is worth noticing that on the other hand, the growth of the machine
  industry has itself indirectly co-operated in this process. “It
  follows as a consequence of the large and increasing requirements
  enforced by the machine technology that the period of preliminary
  training is necessarily longer, and the schooling demanded for general
  preparation grows unremittingly more exacting. So that, apart from all
  question of humanitarian sentiment or of popular fitness for
  democratic citizenship, it has become a matter of economic expediency,
  simply as a proposition in technological efficiency at large, to
  enforce the exemption of children from industrial employment until a
  later date and to extend their effective school age appreciably beyond
  what would once have been sufficient to meet all the commonplace
  requirements of skilled workmanship.” (Thorstein Veblen, _The Instinct
  of Workmanship_, p. 309.) This educational process has had
  consequences beyond those immediately sought. The quickening and
  enlargement of mind which have followed even the very inadequate
  education hitherto provided in the common schools, have made a very
  considerable contribution to the movement for economic emancipation.


Lord Acton’s definition of liberty, already quoted, as “the assurance
that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes to be his
duty against the influence of authority, custom and opinion,” suggests
that the test of the quality and measure of liberty in a particular
community, lies in its attitude to and its treatment of dissent—or to
put it in another way, its treatment of minorities. And it is plainly
true that the freedom of the mind is a pure fiction except it be freedom
to dissent from the common acceptances of the community. Speaking
generally, the common tendency is toward the suppression of dissent
especially if it be of a radical type, in all kinds of communities,
democratic or otherwise. In some cases, the suppression is dictated by
the obvious requirements of an authoritarian polity, in which case it is
systematic and deliberate; but this is on the whole less dangerous than
the informal and unorganised suppression or opposition which springs out
of the mental inertia of the multitude, the lethargy which is bred of
hatred of change, and especially out of the prejudice which is easily
and successfully generated in the minds of the ignorant by those whose
interests would be imperilled by change. It is only by a recognition of
the social significance and value of dissent, and the important part it
has played in historical progress, that we are likely to reach a proper
understanding of the true democratic attitude to it. In the history of
religion, it is plain that dissent has almost always proved to be the
organ of advance, and if not of advance, at least of a saner balance of
religious faith and practice; and it may be said with not a little
assurance that whether in church or state, the dissent that has gained a
reasonable following has been evoked by the need of vindicating some
natural right or emphasising some truth or fact of experience which was
neglected or obscured in the traditional syntheses. It may still further
be stated, that whereas dissent has been denounced by its contemporaries
as disruptive and hostile to social solidarity, it has in point of fact
been the product of a larger social vision than that current in the
existing conventions. Dissent has usually been created by the desire to
broaden the basis of human fellowship.

This will be seen by an appeal to the mental outlook of the dissenter.
Of course every dissenting movement has been hampered and prejudiced,
and its ideals muddied by the adhesion to it of temperamental rebels,
and the type of crank which gathers around any standard of revolt, just
as the opposition to dissent has been degraded by its readiness to
accept the help of “lewd fellows of the baser sort.” But when one
penetrates to the core of the movement in the mind of its chief
exponents we find ourselves in a peculiarly pure and stimulating air.
The great historical rebels have almost invariably been actuated by a
social passion.

Some day perhaps a competent student may give us a work upon the
psychology of the rebel. That there is something typical about the
mentality of the great rebels may be gathered even from a cursory
reading of a few obvious biographies. There is usually an abnormal
mental sensitiveness combined with great physical restlessness, a keen
craving for comradeship, combined with fondness for solitude and lonely
meditation, a vivid perception of present evils together with a passion
for a future which should restore some ancient simplicity, a
tendency—once the first step in revolt has been taken,—to broaden the
rebellious front to include other issues, a frequent admixture of
integrity of character with a certain irregularity of conduct. Yet this
is only the psychological basis; and the real _differentia_ of the true
rebel lies in the character of the occasion which crystallises his
mental make-up into a definite course of action.

Disraeli used to speak of the “two nations” which inhabited England.
These were the privileged people and the disinherited. But that is a
phenomenon peculiar neither to England nor to the modern world. It is
the great permanent line which divides the human race from top to bottom
into two classes. We belong either to the exploiting race or the
exploited, are either top dogs or under-dogs. The Greek cities with all
their emphasis upon freedom yet thought of it as the prerogative of the
few. “There were vague beginnings of a new ideal in Athens, but even in
Athens personal liberty such as is now connected with the word
‘democracy’ was confined to a very small percentage of the
population.”[22] The remainder were women and slaves upon whose
subordination the entire social order rested. The line of division has
not always been political or economic. In our own time the acute sense
of disinheritance has been the main-spring of the feminist movement. In
religion especially the cleavage has been conspicuous. The Reformation
controversy about the layman’s rights to receive the chalice in the
Sacrament was at bottom a repudiation of the tradition of a privileged
caste; and every considerable reformation of religion has involved a
challenge to priestcraft on the part of a disinherited laity.

Footnote 22:

  G. D. Burns, _Greek Ideals_, p. 76.

It is the clear perception of this circumstance—the subordination of
that mass which we commonly designate “the people,” the appeal of a
disinherited class, of “the army of workers,” as Lord Morley said, “who
make the most painful sacrifices for the continuous nutrition of the
social organisation,” which constitutes the decisive factor in shaping
the rebel’s mind and course of life. It sometimes happens that a
combination of circumstances throws the need of the disinherited into
sharp relief, and the ensuing ferment creates the leader _ad hoc_, as it
were. The disintegration of the old feudal bonds in England liberated
the social discontent which roused John Ball and made him the inspirer
of the Peasants’ Revolt. Dr. Lindsay in his _History of the Reformation_
tells us of the existence of an active and wide-spread evangelical piety
in Germany long before the Reformation, and it was the sharp contrast
between the spiritual hunger of the people and the barren externality
and corruption of mediæval ecclesiasticism, at last brought to a head by
Tetzel’s peddling of indulgences, that precipitated Luther’s crisis and
with it the Reformation. The crisis in the early development of Kansas
undoubtedly marked a stage in John Brown’s development. But whether we
may be able or not to trace decisive occasions of this kind in the life
of the rebel, the common mark of the rebel mind is a passion for the
common people. It has been said of Rousseau that “it was because he had
seen the wrongs of the poor not from without but from within, not as a
pitying spectator but as one of their own company, that he by and by
brought such fire to the attack of the old order and changed the blank
practice of the older philosophers into a deadly affair of ball and
shell.” Similarly Professor Dowden says of Shelley that “it was the
sufferings of the industrious poor that especially claimed his sympathy;
and he thought of publishing for them a series of popular songs which
should inspire them with heart and hope.”[23] Tolstoi, according to
Romain Rolland, had for the labouring people a “strange affection,
absolutely genuine,” which his repeated disillusionments were powerless
to shake. Sometimes, as in the case of Glendower, Mazzini and
“nationalist” rebels generally, it is not the case of a disinherited
class but of an oppressed nation which shapes the rebel’s course. The
great rebel in every case is made by the lure of the disinherited.

Footnote 23:

  Dowden, _Life of Shelley_, p. 437. The “Songs and Poems for the Men of
  England,” were published in 1819, after Shelley’s death.

But it is not only compassion for the disinherited which moves the
rebel, but a profound faith in their power to work out their own
salvation. The appeal to the people has been of the essence of rebel
policy. The Peasants’ Revolt in England was stimulated by John Ball’s
doggerel verse, which was specially intended to stir discontent.
“Wyclif,” says John Richard Green, “appealed, and the appeal is
memorable as the first of such a kind in our history, to England at
large. With an amazing industry, he issued tract after tract in the
tongue of the people itself.” He wrote “in the rough, clear homely
English” of the ploughman and trader of his day. The Tractarians of a
later date were only imitating their great Oxford precursor when they
went distributing their tracts from door to door. But Wyclif did not
confine his popular appeal to tracts. His order of “poor preachers,”
“whose coarse sermons and long russet dress moved the laughter of the
clergy, formed a priceless organisation for the diffusion of their
master’s teaching.” John Brown addressed his propaganda at an early
stage to the negro; and it is hardly doubtful that his hopes chiefly
centred at last upon a general rising of negroes in support of his
campaign. Long before, John Hus had carried his appeal to the Bohemian
people, as Arnauld of Port Royal, convicted of Jansenism at the
Sorbonne, designed to place his case before the French. Pascal’s
Provincial Letters were deliberately composed as an appeal from the
ecclesiastics to the public. The great emphasis upon public preaching
during the Reformation was derived from this same faith in the efficacy
of popular appeal. It is sufficiently well known to need no further
remark than the reminder that in this way the rebel has made important
contributions to the literary as well as the social and religious
history of his people.

The paradox of the rebel, then, is this, that while he has been assailed
as a subverter of social order, his own driving force has been a social
sense quicker and broader than that of his orthodox contemporaries. He
attacked the existing social organisation only to break down walls that
hindered fellowship. He heard the call of the disinherited and it became
in his heart a call to lead them into that heritage of opportunity of
which they were cheated by the cupidity and cunning of the great. He
assailed the Bastilles of constituted authority, and battered hoary
institutions that people might—at this point or that—come into their
own. He sought to fling out wide the frontiers of privilege that the
poor and the outcast might come into a world of larger life.

Mr. Wells has recently told us that “from the first dawn of the human
story” man has been “pursuing the boundary of his possible community.”
But the prime agent of this pursuit has been the dissenter. Dissent has
proved itself to be the growing point of society. Yet the dissenter has
been stoned and hanged by his contemporaries. Must it ever be so? Is
there no conceivable social order in which it shall be unnecessary to
treat the moral pioneer as a criminal? As yet we have not achieved it.
Our limit hitherto has been a kind of toleration rather grudgingly
accorded so long as the dissenter does not disturb us over much. But no
society will ever be truly free until it has reached the point not only
of frank toleration but of the serious encouragement of dissenting
opinion. For dissent is after all only a manifestation of the “_elan
vitale_” of a living society; and it should be greeted with a cheer. A
society incapable of dissent or of tolerating it has entered upon its
last phase.


The problem of dissent, however, goes deeper than the realm of opinion.
Dissenting opinion would not trouble Israel so long as it remained pure
opinion. The difficulty begins when opinion is translated into action.
William James said that a belief always discharges itself in an act; and
this supplies us with a convenient working distinction between a belief
and an opinion. But this brings us into a region where other forces
begin to operate, and particularly that inner constraint to act in
obedience to one’s belief which we call conscience. From the days when
Plato spoke of his [Greek: daimôn] to ours, the dissenter has always
claimed that he acted because he “could do no other.” He submitted to
what he believed to be the instance of a moral order from which he could
not appeal. His contemporaries either derided his conscience or charged
him with hypocrisy; but it is worth some consideration that the
contemporary judgment was reversed in almost every case.

It is essential that we should attempt to work out the problem of the
relation of conscience to the achievement of liberty in view of the
extreme danger which lurks in the recent contemptuous criticism of the
conscientious objector. “The duty of obeying conscience at all hazards”
(to quote Newman), is valid only so long as we agree with Newman that
conscience is “the aboriginal vicar of Christ,” that is to say, that it
is the inner embodiment of an irrevocable and infrangible moral order.
This does not, of course, imply that every “conscientious objector”
interprets the moral order rightly, but simply that it is, as and in so
far as he sees it, the moral order for him. His judgment may be
fallacious; but what is in question is not so much the soundness of his
judgment as the sincerity of his conviction; and we are rather apt to
forget that moral sincerity is a greater asset to society than a logical
correctitude. It is difficult to see how any one who takes a “religious”
view of the world can escape this conviction. Even Lord Morley, who
speaks of “the higher expediencies” where a religious believer might
speak of an ultimate moral order, reaches the judgment that this is a
region in which no man ought to compromise. It is on this account
singular that the most drastic criticism of the conscientious objector,
both in England and America, has come from ministers of religion; and it
is more singular still that this severity of criticism should have
chiefly come from ministers of the non-authoritarian churches which were
born out of the struggle for the rights of conscience.

When Gladstone challenged English Catholics to say how they would act in
the event of a collision between the commands of the Queen and the Pope,
the greatest of modern English Catholics took up the gage and gave
answer. “It is my _rule_,” said Newman, “both to obey the one and to
obey the other; but that there is no rule in this world without
exceptions; and that if either the Pope or the Queen demanded of me an
‘Absolute Obedience,’ he or she would be transgressing the laws of human
nature and human society. I give an absolute obedience to neither.
Further, if ever this double allegiance pulled me in contrary ways which
in this age of the world I think it never will, then I should decide
according to the particular case, which is beyond all rule and must be
decided on its own merits. I should look to see what theologians could
do for me, what the Bishops and Clergy around me, what my confessor,
what my friends whom I revered, and if, after all, I could not take
their view of the matter, then I must rule myself by my own judgment and
my own conscience.”[24] He then goes on to insist upon “the duty of
obeying our conscience at all hazards” and supports his view by an
appeal to weighty Roman authorities. “Certainly,” he concluded, “if I am
obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts (which indeed does
not seem quite the thing) I shall drink—to the Pope, if you please—still
to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.”[25]

Footnote 24:

  _Letter to the Duke of Norfolk_, p. 69. (New York, 1875.)

Footnote 25:

  _Letter to the Duke of Norfolk_, p. 86. For a luminous discussion of
  this episode see H. J. Laski, _Studies in the Problems of
  Sovereignty_, pp. 121f.

Forty years before this English controversy, a great French Catholic
found himself in this dilemma. No man had more consistently maintained
the duty of submission to the Pope than Lamennais. His hard fight for
religious liberty in France was precisely for the right of the Catholic
to render the Pope a full and undivided allegiance in all matters
relating to the content and practice of faith. But a time came when the
Pope came to exact from Lamennais a submission he was unable to make. As
he would not allow the state to have jurisdiction in the spiritual
sphere, so he denied to the Pope jurisdiction in the civil. The Pope
would not consent to this modification of his claim to authority and
demanded of Lamennais an unqualified submission. Whereupon Lamennais
replied, “Most Holy Father, a word from your Holiness is always enough
for me, not only to obey it in all that religion ordains but to comply
with it in all that conscience allows.”[26] “Outside the Church,” he
wrote to the Countess de Senfft, “in the strictly temporal order, and
more particularly in that which touches the affairs of my country, I do
not recognise any authority which has the right to impose an opinion
upon me or to dictate my conduct. I say it emphatically, in that sphere
which is not that of the spiritual power, I will never renounce my
independence as a man; nor will I, for thought or action, ever take
counsel but of my conscience and my reason.”[27] In this course,
Lamennais followed the judgment of Cardinal Jacobatus, in what Newman
calls his “authoritative work upon councils.” “If it were doubtful
whether a precept (of the Pope) be a sin or not, we must determine thus:
that if he to whom the precept is addressed has a conscientious sense
that it is a sin and injustice; first, it is his duty to put off that
sense; but if he cannot nor conform himself to the judgment of the Pope,
in that case it is his duty to follow his own private conscience, and
patiently to bear it if the Pope punishes him.”[28]

Footnote 26:

  Boutard, _Lamennais, sa via et ses doctrines II._, p. 382.

Footnote 27:

  _Ibid_, II., p. 370.

Footnote 28:

  Quoted in Newman, _Letter to the Duke of Norfolk_, p. 85.
  Nevertheless, when Lamennais followed the instances of his conscience,
  Pope Gregory XVI. in the Bull _Mirari vos_ took occasion to describe
  “liberty of conscience” as “cette maxime absurde et erronée,” “cette
  pernicieuse erreur,” “cette liberté funeste.”

At first sight there appears to be no real analogy between the case of
the conscientious objector to war, as we have recently known him, and
that propounded by Newman. Newman postulates a conflict of loyalties to
two societies whose requirements are at a given point antagonistic,
before invoking the arbitrament of conscience. The conscientious
objector is conceived as setting his own private judgment against the
will of the only society to which he owes allegiance. That is, at least,
how it looks on the surface. But in point of fact, the conscientious
objector as a rule bases his action on the ground of loyalty to a
certain view of human relationships, that is to say, to a social ideal;
and in the case of a man like Stephen Hobhouse whose social idealism has
been validated by a unique realism of self-renunciation and sacrifice,
it would be idle to deny that the conflict of loyalties was very
concrete and authentic. The Socialist conscientious objector who sees in
the International, if not the city of God, at least its threshold, and
who does not conceive himself absolved from his loyalty to it even
though the German socialists betrayed it, is moved by no personal
eccentricity, but by a real social emotion. A sympathetic study of the
conscientious objector brings him according to his measure into the same
category as the historical leaders of dissenting movements. The decisive
moral surrenders which quicken and ennoble life are acts of obedience to
a social vision; and the only really moral attitude to men who make
these surrenders, however variously they may make them, is that of the
dedication of a recent volume—“To all who are fighting for conscience’
sake, whether in the trenches or in prison.”[29] It is well for the
community that it should have those within it who are ready to endure
obloquy and imprisonment rather than be guilty of what is to them a
moral apostasy.

Footnote 29:

  Dr. Orchard’s fine _The Outlook for Religion_.

The conscientious objector—whatever the subject matter of his
dissent—has always been an exasperating figure to his orthodox
contemporaries. This is, of course, largely due to the inertia and the
dislike of dissent which settle upon middle-aged communities; but at the
present time it is probable that the impatience with the conscientious
objector springs from other and more respectable sources. Yet by a
curious paradox the two principal sources are logically antithetical.

The first is the circumstance that the mental habit of this generation
has been profoundly affected by the supremacy of the machine. Its
characteristic intellectual achievement is the pragmatist philosophy;
and as much in religion and sociology as in the physical sciences its
main pre-occupation is with processes. It requires efficiency for
immediate concrete objects rather more than faithfulness to what seems
to be remote and imponderable abstractions. Conscientious objection is
irritating because it is so palpably futile, and indeed so vexatiously
obstructive of the business in hand. Not only does it not _work_, it
actually hinders the work in which the multitude is engaged. It puts the
machine out of gear; in a supreme emergency when all hands should be at
the pumps, the conscientious objector puts us to the trouble of putting
him in irons. That is obviously—and naturally—how the case looks. The
gulf between the conscientious objector and common opinion is made by a
difference of emphasis upon principle and process. The conscientious
objector—being perhaps a sort of reversion to a less sophisticated
age—puts the process to the test of principle and finds them
incompatible. Common opinion, in the exercise of a presumably more
realistic judgment says, “This is the only process available; let us
make the best use of it we can, and take the risk of coming to terms
with principles afterwards, if that be necessary.” The one hitches his
wagon to a star; the other hitches it to anything that is going his way.
Upon the merits of this kind of controversy, contemporary judgments are
notoriously unsafe; unfortunately, none of us will be living at the time
when it will be possible to say with assurance who was in this case the
true realist after all. Meantime, the conscientious objector, however
despised, may help us to a healthier balance between ultimate principle
and immediate process than any of us have had this many a day.

But along with the mechanistic habit of thought, there is a survival of
the Hegelian idealism which has been chiefly responsible for the modern
apothesis of the national state. It is not the Prussian only who has
affirmed the sovereignty and omnicompetency of the state and its right
to undivided obedience; but being more mechanically and remorselessly
logical than his neighbours, he has carried the doctrine to a more
definite point. But it seems to be generally assumed in all popular
political thinking that our loyalty to the state should be not only
first but absolute over all the other loyalties of life. In our day this
view has received, particularly in democratic communities, a subtle and
plausible reinforcement from the growing emphasis upon the fact of
social solidarity with its implication that the consensus of the
community fixes the norm of conduct. A man’s conscience should reflect
the collective conscience of the society. Moreover, the egalitarian
populates of republican democracy are construed to require a uniformity
of conduct no less complete than that demanded by the political theory
of autocracy; and the unpardonable sin is to break the ranks. “The true
democratic principle,” says Lord Acton, “that every man’s free will
shall be as unfettered as possible, is taken to mean that the free will
of the collective people shall be fettered in nothing.”[30] Democracy
which has sloughed the archaism of aristocracy has yet to outgrow the
Austinian doctrine of sovereignty if it is not to be in danger of
ceasing to be the sanctuary and becoming the grave of liberty, and with
liberty of much else beside. When it no longer tolerates the
nonconformist and the moral pioneer, “its doom is writ;” for once more
let it be repeated that historically dissent of this type has always
proved to be the growing point of society.

Footnote 30:

  Lord Acton, _The History of Liberty_.

This is not a plea for the conscientious objector but for democracy.
Newman said that if the Pope spoke against conscience, “he would commit
a suicidal act. He would be cutting the ground from under his feet.” The
authority of the Pope is not shaken because he concedes to conscience
the liberty of dissent; rather it is confirmed. Even more so do the
stability and growth of democracy depend upon its recognition of the
inviolability of the individual conscience; for democracy cannot live
except its roots be deep struck in the moral nature of man. The ultimate
battleground of democracy is in men’s hearts; and its appeal must at
last ever be to men’s consciences. But the appeal to conscience has no
meaning unless conscience be free; and when democracy constrains men’s
consciences it is writing off its own spiritual charter. Even in time of
war it is safer for democracy to let a hundred shirkers go scot-free
rather than run the risk of penalising an honest conscience. For by its
affirmation of the sovereignty of conscience it reinforces the
consciences of all its members and wins the deeper loyalty of those who
are constrained to dissent from its policy on particular issues.


The growth of the democratic ideal is bound up with the acceptance of
the freedom of the mind in all its consequences—even at the risk of some
disorder; and the difficulty which political democracy is apt even in
normal times to find in conforming to this view is due to the fact that
it has not yet perceived the logic of its own first principles. This in
its turn is at least to some extent to be accounted for by the survival
in democracies of mediæval conceptions of authority. We do not need to
take into account those doctrines of authority which are begotten of the
divine right of kings and are now clearly at their last gasp. The divine
right of kings is, however, assumed to have fallen upon democratic
governments; and though they may not exercise authority for the same
ends as an autocrat of the old style, yet they conceive of it as
operating in the same way. Theoretically, authority in democracies is
exercised in the interests of social justice; but we still suppose that
the discipline of social justice must be imposed upon men from without.

Apparently the assumption underlying the authoritarian position is that
human nature is incurably anarchic, that it is its instinctive tendency
to be wayward and disruptive, and that there is no remedy for this state
of things except that of putting it in a cage, of surrounding it with a
fine mesh of arrests, checks and restraints. This view may owe something
of its modern strength to the theological doctrine of the total
depravity of human nature—a dogma no longer held by sane people. We know
that if we do hold a doctrine of original sin it must be held together
with the no less true doctrine of original goodness. But the
authoritarian is theologically orthodox; man to him is a born rebel, a
natural anarchist; he holds that he is organically antisocial; and there
is therefore nothing to do with him but to treat him like a wild animal
and put him behind bars. It is of course possible to subdue anarchy in
this way, and to produce some kind of order—for a time. But it should be
observed that what happens is that liberty is not so much disciplined as
denied; and as it appears to be the inherent, and incurable tendency of
authority to feed upon itself and to grow fat, the natural consequence
is the progressive destruction of liberty. The historical reaction from
the excess of authority is a violent revulsion to wild and bloody
anarchy; and over against authority, the only hope of liberty is to
divide and to keep it divided.

As a matter of fact in democratic communities, there is a curious
discrepancy between theory and practice; and—somewhat unusually—our
practice is better than our theory. The mediæval doctrine of authority
still haunts our political and social thinking; but there are few people
in a democratic community who behave themselves only when and because
there is a policeman about. The whole structure of law (of which the
policeman is the symbol) rests upon the proposition that it is possible
to define and to enforce those moral obligations which are essential to
the cohesion and the order of the community, those things which members
of a society must do or abstain from doing if the society is to hold
together at all. Law does not do more than state the lowest common terms
of social duty. It does not cover “the whole duty of man.” The maximum
of legal obligation is the minimum of moral obligation. That is why the
law does not touch ordinary folk—except, of course, in formal
adjustments of affairs of business or property. In the region of
personal conduct, law is for decent folk in normal times a pure
irrelevancy. We not only keep the law but we to some degree transcend
it, and we do so without thinking about it. The policeman has no terrors
for us because we do not approach his frontiers; and he has terrors only
for the wilful social misfit whose native anarchy is still untamed. Law,
that is, imposes the discipline of social justice only upon the
exceptional case, the individual who is contemptuous or negligent of his
social duty. Upon the great majority of people it is imposed from
within—sometimes indeed by the fear of public opinion, but chiefly by a
more or less effective social sense. We are free from the law not
because we take care not to break it, but because a higher principle has
lifted us outside and beyond its bounds. Our righteousness truly exceeds
the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees, that is, of the
legal mind; and that is because a higher principle of righteousness is
at work within us. This higher principle of righteousness is of course
no other than our own independent and energised sense of social
obligation. The degree to which it is effectual may and does vary in
different persons; but it is not to be questioned that democracy exists
because of the increasing efficiency of the inward sense of social
obligation in its members. Its further development is contingent upon
the measure in which this inner constraint supersedes coercive machinery
as the organ of social justice.

It is, of course, better for men to live under law than in anarchy. What
we have to understand concerning law and its machinery is that it is a
stage in the evolution of social order and in our education into true
freedom. At the same time it must not be forgotten that the law itself
may become a real hindrance to this process. Just because law is a
_definition_ of obligation, it tends to be regarded as fixing the
outmost limits of social duty; and whatsoever we do beyond these limits
ranks as work of supererogation. That is bad enough; but worse may
happen. One may suppose that outside these limits, any kind of conduct
is admissible; and law, despite its intention, may therefore arrest the
growth of the social sense. The social sense, that is, is expected to
operate up to frontier line defined by the law; beyond that point, it is
not called upon to act. We require to introduce into men’s minds a
different conception of law from that popularly current. It is the
office of the law to make itself superfluous; and its administration
requires not a superstitious veneration of its majesty or a pedantic
respect for its letter, but humanity and common sense. The law is
overmuch conceived as our gaoler; properly understood, it is, as St.
Paul said of the Mosaic Law, our “schoolmaster.” But so long as we talk
about “vindicating” the law more than reclaiming the offender—as the
legal mind is apt to do—so long will men tend to regard the law not as a
stepping-stone to higher things, but as an irksome restraint; and while
we indulge in tall talk about the majesty of the law, we make
law-abidingness “the law and the prophets,” and jeopardise our chance of
effecting that increasing enfranchisement of the social sense in which
alone is the hope of the democratic ideal.

The further development of the democratic principle and the achievement
of a genuine freedom would appear to be contingent upon the growth of
the interior discipline of social justice with a consequent diminution
in the influence of exterior legal sanctions. If society is to be
regarded as in any sense truly organic, and if consequently its vitality
is to be measured by its capacity for variation, it is plain that it
must be released from the tendency to uniformity which is entailed in a
“reign of law.” Augustine’s definition of liberty is pertinent here—Love
God and do as you please, and translated out of the idiom of religion
into that of sociology (which is like unto it) the rule runs: Love your
neighbour and do as you please. Authoritarianism makes inevitably for
regimentation; and while it may in this way repress the waywardness of
individualism, it does so at the expense of that precious thing,
individuality. The task of democracy is that of destroying individualism
and of cultivating individuality. Liberty is the condition in which a
man may be true to himself through everything, and may live out the
logic of his own distinctive spiritual endowments. But because
personality is essentially social, a man cannot be true to himself until
he is in a true sense delivered from himself. An effectual social
discipline is a necessary condition of a real liberty. It is not a check
upon liberty but its indispensable concomitant. Without it, liberty
overshoots its bolt and destroys itself.

But this relation is a mutual one. Not only does a social conscience
safeguard and discipline liberty; but its own mating with liberty works
for its liberation. We have seen how the influence of legalistic
preconceptions tends to arrest the growth of the social conscience; how
the school of law may become the prison of legalism. The social
conscience is something more than a moral critic or invigilator; it has
the quality of a creative energy; and once it is “free from the law,” it
is for ever trying to outdo itself. It is indeed only an adventurous
social conscience of this kind that will avail to overcome those
distinctions of class which constitute the immemorial and multiform
schism of our race. We have to work not only for the socialisation of
liberty but also for the liberation of our social instincts; and this is
to be done by an equal mating of liberty and the social conscience. This
is, in the main, the office of the teacher and the preacher, but
meantime a great deal is to be done by a systematic effort to multiply
and develop those social contacts which already exist either actually or

The final reason for this mating is not merely to make room for dissent
in the community. That, indeed, is only an incidental thing which serves
to test the quality and extent of the community’s freedom. Freedom is
necessary because it is the only condition under which creative
self-expression becomes really possible. The human spirit must have
independence and initiative if it is to be its whole self. It was not
made for regimentation; it was made for a distinctive life of its own.
But its very constitution tells us that if it is to attain to a fruitful
freedom, it must achieve something besides freedom. The motto of a
democracy resolute to live out the full implicates of its first
principles must not be freedom alone, but _freedom and fellowship_.


                              Chapter VI.
                      THE PRACTICE OF FELLOWSHIP.

    “We are members one of another.”—ST. PAUL.

    “Forsooth, brothers, fellowship is heaven, and lack of fellowship is
    hell; fellowship is life and lack of fellowship is death; and the
    deeds that ye do on earth, it is for fellowship’s sake that ye do
    them; and the life that is in it, that shall live on and on for
    ever, and each one of you part of it, while many a man’s life upon
    the earth from the earth shall wane.

    “Therefore I bid you not to dwell in hell but in heaven; or while ye
    must, upon earth, which is part of heaven, and forsooth no foul
    part.”—WILLIAM MORRIS, _The Dream of John Ball_.”

    “Sans d’égalité donc, point d’unité; sans liberté point d’égalité;
    mais point de liberté non plus sans des devoirs mutuels
    volontairement accomplis, c’est-a-dire accomplis par la volonté se
    portant d’elle-même et sans contrainte a tout ce qui produit l’union
    entre les êtres égaux; autrement chacun n’aurait d’autre règle que
    son intérêt, sa passion. Et du conflit de tant de passions, de tant
    d’intérêts opposés naîtraient aussitôt, avec la guerre, la servitude
    et la tyrannie. Or, l’obéissance libre au devoir est une obéissance
    d’amour; liberté lorsque l’amour s’affaiblit, la liberté décline
    même proportion. A la place de l’union volontaire et morale, dont il
    est le principle, la force, loi des brutes, opére une union purement
    matérielle.”—LAMENNAIS, _Affaires de Rome_.

IT is usually assumed that the distinctively social end of life begins
“after business hours.” There is, we say, “no room for sentiment in
business,”—which is part of the intolerable price we pay for our
subjection to the economic motive. In business the presumption is that
we are all competitors; when business is over we are prepared to be
friends. The formality and the insincerity of much social intercourse in
our time—not to speak of its utter fruitlessness for any healthy human
good—has its origins largely in the banishment of fellowship from the
“business end” of life. This is not to say that there is not a great
deal of wholesome human intercourse in modern life or that there are not
genuine friendships between business competitors and between principals
and subordinates in industry; but it is generally true that we conceive
of commerce and industry as admitting of no extensive exercise of the
humanities; and for this habit of mind we are punished by a deep
impoverishment of life.

There is a sense in which the struggle for liberty may be regarded as
being essentially a struggle to broaden the basis of human fellowship;
and it is undoubtedly true that forms of privilege are the most prolific
causes of social schism. No community possesses the conditions of real
fellowship while it is (as modern communities are) divided into topdogs
and underdogs, whether the topdogs be aristocrats or plutocrats, and the
underdogs be serfs or wage-slaves. For the poison of privilege is apt to
permeate the whole body; and an exploited class may itself be composed
of exploiters. In our day the quest and the possession of pecuniary
advantage has so grievously muddied the springs of fellowship that we
live in a chronic temper of mutual suspicion and distrust. We do not
constitute living societies; we are but collections of individuals who
live together because we must, and come no nearer to each other than is
necessary for the indispensable common operations of life. Lord Morley
has pointed out that the business of the Irish Land League lay as much
in adjusting feuds among its own members as in carrying on their common
feud against the landlords. Within small circles there is, of course,
much genuine friendly exchange and co-operation; there are holiday
occasions when good temper and good fellowship rule; but for the rest,
we chiefly live under jungle law.

It is essential to the creation of a living society that we should
recognise that the principle of fellowship is a condition of the highest
fruitfulness of human effort in every part of life. But fellowship in
this connection means something more than the casual and superficial
_camaraderie_ of one’s leisure hours. It must be translated into
concrete policies and into organised and sustained co-operation. In this
sense its application to industry is one of the first conditions of its
restoration in other regions and in other senses. Indeed, it may be
regarded as the natural complement of that change in the worker’s status
which we have seen to be impending. Free men will flow into fellowship
as the cistern to the river; and the “democratic control” of industry is
the name we give to the practice of fellowship in industry which is the
clear sequel to the doctrine of partnership.

Mr. Sidney Webb, as we have seen, advocates the grant of a
“constitution” to industry; but this proposal suffers from the inherent
defect of the well-meaning experiments in co-partnership and
profit-sharing of which there have been not a few in recent years. This
defect is that all alike preserve the line of privilege. The benefits
are granted as concessions from above; and generally as incentives to
greater assiduity. There can be no objection to the granting of
concessions from above so long as those who are above come down and
stand on the same footing as those below. But so long as a vestige of
the old differentiation of superior and inferior, of master and servant
remains, not all the nominal co-partnership and profit-sharing in the
world can satisfy the conditions of real partnership. While for instance
the administrative and executive branches of an industry remain out of
the sphere of co-partnership, the partnership is a polite fiction; and
it is only by the passing of all the departments of an industry,
administrative as well as operative, into the control of all who carry
them on, that democratic conditions can be established. The theory of
partnership implies an actual interest in and an actual control over all
the divisions of an industry; and, while this does not imply that
direction and leadership and the powers of discipline will not still be
vested in individuals, these individuals will owe their position not to
any antecedent privilege but to the will and consent of the workers as a

On the surface there seems to be a danger lest such an arrangement may
lead to an exclusive and particular fellowship within separate
industries and therefore may militate against the larger fellowship of
the community, a fellowship, that is, of producers against consumers.
But it is not contemplated that the control of the workers—whether
operative or administrative—shall be absolute over their industry. That
will in turn be subject to the will of the commonwealth as a whole—this
superior authority being made effective by such devices as the control
of raw material. This particular danger may, however, be very easily
exaggerated. After all, every producer is a consumer; and the
co-operative societies have shown that it is possible to create a very
fruitful fellowship of consumer and producer. Moreover, this is a danger
which we imagine largely because we argue from existing conditions. It
will be greatly diminished as the economic motive ceases to exercise its
withering influence upon men.

But it stands to reason that men will do better and more faithful work
under conditions which give them a direct interest in and control over
their work. Both the quantity and quality of work suffer to-day because
nothing is left to the worker’s sense of honour and responsibility. It
is only a more or less irksome necessity to which the worker goes
apathetically and from which he turns with relief. But convert it into a
social task in which fellowship may be actually realised in a genuine
participation in control, where management is an affair of common
counsel and not of autocratic fiats, where the ideal of public service
has superseded the purpose of private gain, and you set free
potentialities both of quality and quantity of workmanship of which
under the present demoralising conditions it is not possible to form a

Clearly the reality of fellowship in industry must be validated by
making every position of greater responsibility open to every worker;
and appointment to such positions should be by choice of the workers.
That the workers may be trusted to make good appointments is
demonstrated by the sagacity which has generally been manifested in the
selection of their Union leaders; and this is a far more certain
guarantee of effective management than the present system which often
assigns incompetent men to important positions on grounds of kinship or
“influence.” It further goes without saying that a genuine partnership
implies the right of withdrawal. A man must be free to choose his work
and the place where he works. Freedom is of the very essence of
fellowship. Anything of the nature of coercion or conscription would be
deadly to the spirit which it is desired to create.


Naturally a living society will require a living fellowship in the
ordering of its public affairs; and it is true that the arrest and
corruption of democracy—wheresoever those ills have befallen it—are due
more to the ignorance and the indifference of the mass of the people in
respect of their common affairs than to any other single cause. This is
ever the opportunity of the demagogue and the spoilsman. Where there is
no vision, said the ancient scribe, the people perish; but the people
perish no less certainly where there is no common thought. The mental
indolence and inertia of the public and the incompetency of public
criticism is the danger of the statesman, and the very life of the
carpet-bagging politician. The extent of this ignorance and
apathy—beyond the narrow limits where our pockets are concerned—is
appalling. Especially in regard to the external relationships of their
respective states, the common people have lived in the past in great
darkness, and as the war has shown, in the shadow of death. If the
masses of the European peoples had been in 1914, as well-informed
concerning their neighbours as they are to-day (and this does not say
very much), the war might well have never happened; and it is well that
we should remember that the democratic control of foreign policy, of
which we justly hope much, will prove a vain thing without systematic
education of the people in the matters which are gathered up in the
expression “foreign policy.”

And, indeed, the main root of indifference is ignorance; for we are
vitally interested in nothing of which we do not know something. It is
to education that we must look for our main remedy. Some gleams of light
have indeed already begun to pierce our darkness. We have commenced to
educate school children in the rudiments of civic obligation; and there
is no reason why history and geography should not be taught, not as at
present to stimulate national pride or commercial efficiency, but to
generate a sympathetic and comprehensive outlook upon human
relationships. To this subject we shall need to turn in more detail
presently; here all we need is to premise that the stimulation and
mobilisation of common thought requires an education which shall equip
the citizen with a system of knowledge and ideas which will enable him
to respond to the challenge of the problems of common life and approach
them with intelligence and sympathy. No one who is familiar with the
proceedings of parliaments and congresses will require proof of the
existence of this need.

But this is no more than a beginning. To education must be added the
opportunity of free and unfettered discussion. Every manner of embargo
or restraint on thought must be removed. When a Cambridge don once said
that morning chapel should be compulsory on the ground that if there
were no compulsory religion there would be no religion at all,
Thirlwall, afterwards Bishop of St. David’s, replied that the
distinction was too subtle for his apprehension. No less does restraint
upon thought lead to the destruction of thought. Yet thought, just
because it is free, requires some method of test and correction; and
this is supplied by discussion. In this region especially is fellowship
the necessary co-efficient of freedom. At present the comparative
paucity of opportunities of systematic discussion, outside small circles
and coteries, has led to that lack of mental independence to which the
modern press owes its ordinate power. The pathetic, not to say tragic,
readiness of the multitude to follow any demagogue in the press who
shouts loudly enough is a manifest sign of dangerous mental
incompetency. The Northcliffes and the Hearsts owe their influence to
the incapacity of the multitude to think for itself; and no multitude
will ever be able to think which does not acquire the habit of thinking

It is impossible to estimate the value of the New England Town Meeting
as an organ of discipline in common thought; and some such focus of
public discussion there should be in every community. Nowadays the
community elects a board or a council and relegates the function of
discussion to this body, and so far as its local affairs are concerned
goes to sleep until the next election, except perhaps for a small
minority chiefly composed of hostile critics. This elected body rarely
reaches a plane of initiative and leadership in thought even within the
narrow province committed to its care. Its discussions chiefly gather
around minor points of administration; rarely do they reveal any degree
of constructive originality. Yet the public spirit which is the life of
a community needs continual stimulus; and this stimulus is dependent on
discussion. It is a frequent, almost a constant complaint against
municipal bodies that they are composed of persons who have axes of
their own to grind, or who, though they are not personally corrupt, are
promoting the advantage of particular interests. There is no way out of
this difficulty save by the creation of community centres for regular
and free public discussion. Those who are charged with the conduct of
public affairs—whether local or national—should be open to continuous
and reasoned popular criticism for which an election allows no

The rapid extension of the public Forum in America takes to some extent
the place once filled by the Town Meeting; but its outlook is too
general and its constitution too casual to enable it to discharge the
functions of the latter. Yet it has a very important office to fill; and
in many respects it is the most promising object in the outlook for
democracy in America. As yet it is too dependent upon the platform; and
questions do not form an adequate alternative to reasoned discussion.
These are, however, defects which will be remedied as the movement
develops. It is not at all improbable that the churches may find a way
of recovering their social usefulness by the promotion of the Forum
method. Dr. Kirsopp Lake has a theory that just as the sacramental stage
of religion has passed, so now the “sermon” stage is passing, and we are
entering upon the “discussion” stage. It may be so. Certainly no human
concern so stands in need of vigorous and radical discussion as does
religion; and now that it becomes increasingly evident that the day is
wholly gone when religion could be cultivated as an isolated interest
unrelated to the secular concerns of life, it will be of untold
advantage to the church and to society, in the interests of truth and
right thinking, that the free discussion of religion and public affairs
in the closest possible relation to one another should be seriously
fostered. Neither religion nor any view of the world which does not
touch life at every point is likely to survive in an age which is slowly
learning the unity of all life. In modern England, the Trade Union
branches have in many cases proved to be educational centres of the
utmost value; but even more than the Trade Unions has the Socialist
propaganda, with its challenge to discussion, proved a fruitful organ of
common thought on public affairs.

When we pass from the plane of local to that of national interests we
find a state of things which provokes wonder that any shred of democracy
has survived it. The system of political parties has its roots in human
nature; and we are never likely to outlive it. The quip that we are all
born either little Liberals or little Conservatives has beneath it the
fact of a profound and perhaps permanent difference of temperament.
There are those—and probably will always be—who take less kindly to
change than others; and in this difference there will always be ample
room and occasion for discussion and criticism. It is also well to
remember that the conflict of sincerely held opinion is one of the most
fruitful forms of co-operation in the search for truth. But there are
few existing lines of party division which reflect a genuine cleavage of
conviction. The present opposition of Republican and Democrat in America
seems to have only a distant connection with that profound division of
opinion in which the opposition first originated. In Great Britain,
Liberal and Conservative have stood ideally for the two necessary
principles of freedom and order, progress and stability; but the party
conflict has raged chiefly in recent times around the question of power.
It has been a duel of the “ins” and “outs.” There are, of course,
Liberals like Lord Morley, and Conservatives like Lord Hugh Cecil, whose
political attachments rest upon deep and reasoned conviction; but
reasoned conviction is not the main subject of interest in the Whips’
offices. The final judgment upon the nature of the party struggle is to
be sought in the practical business of electioneering. Direct corruption
is on the whole rare in democratic countries; but the organisation of
the party vote—whether in England or America—is a wholly scandalous and
deplorable business. The practice of canvassing for votes, attended
frequently with intimidation and generally with a good deal of insincere
cajoling, the easily made and easily forgotten electioneering promises,
the frantic shepherding of sluggish voters to the polling booth,—these
things show how little substance of conviction and thought there is in
the modern political game. Canvassing is sometimes defended as a method
of political education; occasionally in competent hands it no doubt is
so; but anyone who is acquainted with electioneering methods knows that
the education is merely incidental to securing the promise of a vote.
Canvassing would conceivably serve a useful purpose if the attempt to
extract the promise of a vote were declared to be in fact what it is in
spirit—a violation of the Ballot Act. It is questionable, however, how
long the practice of canvassing would survive this curtailment. And in
addition to this, all inducements to drag unwilling and indifferent
citizens to the poll should be made illegal. Democracy is not
necessarily government by the mob. It is rather government by the
intelligent and the interested; and the remedy for popular apathy here,
as elsewhere, is proper education.

The two-party system of Great Britain, and in the United States, may in
time be replaced by the group system as it prevails on the continent of
Europe.[31] The group system is subject to the evils and the
disadvantages attending the two-party system; but it has the distinct
advantage of making possible a larger range and variety of criticism.
Nevertheless, whether under the two-party or group conditions, it is
doubtful whether the present territorial arrangement of representation
can ever secure a truly democratic government. The territorial
arrangement is derived from a period which long antedates the railroad;
and improved means of communication have created national groups with
specialised but ultra-local interests, and for the purposes of
democratic government the Labour Union (for instance) is as important a
unit as the county. It is absurd that the only way in which the specific
interests of organised labour can be represented in the House of Commons
is by putting Labour candidates in competition with Liberals and
Conservatives in mixed constituencies. Some alleviation of this anomaly
may be found in the plan of proportional representation; but this does
not fully provide for the necessity of securing direct and adequate
representation of functional and cultural associations in the councils
of the nation. It is an anachronism that to-day the mind of the nation
should be gathered solely on a geographical basis, when the actual
living mind of the nation increasingly resides in the various groups
into which men form themselves on the basis of interests that are no
longer determined by local considerations. The representation of
non-territorial constituencies in the councils of the nation raises the
question of the nature of the state which must be considered separately.

Footnote 31:

  The results of the last General Election in England seem to bear out
  this anticipation.

Freedom and fulness of discussion is the very breath of life to popular
institutions, and wheresoever any problem or range of problems is
withdrawn from public discussion, there is a virtual denial of the
democratic principle. When, for instance, and in particular, foreign
policy is conducted behind closed doors, a control over the destinies of
the people is vested in individuals or in a class of individuals which
is as real and as monstrous as that of an autocrat; and democracy is
denied in its most sensitive and critical part. It is true that the
practice of secret diplomacy has survived because nations have been too
little concerned about their external affairs; and no plausible
arguments about “delicate situations” and the like could resist for a
moment the insistence of an intelligent democracy upon the management of
its own affairs. If democracy is to survive at all, it must make up its
mind speedily that the principle of its inner life shall not be denied
in its outer. But if democracy is to have a mind at all, it must learn
to use the mind it has; and the chief stimulus to this end would be the
multiplication of centres of discussion. This would be materially helped
if government departments were required to produce not only ponderous
blue-books which only bewilder the common man, and official documents
intelligible only to the expert, but popular accounts, published
regularly, of their proceedings. The press should be used far more
extensively for this purpose; and even the children of the public
schools should be provided with appropriate graded summaries of the acts
of the national government. Then on the basis of this material for
discussion, the social debating society, the reading circle, the Forum
and all such groups would become the living and increasing springs of

In speaking of education we are far too apt to confine the word to the
education of children; but what may be done in the education of adults
and at the same time in the stimulation of fellowship in thought, is
well shown by the achievement of the Workers’ Educational Association in
England. The education of the working class is an idea which dates back
to the social and political ferment of the early nineteenth century—the
earliest expression being the Mechanics’ Institute movement. This was
followed by the Working Men’s College movement under Frederick Denison
Maurice and his friends. Then came the educational experiments, first of
the Rochdale Pioneers in 1840, and then of the Co-operative Societies,
out of which grew ultimately the University Extension movement. The
existing Worker’s Educational Association originated in an alliance of
the educational activities of the Co-operative, Trade Union and
University Extension movements. It was based upon “the vital principle
that there could be no complete education of working people unless it
was a result of the combination of working men and women and scholars,
respectively experts in demand and supply.” It is certain—and the war
has provided many instances of it—that this alliance of worker and
scholar has done much to break down the partition wall of class
prejudice; and the “tutorial class” has in particular been a very
fruitful agent of fellowship and education. “The days of the W.E.A.” (as
it is called) says Mr. Alfred Mansbridge, its devoted and able
secretary, “have been few so far; but it has already demonstrated the
soundness of its theories—to take one instance alone—by the development
of the University Tutorial Class movement which conforms in method to
that of Plato so far as question and answer developed in discussion are
concerned. In England alone over eight thousand men and women have
passed through these courses which are organised in connection with
every University and University College. If it were not for the clear
demonstration of experience, it would seem fatuous to expect that men
and women who have undergone no educational training other than that
provided in the few years of attendance at the elementary school would
be willing to attend classes for three years, and in some cases for as
many as seven or eight years. It must be remembered that the discipline
of the class though self-imposed is severe. No absence is allowed for
other than unavoidable causes. Moreover, their purpose is the
acquisition of knowledge as assisting the fulfilment of an educational
ideal which is conceived not in the interests of the individual but in
the interests of citizenship. The level of intellectual achievement
testified to by many eminent educationists is such as to warrant the
Board of Education in making a regulation to the effect that ‘the
instruction must aim at reaching within the limits of the subject
covered, the standard of University work in honours.’”[32] While the
emphasis in this account is laid chiefly upon the educational aspects of
the movement those who are acquainted with its working lay much stress
upon the part which the practice and realisation of fellowship play in
it.[33] The sense of common quest is at once a source and a result of
the movement: and it is not open to any question that the W.E.A. is one
of the most powerful organs of the new democracy now existing. Alongside
the W.E.A. in Great Britain is also the Adult School movement, which
chiefly under the auspices of the Society of Friends is doing much
similar, though not so severe work. It gathers together every Sunday
morning in all parts of the country thousands of working men and women
in its many hundred schools to study not only “the principles of the
life and teaching of Jesus, but the manifold and perplexing problems of
national and international life.” In such fruitful activities as these
will the mind and the temper of the coming democracy be created. These
men and women are learning the practice of freedom and fellowship in
thought, which is the fundamental democratic method.

Footnote 32:

  _Contemporary Review_, June, 1918.

Footnote 33:

  An interesting sign of where the members of the W.E.A. themselves feel
  the essence of the movement to lie is seen in the inscription on a
  memorial cross erected in the Parish Church of Lambeth, London, in
  memory of three tutors of the W.E.A.:

      “In memory of
       Philip Anthony Brown, 1886-1915.
       Alfred Edward Bland, 1881-1916.
       Arthur Charleswood Turner, 1881-1918.

  Tutors of the Workers’ Educational Association. They lived for
  Fellowship in England and died for it in France.”

                                       _The Challenge_, July 19th, 1918.


Now that we have come to acknowledge not only that Jack’s vote is as
good as his master’s, but that Jill’s vote is as good as Jack’s, we have
laid the train of a further change in the relations of men and women.
For just as surely as the worker has discovered that political equality
does not of necessity remove economic disability, and is now beginning
to demand economic emancipation, so also women will pass on from the
acquisition of political equality to a demand for economic equality.
Indeed, the demand is already being made. The war has served to reveal
the arbitrary and illusory character of the assumptions which closed
certain occupations to women. We know that the number of occupations for
which women are temperamentally or physically unfitted is comparatively
small. There are obvious reasons for believing that some few trades will
remain permanently undesirable for women; but the immediate fact that
confronts us is that the traditional line of demarcation has been swept
away under the stress of war needs; and that we shall have to work out
in the school of experience a new classification of occupations more
consonant with the new facts.

Some years ago there was much discussion in England concerning a high
legal decision that a woman was not a “person” within the meaning of a
certain Act of Parliament. This was symptomatic of a general survival of
the view which assigned women to a slightly sub-human class; and the
vitality of this view is still more considerable than many hopeful minds
are willing to think. Yet it is only when we have educated ourselves
into the conception of woman which attributes to her a distinct
personality of her own, with an end in and for herself, and with all the
rights and privileges, the freedom and the independence appertaining to
it, that we shall approach the problem of the relations of men and women
from a genuinely democratic standpoint. Woman is commonly regarded as
having a function rather than an individual end. It is her part to
preserve the race. Her peculiar vocation is child-bearing. It cannot,
however, be affirmed with too much emphasis that the perpetuation of the
race is no more the task of woman than of man. The heavier end of the
physical burden of race-preservation certainly falls upon the woman; but
this fact does not indicate that this is the purpose for which she
exists. Her traditional assignment to this role, and the consequent
limitation of her circle of experience and interest, the virtual
incarceration of the great majority of women to the “home,” and the
denial to them of any real participation in the larger concerns of the
common life, must cease if social existence is to achieve the balance
necessary to stable and healthy progress.

The preservation of the race can be left to look after itself.
Race-suicide only becomes a peril when the relations of men and women
become perverted and unnatural as they commonly do in our present social
order. When at one end of society, the bringing up of families entails
an economic burden too heavy to be borne, and at the other, the hedonism
which accompanies excessive wealth tends to a sensuality which refuses
to accept the natural risks and to pay the natural price of the
sex-relation, a poisonous arrest is unavoidably laid upon the normal
operation of the sex-instincts. The most easily perverted endowment of
human nature is sex, and it cannot retain a balanced and healthy
functioning under disordered conditions of life. The incessant
discussion of marriage and divorce misses the point largely because it
ignores the background of the problem. While we regard the physical
distinction of sex as the primary fact to be considered in relation to
woman, and still cling to the obsession so dear to bourgeois
respectability that her business is motherhood and “her place is the
home,” so long, that is, as we regard her life and its purpose as
dependent upon man, so long will judgment be deflected from its true
pole at its very source. Wholesome and free men and women will continue
to fall in love with one another and will want to have children of each
other, where to-day because their relations are unwholesome and unequal,
they tend only to seek possession of one another, without any
disposition (not to speak of eagerness) to welcome the fruit of their
union; and too often with the deliberate intention of preventing the
fruitage. For the disorder which leads to this confusion of the
sex-relation, the first remedy is to establish the independence of the

The problem of marriage will remain acute—and, indeed, ultimately
insoluble—until the contracting parties enter it upon the basis of an
equal partnership. The conception of marriage as a “career” for women
has done much to destroy the only conditions under which marriage can
ever be successful. The freedom and spontaneity of the relation between
men and women is made impossible by those calculations of position and
wealth which the career theory of marriage requires. While it is
nominally the case that no woman is compelled to marry, it is actually
the fact that many women—in the _bourgeois_ classes, most women—are so
brought up that marriage becomes their only escape from indigence. The
fact of woman’s independence should be made concrete and real by
requiring that every woman shall be self-supporting, that is to say,
that she shall share in the necessary industrial processes of the
community or do some work of acknowledged social worth. Naturally the
latter category includes the bearing and upbringing of children; for
than this there is no work more fundamental or of greater social worth.
This requires the economic independence of the mother; and since the
social reconstruction postulated in these pages, involves in some form
or other the establishment of an universal minimum standard, the mother
will not only be economically independent but will also be released from
the harassing task of bringing up a growing family upon a stationary

It will be argued against such proposals as these that they endanger the
sanctity of the family. But this criticism possesses neither grace nor
force in a generation which has permitted industrial conditions to
prevail which have virtually destroyed the home-life of the
working-classes. The only assumption on which it is safe to proceed in
dealing with this question is that anything entitled to be called a
“home life” is quite exceptional among large masses of the population.
Both the physical setting of the home—the house—and the economic
condition of its members rob the home of that quality of sanctuary and
base which is of the essence of a genuine _home_. Our problem is to
recreate the home, the setting of that social group of man, woman and
child, which we call the family, and which is the natural nucleus of the
commonwealth, and the moral gymnasium where the young should best learn
the arts of fellowship. The housing question has its own importance in
the problem; but of infinitely more importance to the recovery of home
life is the establishment of the economic independence of the woman. So
long as custom and necessity place her in a position of dependence on
the man, so long will she be denied the freedom which is essential to
perfect comradeship. Her present status denies the equality which is
necessary to fellowship; and much of the unhappiness of modern marriage
is due to the intelligible chafing of women against the conditions which
dependence and inferiority of status impose upon her. That many married
people succeed in overcoming this initial handicap is true; but that is
due to certain qualities in themselves and does not in the least alter
the fact that where marital relations go awry the evil is largely in the
conditions which govern those relations in our present social order.

The relaxing of marriage ties is no remedy; it is only a relief to
persons of incompatible tempers. Both the advocates and the opponents of
greater facilities for divorce seem to argue their case out of all
relation to the existing social environment of marriage. The evils for
which a remedy is sought in easier divorce are not to be found in the
nature of the marriage relation but in the conventional and legal status
of women.[34] While the social and economic sources of the trouble are
left untouched, no amount of Catholic emphasis upon the sacramental
character of marriage is going to stay the demand for the greater
dissolubility of a tie which existing conditions do much to make
difficult and frequently intolerable. Even under the best conditions,
the mutual adjustments of the man and woman in married life are not
easy; but when one party enters the relation in a position of more or
less explicitly acknowledged dependence and inferiority, there are seeds
of ineradicable trouble.

Footnote 34:

  This does not imply that the present writer does not recognise the
  need of some extension of the grounds of divorce in Great Britain. It
  simply means that he thinks that the problem cannot be rightly
  approached until the economic independence of women has been

It is not for a moment argued that the establishment of the economic
independence of woman is a cure for all the ills that afflict the
family. But this is fundamental; and we shall simply be beating the air
so long as we do not accept this principle. For it is the only method
which holds a promise of restoring the life of the home. At the same
time, it is no less necessary that the woman being by reason of her
motherhood economically independent should not be regarded as the
economic handmaid of the state. If the endowment of motherhood is only a
provision for increasing the economic and military human material of the
community, then we are better without it. For the poison which vitiates
our life will return to it at its most delicate and sensitive point. To
regard the marriage relation simply as the means of supplying a constant
stream of military and economic units for the state is to deny the
spiritual nature of man at its very source, and to reimpose on ourselves
the deadly incubus of materialism. This is the danger which the Eugenics
movement threatens us with. To introduce the principle of selective
breeding into human relations may result in a community of persons,
healthy, vigorous and efficient for economic and military purposes; but
we are learning how little physical heredity has to do with the ultimate
purpose of life. In so far as Eugenics will lead to greater precautions
against the propagation of diseased and mentally and physically
degenerate persons, and quickens a greater vigilance and a more
insistent demand for sound minds and sound bodies in those about to give
themselves in marriage, it brings a necessary and valuable reinforcement
to the influences that make for human welfare. But when it goes beyond
this point, it becomes a danger to the spiritual conception of life and
society. What we must insist upon is that marriage shall be a
partnership, deliberately entered into by two equal persons,
economically independent of each other, attracted to each other by that
physical and temperamental affinity which we call love; and that we
shall import into the relationship no extraneous notions of
state-service or of race-preservation which may interfere with the
freedom and spontaneity of the relation thus established. The bearing of
children may be a service to the nation; but no child is well-born who
is not born simply of the joyful mutual selfgiving of man and woman.

Yet it may be held that the partnership is an affair so momentous that
none should be permitted to enter it so precipitately as the marriage
laws of the United States allow. Some degree of deliberation should be
insisted upon before legal recognition of the union is granted. The
demand for greater facilities for divorce is probably not unconnected
with the extreme facility with which persons can enter upon the marriage

But the establishment of right relations between the sexes must begin
before the period when men and women have reached the condition of
personal independence. It should be plain that the sense of
sex-difference which emerges in adolescence should not be allowed to
develop in the unregulated and capricious manner in which our false
modesty compels it to develop to-day. The processes of initiation into
the mysteries of sex should begin sufficiently early to avert so far as
possible the danger of its being discoloured and perverted by the undue
obtrusion of its sense-accompaniments. There is no real reason why the
frank comradeship of boys and girls should not be maintained through
adolescence into youth, but the criminal negligence which we have shown
concerning the means by which sex-knowledge is communicated to growing
children has succeeded in creating a gulf between men and women which
persists more or less permanently and constitutes the most obstinate
difficulty in the way of perfect freedom of fellowship between men and
women. It is no exaggeration to say that the attitude of most men to
women is poisoned—perhaps beyond perfect recovery at any time—by the
conditions under which as boys they received their first intimations of
the nature of the sex-relation. A good deal has already been done to
pave the way of change in this matter; and an increasing number of
parents are assuming the responsibility of communicating this knowledge
to their children. But there is still unfortunately a great mass of
unhealthy prudery to be overcome before rational dealing with this
problem becomes anything like universal.

The problem of the fellowship of men and women, however, extends beyond
the institution of marriage. Now that the enfranchisement of women is
opening up the question of their availability and qualification for
national legislatures, we are confronted with a very large possibility
of change in the tone and temper of government. Much nonsense is talked
about the psychological differences between men and women; and of this
nonsense, the emptiest is that which assumes that women are dominated by
sentiment and emotion, while men are guided by reason. An unprejudiced
observer, watching deliberative gatherings of men over any space of time
would certainly arrive at the conclusion that the occasions on which
they acted upon purely rational grounds were rare and exceptional; and
it has been the experience of the present writer that in deliberative
groups of men and women the women are on the whole more likely to
display a dispassionate rationality in arriving at their judgments than
the men. It is a region in which broad generalisations are bound to be
unsound; and the progress of the higher education of women is
undoubtedly obliterating any patent difference of mental operation
between men and women. At the same time, there are certain differences
which are embedded in the physical structure of sex and which may be
therefore permanent; but so far from disqualifying women from a share in
government, those very differences entitle them to it. Quite apart from
the fact that the problems of food and clothing in their incidence on
the home are of peculiar importance to women, and that the woman’s point
of view should always be represented in discussion of the large-scale
problems of production and distribution, the mind of woman brings a
check and balance to the operations of the male mind which they very
acutely need. There can, for instance, be no question that the male mind
tends to an inordinate faith in force and coercive processes; and while
it would hardly be correct to say that the female mind possesses an
antithetic bias of a reasoned kind, it does normally display a certain
hesitancy to apply the closure of compulsion which the too ready
_real-politik_ of a purely male assembly is prone to adopt when it sets
out to translate its emotions into enactments. The truth of the matter,
in fine, is this—that because humanity is bi-sexual, its affairs cannot
be reasonably and fruitfully determined save through the common counsels
of men and women. We have already made a beginning in the admission of
women to the councils of the community. A woman has sat in the Congress
of the United States; women have long been at home in British municipal
bodies, and their right to a place in Parliament has been acknowledged.
It is only a matter of time when the logic of the enfranchisement of
women will reach its inevitable conclusion in their admission to all
public deliberative bodies on equal terms with men. They have a
contribution to bring to the corporate direction of affairs without
which the nations can no longer do; and the fact that as a class they
may take some time to become habituated to the mechanics of legislation
is an argument for hastening their complete admission to it.

There were those who in the “militant” stage of the “Votes for Women”
campaign foretold that the economic class-war would presently be
superseded or complicated by a sex-war; and some women there were whose
utterances undoubtedly pointed in that direction. For the time, however,
this danger has dropped over the horizon. The war has evoked a community
of suffering in which men and women alike have shared too deeply, and in
which their mutual need has been too overwhelming to make the notion of
a sex-war even thinkable to-day. But we should be rejoicing prematurely
if we supposed that all possible sources of sex-antagonism have
disappeared. The political enfranchisement of women certainly removes
one source; but the new industrial complications caused by the entry of
women into occupations which have hitherto been a male monopoly, and in
which their employment has been fully justified by the character of
their workmanship may, when the transition to peaceful life is being
made, breed grievances and troubles in which the line of cleavage will
be determined by the sex-factor. But if we assume the establishment of
the “national minimum,” applicable to men and women alike, and therefore
securing the economic independence of women, we shall have robbed this
prospective danger of much of its substance. For the rest, there seems
to be no reason why women should not be freely permitted to engage in
occupations for which they are competent, on equal terms with men; and
the comradeship of men and women in the control and the operation of
industrial processes would do much to fix the now dominant sex-interest
in its proper place in life. The primacy of the sex-interest in
determining the relations of men and women works definitely toward the
retention of women in a subordinate, parasitic and exploited position,
and while this lasts, we shall still have with us the seeds of
sex-antagonism. All this does not overlook the fact that there are kinds
of work for which women are physically unsuited, and that there are
times in the life of the married woman when she should be exempted from
all manual work save of the lightest sort. But these problems are in
essence present even in the working conditions of men. All men are not
suited for all classes of work; and there are few men whose work is not
occasionally interrupted by sickness. What is needed in the case of
women is simply a further application of those principles of selection
and accommodation which already operate in every industry. Unless some
such position as this is frankly accepted, we may be presently
confronted with a new militancy and a new sabotage at the hands of women
who have tasted the experience of economic independence and are
unwilling to surrender it to a convention of inequality which they claim
their own war-time performance has permanently discredited.


Difficult as the realisation of a perfect fellowship between men and
women may be, it presents a problem comparatively easy of solution by
the side of that entailed in the division of a community by a
colour-line. In itself the colour-line is not insuperable; its
difficulty lies in its symbolical character as representing a difference
and an inferiority of tradition and history. The chief difficulty in the
United States arises out of the memory of the former slavery of the
negro population; and the consequent persistence of a prejudice against
according equal treatment to a class regarded as, if not sub-human, at
least permanently inferior in capacity. It is useless to press the
assumption that a necessary physical aversion must always separate the
white from the black, in the face of the existence of a vast number of
palpably cross-bred persons in the community. This does not, of course,
mean that mixed marriages should be encouraged or regarded as normal.
The problems raised by miscegenation are much too difficult to permit us
to remove the colour-line by the off-hand method of race-fusion. The
fusion of two races separated from one another not only by the memory of
two centuries of slavery but by unnumbered centuries of widely different
culture, would probably create more problems than it solved. The
colour-line would be superseded by a multiplicity of shade-lines; and
confusion would be worse confounded. It is probable that the level of
the more advanced race would be depressed more than that of the more
backward race would be raised. Houston Chamberlain is probably right (in
spite of his capacity for being so frequently and so colossally wrong)
in holding that the finest racial types are produced by the fusion of
two peoples not too widely separated in physical and historical
character, followed by close inbreeding. The gulf between black and
white in America and South Africa is far too deep, as yet at least, to
make the removal of the colour-line by fusion a subject of hopeful

But equally the solution is not to be found in segregation—certainly so
far as these two countries are concerned. The admixture of the black and
the white elements in the population has gone much too far to make
segregation a practical proposition. It would, moreover, have the
distinct disadvantage of stereotyping two different types of cultural
development within the same commonwealth and of consequently endangering
its unity by setting up the possibility of rivalry and antagonism. In
any two-race community the ideal must be to secure so far as may be
possible a substantial identity of outlook and culture; and this is to
be done not by segregation, but by contact.

But it is just this “contact” that is denied to the negro race both in
America and South Africa. The races are really segregated as effectually
as though they lived in separate reservations; they live in quite
different cultural “climates.” The negro though no longer a
chattel-slave yet constitutes a servile class; the duties assigned to
him in the community are essentially of a menial kind. It is
characteristic of his position in America that the higher ranks of
military command are closed to him; and while a woman has made her way
to Congress, there is as yet no negro congressman; the idea is still
barely thinkable. Yet no community has thrived permanently which
permitted a helot class to exist within itself; and the position of the
negro—now that education is quickening his mind to the sense of
class-disinheritance and race-consciousness—may become a grave menace to
the inner harmony of the Republic.

The logic of Lincoln’s proclamation has yet to be worked out in the
minds of white Americans. To abolish slavery is not indeed to make a
black man white; nor does it at once equip him for the responsibilities
of freedom. But it does confer citizenship upon him; and the gift of
citizenship should be validated by two things; first, by a frank and
generous recognition of equality of standing, and second, by a
thorough-going policy of education. Perhaps the former was more than
could be justly expected. Just as the slave was ill-equipped for
freedom, so the white man could hardly rise at once to the plane of
regarding the negro as his free and equal brother. But it is a fair
criticism of the public treatment of the negro that he has not been
supplied with the opportunity of rising to his white brother’s plane of
culture. There have been voluntary philanthropic efforts in this
direction, but this work should not have been left to the precarious
chances of charity. Just because negro emancipation was a public act,
the full cultural education of the negro was a public responsibility.

By reason of this failure on the part of the white man, the negro has
not advanced to such a point as two generations of liberty would
seemingly entitle us to expert. He has inevitably retained much of the
mentality and many of the habits of his servitude; and these are
effectual bars to that type of social contact which the negro’s growth
requires. That there is no inherent impossibility in educating the negro
up to the average plane of the Anglo-Saxon has been proved in a
multitude of instances; and people who are devoid of race-prejudice find
no difficulty in establishing frank and fruitful fellowship with
educated coloured persons.

America and Great Britain in her dominions and dependencies have to face
the logic of their democratic ideals by a sustained resolution to
provide the opportunity to their coloured fellow-citizens to reach their
own plane of culture. As things are they deny their democratic
professions by permitting their race prejudices to consign their
coloured fellow-citizens to a condition of permanent social inferiority.
If they wish to be democratic in fact and not merely in name, they will
need to be true to the implications of their democracy through
everything, even through the physical repugnances which the personal
habits of backward races are apt to evoke. The colour problem was
created for this generation by its forbears—by those who sold and owned
slaves and those who established colonies in distant countries. But
though the problem is not of our making, we cannot absolve ourselves
from the moral responsibility which it lays upon us; and it is only by
means of an inveterate good-will that we shall discharge this
responsibility. Such a good-will must rest upon the truth—however
unpalatable to our prejudices it may be—that the black man whether in
New York or in Cape Town is equally with ourselves endowed with the
human _differentia_ of personality, and that he is morally entitled to
all the rights of life and light and liberty that we claim for
personality. With this truth must be accepted the task imposed upon us
by our superior advantages (which like our responsibilities we owe to
our fathers), to raise the more backward races with whom we live to a
plane on which there can be free and enriching fellowship between them
and ourselves. We cannot hopefully go on to make the world safe for a
principle of common life which our present habits show that we do not
believe in at home.


However complete and well-organised the provision may be against
destitution in any society, it can never prevent the distress which
ensues upon the accidents of life, sickness and sorrow, loneliness and
old age—these we shall not wholly escape even in our earthly paradise.
We may indeed lessen the occasions of sickness and of premature death by
a wiser and more scientific ordering of the physical setting of life and
of personal habit; but no ingenuity or skill can overcome the inevitable
brokenness of life in a world of time. But this very circumstance
provides fellowship with the opportunity to do its most perfect work.

And real fellowship will be possible for the simple reason that
“charity” will be superfluous. In modern life, the material destitution
of large numbers of people has necessitated the organisation of relief
on a large scale, both public and private; and while the charitable
impulse is intrinsically admirable, the conditions under which it has
come to be exercised have in effect widened the gulf between the rich
and the poor. On the one hand the rich have contracted the habit of
condescending patronage; and the poor have fallen into a habit of
cunning obsequiousness. In self-defence the rich have built up a
machinery of investigation and distribution which has had three
disastrous results: _first_, it has set up the monstrous and unfair test
of deservingness,—“the deserving poor” is a phrase in which the
well-to-do have forever crystallised their pharisaism; _second_, it has
set a premium upon the petty tactics of evasion and deceit among the
poor, and upon a corresponding cunning and astuteness in those entrusted
with the business of investigation; and _third_, it has eliminated from
charity the one element which could make it tolerable and preserve the
grace which should properly go with it—namely, friendly contact. For the
most part, the relief of destitution through charitable organisations,
has—because it eliminates the direct personal touch between need and
supply—produced and aggravated a deep and deplorable social schism.

Nor is the case any better with the public organisation of poor relief.
The English poor-law has been so completely discredited and is so near
dissolution that it is hardly necessary to discuss it here. It is more
impersonal in its operations than a charity organisation society; but
its most evil consequence is that it has so worked as to attach a stigma
to honest poverty—for the person who has received poor-relief is denied
the rights of citizenship. Old age has fortunately been provided for in
Great Britain in the only worthy way, by a grant of state-pensions,
though the actual amount of the pension is pitifully inadequate. Yet the
fact of the provision indicates a distinct advance in the sense of
public justice. But we shall not make much more progress until we
realise that the pauper like the plutocrat is a social product; and that
such destitution as prevails to-day is due less to personal perversity
than to a vicious social order. No one is so foolishly hopeful as to
suppose that even the most radical social change will eliminate the
prodigal and the spendthrift and the sensualist. Nevertheless, it is no
longer open to question that a revolution in economic conditions would
do much to remove the auxiliary causes of pauperising excess.

But the chief evil which attends our method of dealing with poverty is
that it has tended to perpetuate a pauper class. Whether in the relief
work of religious and charitable societies, or in the administration of
public relief, we have been chiefly governed by the fact of an immediate
need. We have lived in the fond hope that if the present corner could be
turned, something might transpire to save the recipient of relief from
another crisis; and not even the obvious fact that the crisis is chronic
in the case of multitudes has shaken us out of our preoccupation with
symptoms into an investigation of causes. In one of the supplementary
reports of the British Poor-Law Commission, it was stated that the
investigation of the cases of applicants to whom “out-door” relief was
denied (the alternative being to go into the “house”), showed that only
in one instance where such persons had been helped by religious
organisations was there any attempt to place the person concerned on an
independent economic footing. This is symptomatic of the ineptitude of
our common thought about the poor. We appear to accept the fact of their
dependence as chronic and incurable; and by the process of “doles” we
aggravate this dependence and turn it into what we suppose it to be.

This same ineptitude has pursued society in its dealings with another
class—the criminal. Criminologists do not nowadays assume the existence
of a natural criminal class; but our way of treating criminals has
created such a class. Both for the pauper and the criminal we require a
new diagnosis. Instead of treating the pauper as an incurable social
parasite we should regard him as a personal inefficient; and rather than
put a premium upon his inefficiency by a continual gratuitous relief of
his necessities, we should impose some discipline which may lead to
personal efficiency and an ordered habit of life. As for the criminal,
he is a social inefficient; and his treatment should include some
provision for his training in the sense and arts of social
responsibility. It is a practical recognition of this need that
constitutes the contribution which men like Messrs. Thomas Mott Osborne
and Homer Lane are making to the solution of a difficult problem. That
some plan of temporary segregation is necessary in the treatment of the
inefficient—whether personal or social—is not open to question; but the
poorhouse and the prison, as we know them, only aggravate the evil which
they are intended to cure.

Our increasing attention to the problem of the social misfit at an
earlier stage—through the new study and treatment of mentally deficient
children—will considerably reduce the proportions both of pauperism and
crime. We are a long way from Samuel Butler’s vision of the time when
the liar will be sent to hospital and the sick person to jail;
nevertheless, the point of Butler’s _extravaganza_ is becoming
recognised in the double fact that a good deal of disease is due to
preventable causes, the disregard of which is already treated as a legal
offence; and that much of the delinquency that prevails originates in
pathological conditions rather than in moral depravity. Especially are
we on hopeful lines when we take the mentally deficient child and regard
him as the subject of medical rather than of legal treatment. And we
shall go yet farther when we realise that though we cannot and dare not
eliminate the factor of personal responsibility, yet our social misfits
are the products of our social disorder, and it is seen that while
justice requires that a man shall pay the penalty of his sins, yet the
same justice requires that the society which produced the sinner shall
feel a corporate responsibility for his restoration. And restoration is
indeed the very centre of our problem in dealing with the social misfit.
For our task with the pauper and the criminal is that of making each
capable of entering freely and vitally into the fellowship of free men.

Yet when we have dealt with the social misfit there will remain, life
being what it is, a number of people in every community for whom the
burden of life has proved too heavy or whose lives are clouded by
sickness or loneliness or death. “The poor,” said Jesus, “ye have always
with you.” He did not mean that we need always have physically destitute
people with us; He knew better, as we know better. But the smoking flax
and the bruised reed we shall ever have with us; and no society can
afford to despise a ministry of comfort. Indeed, fellowship will lack
its native grace if it fails to produce an unfailing stream of sympathy
and consolation to the distressed. Here will be the test of the vitality
of our fellowship. For our ideal of fellowship may become hardened in
organisation; and personal spontaneity may be lost in a routine habit of
life. And to whatever else we may be able to give an organised and
official form, it is at least sure that when the ministry of comfort and
help loses the touch of personal directness and spontaneity, it is from
henceforth a dead and useless thing.


Up to this point we have considered the more general problems of
fellowship in the community as a whole; we have still to consider some
of the questions raised by the more particular associations which form
themselves within the community, and in which by far the largest measure
of the community’s vitality resides. F. W. Maitland, in an interesting
passage, reviews the endless variety of social forms in which men group
themselves together. He speaks of “churches, and even the mediæval
church, one and catholic, religious houses and mendicant orders,
nonconforming bodies, a presbyterian system, universities, old and new,
the village community, which Germanists have revealed to us, the manor
in its growth and decay, the township, the New England town, the
counties and hundreds, the chartered boroughs, the guild in all its
manifold varieties, the Inns of Court, the merchant adventurers, the
militant “companies” of English _condottieri_ who, returning home, help
to make the word “company” popular among us: the trading companies, the
companies that became colonies, the companies that make war, the
friendly societies, the Trade Unions, the clubs, the group that meets at
Lloyd’s Coffee House, the group that becomes the Stock Exchange, and so
on even to the one man company, the Standard Oil Trust, and the South
Australian statutes for communistic villages.” The prevailing political
philosophy of our time has stated its problem almost wholly in terms of
an abstract state over against an abstract individual; and one of the
most heartening signs of the invasion of political thought and practice
by a more healthy humanism is the growing recognition of these
many-coloured nucleations of life. There are important and difficult
questions bearing upon their political and legal status, but these are
only to be answered by a frank acknowledgment that groupings of this
kind come into being because they meet a real need and answer to certain
facts of life and human nature. No political philosophy is likely to
stand the racket of historical experience which does not stand upon the
assumption that these associations have a real and inherent right to
form themselves, to exist, to thrive and to multiply; for it is in
groups that are voluntarily formed around a living interest that the
most significant and important part of our life is lived. To the more
direct political implications of this type of association we shall turn
at a later point; here we are concerned only to emphasise the need and
the right of such bodies to live, and their importance for the
preservation of the balance of life, and therefore, of stable social
progress. Their real importance may be seen from the circumstance that
the struggle for religious liberty in England, which has historically
been the spring of civil and political liberty, was a struggle not for
the liberty of the individual but of the small voluntarily associated

These voluntarily associated groups will form themselves around any
interest of sufficient importance; and, as we have seen, they are of the
most various character and raise the most various questions concerning
their relation to the commonwealth.[35] This is a subject still in the
earlier stages of exploration and likely to be of increasing importance
for our political and social philosophies, especially as it comes to be
recognised that for the most part the groups which are here spoken of
represent interests and needs more vital to human nature than the
accidental aggregations represented by political states. It may,
moreover, be held that the multiplication of such groups within the
commonwealth, insomuch as they bear upon real interests of life, is much
to be encouraged; and the commonwealth which knows what is good for its
people will impose no restrictions upon their power and readiness to
form themselves into combinations of this kind. And indeed, however
absolute the authority of the state, it cannot prevent the formation of
voluntary associations. If it be not permitted to form these
associations openly, they will be formed secretly; and the secret
society is the undoing of commonwealths.

Footnote 35:

  The commonest and the oldest type of freely associated group within
  the commonwealth is of course the Church, and on this point the reader
  may be referred to the present writer’s book _The Church in the

As a matter of fact, the state has always been apprehensive and
suspicious of combinations of any kind within its own bounds and has
endeavoured either to repress them or to establish the principle that
they exist only on sufferance. But no attempts at repression when they
are directed at associations that represent real human concerns have
been permanently successful. The repeal in 1824 of the British Acts
against combination, intended chiefly to frustrate industrial unions,
whether of employers or of workers, is typical of the fate of such
legislation. These Acts went against the actual facts of the human
situation and naturally proved disastrous. It is in this region of
industrial combinations that we have the best modern illustration of the
spontaneity and inevitability of voluntary human association. In the
Guild period it was broadly true that Capital and Labour being in the
same hands had interests which were identical; but when power-driven
machinery separated Capital from Labour and lodged them in different
hands, and as the rift widened through the operation of _laissez-faire_,
and the interests of Capital and Labour became antagonistic, it was
natural that the capitalists and the workers should severally combine in
defence of their interests. The state prayed a plague on both their
houses at that time, being equally afraid of both; later, the state
became more complaisant to the powerful owning classes; and looked
askance only at the workers’ unions—an attitude which led to a very
material strengthening of the latter. This schism of Capital and Labour
dominates the present social situation, and it is at this time, even
more than the state, the gravest hindrance to the natural activities of
social energy. Its disintegrating and antisocial effect is plain far
outside the region where the immediate issue lies, and it is
questionable whether an organic social life is possible until the
antagonism is overcome. Something has been done to mitigate the worst
asperities of this unsatisfactory position by welfare work,
copartnership, profit-sharing; and still more will be done by the
introduction of measures of joint control of the conditions of industry.
But the fact still remains that this antithesis and separation of
capital and labour is artificial and unnatural, as it is also
essentially undemocratic. For power goes with ownership under the
conditions imposed by the current doctrine of property; and concessions
and benefits which are granted as from the voluntary bounty of the
employer (however worldly wise they actually are in their intention)
involve an assumption of patronage which the present temper of the
workers makes entirely unreal and obsolete. The danger of social
disruption lies in this quarter; and so long as the present tension
remains, it tends to retard the free and varied expressions of
fellowship in which a living society should abound. Society divided into
two camps, with interests radically divergent, is condemned to a state
of tension which is hostile to the free ferment of association natural
to men; and this despite all well-meaning efforts to reconcile the
conflicting interests by compromises which leave the framework of the
schism untouched. So that we have come to this—that it is not only the
traditional attitude of the state which is hostile to the free
efflorescence of social groups but the actual condition of society under
the present industrial system. A state of war, even of suppressed war,
makes for a forced fellowship of partisans, and not for the free
fellowship of partners. It is in the interests of the genuine
socialisation of life that it is demanded that this social schism of
capital and labour should be overcome; and there is but one way of
overcoming it, namely the logical democratic way of putting the capital
and the power it wields in the hands of those who labour. Towards this
goal the first step has been taken in the movement toward democratic
control in industry; and from this it is inevitable that the worker
should proceed to demand control not only of production, but, as Mr.
Cole says, also of the product, its sale and exchange; and, finally of
investments. The free variegated expression and embodiment of the
natural society-forming instincts of mankind are not possible in a
community where one class is in a position to impose its will upon
another. A state of conflict tends inevitably to a kind of flattening
regimentation within the conflicting bodies; and regimentation whether
deliberate or unconscious is an obstruction to the free flow of life.
There is all the difference in the world between an organised society
and a society that is essentially organic. An organised society makes
for uniformity; an organic society will express itself in an endless
number and variety of social forms.

If the state only knew it, its security lies in the encouragement of
voluntary associations of all types; and even if it finds it difficult
to rise to the plane of encouragement, it should at least achieve an
attitude of toleration. For it is the only safeguard against the
inevitable conflict of loyalties which is bound to arise when the state
attempts to legislate for individuals in matters which touch the
question of moral obligation. Indeed, during the war, we have seen the
state in a somewhat lame and half-hearted way endeavouring to escape
some of the consequences of its own legislation by having recourse to a
recognition of the small group. It was bound by the sheer nature of the
falls to acknowledge the existence of conscientious objection to war;
and it proposed to acknowledge the genuineness of an individual
conscientious objection to war if the person in question was a member of
a religious society, the doctrines of which contained a testimony
against war. It was assumed that if a man belonged to the Society of
Friends, it constituted respectable evidence that his objection to
participation in war was sincere. In this particular case, the test
proved hopelessly inadequate; but it does at least indicate the
condition under which the unity of the state can best be preserved. It
is plainly impossible for the state to avoid conflict with the
individual conscience so long as it lacks the means of determining
whether a conscientious scruple is merely a personal idiosyncrasy or
arises from a reasoned and socially authenticated view of life. By
recognising the right of the members of a small group which has
demonstrated its social worth to live their life out in their own way,
it saves itself from a dangerous conflict with the individual
conscience; while, on the other hand, as the individual conscience is
safe-guarded from an anarchic eccentricity by the discipline of a freely
chosen social environment, the state has the assurance that it is
dealing with a genuine manifestation of moral life which must at all
costs be respected. The small voluntary associated group is the saving
middle term between the state and the individual. It is not likely, of
course, that it will prove efficacious without exception in solving the
problems involved in the relations of the individual and the state; but
it would do much to mitigate the dangerous possibilities of the present

Footnote 36:

  This chapter pretends to do no more than discuss at large those
  questions of fellowship which directly abut upon the public affairs of
  democracies. The promotion of fellowship in general opens up a large
  range of subjects which would not fall easily within the scope of this

  No discussion of the practice of fellowship can, for instance, be
  complete which does not take account of the actual and potential
  social ministry of play and recreation. But this matter involves
  questions with which the present writer is without competency to deal.
  It would require an extended treatment of the social reactions of
  sport, amateur and professional, the revival of folk-dancing and the
  maypole, the multiplication of play-centres for children and of open
  spaces; of the drama and the public provision of music—and of other
  matters. The subject is large and important enough for systematic
  discussion in a separate volume by someone capable of handling it.


                              Chapter VII.

    “The people of England were then, as they are now, called upon to
    make Government strong. They thought it a great deal better to make
    it wise and honest.”—BURKE.

    “We may need and we may be moving towards a new conception of the
    state, and more especially a new conception of sovereignty.... We
    may have to regard every state, not only the federal state proper,
    but also the state which professes to be unitary, as in its nature
    federal. We may have to recognise that sovereignty is not single and
    indivisible, but multiple and multicellular.”—ERNEST BARKER.

    “We find the true man only through group organisation. The
    potentialities of the individual remain potentialities until they
    are released by group life. Man discovers his true nature, gains his
    true freedom only through the group. Group organisation must be the
    new method of politics, because the modes by which the individual
    can be brought forth and made effective are the modes of practical
    politics.”—MARY P. FOLLETT.

THE war has given the _coup de grace_ to the Sovereign State. It was on
its last legs before the war. It is certain that Mr. Combes’ affirmation
of state absolutism during the debates on the disestablishment of the
Catholic Church in France, was the last serious stand of this doctrine
in democratic communities. In England the doctrine was never securely
rooted; certainly it has not gained an unquestioned ascendency over
political thought for any considerable period of time; and the exploit
of Austinian legalism which (in the Scottish Churches’ case) denied to a
church the right to govern itself had virtually to be annulled by a
special Act of Parliament. During the war the claim of the State upon
the individual has naturally attained a point which in normal times
would have been unthinkable; but this was confessedly the result of an
emergency and not a rule for ordinary conditions of life. The German
performance during the war has revealed the logic of state-absolutism in
far too vivid a fashion for any of the somewhat turgid exaltation of the
state by academic people in the days previous to the war to survive on
any terms. To rebut the doctrine of state-absolutism at this time would
be merely to flog a dead horse.

But long before the war the absolutist theory was being undermined. In
the region of law and political theory the criticism of F. W. Maitland,
Nevill Figgis, Duguit, and others had raised a very definite challenge
to the doctrine of state-omnicompetency. But of much greater influence
in the actual business of modifying the current conception of the state
was the growing tendency to form independent foci of authority within
the commonwealth. One obvious case of the kind is the institution of the
Bank Clearing House which represents the last stage in the process by
which the business of exchange has passed from the state into the hands
of an independent body which exercises in its own sphere an authority
which is hardly to be resisted; and the present movement for the
amalgamation of large banking concerns makes it not impossible that
should the banking interest come into collision with the State, there
would be a very exciting tug-of-war. The medical profession took up an
attitude of organised opposition to the State in the matter of the
British Health Insurance Act; and other professional associations are
to-day so highly organised that in the event of a collision with the
State, it is at least doubtful how the issue would be decided. In the
case of the Taff Vale decision which rendered a Trade Union liable to
prosecution for illegal action by its members, so threatening a protest
ensued that the legal decision had virtually to be reversed by special
legislation; and the growing solidarity of organised labour again
creates a problem of state authority which is not easily soluble, and
which (it is not inconceivable) may at last have to be solved by a trial
of strength.[37] It is no longer possible to assume that the philosophy
of government can be stated in terms of the state and the individual; it
will have to take increasing account of the relation of the state to the
powerful voluntary organisations of citizens within the
state—organisations which, because they are voluntary, may exercise a
more powerful influence upon their members than the state can possibly
do. On the economic side this tendency toward the breaking up and the
distribution of centralised authority among functional and professional
groups, takes the form of Guild Socialism; and, while Syndicalism has
not yet succeeded in gaining a wide footing in Europe, its challenge to
the state has added a good deal to the minimising influences already
afoot. It is worth while observing that these independent organisations
are already so powerful that the British Government found it advisable
to administer its National Insurance Act through Labour Unions and
Friendly Societies.

Footnote 37:

  Since these words were written, they have received very clear
  confirmation in the recent activities of the “Triple Alliance.”

But it is not the growth of powerful organisations _within_ the
Commonwealth alone that is making for the disintegration of
state-sovereignty. We are living in a period when great international
bodies are coming into being, and while most of these are at present of
a cultural and professional type, it is evident that one at least is of
a character which involves a very profound challenge to the sovereignty
of the national state. The Socialist International has not been
destroyed by the war; it has only been interrupted; and if the signs are
not wholly misleading, we may look for a steady and wide extension of
the international proletarian movement. In 1914 it proved too immature
to resist the pressure of nationalism, but it is likely that in the
future it will increasingly arm itself against a like collapse. As yet
it is only in the case of the Socialist International that there is a
direct challenge to the national state; but it would require
considerable hardihood to deny the possibility that other international
professional and functional associations may find themselves at variance
with the constituted authorities of national states. For instance, the
problem of hygiene is becoming more and more an international affair;
and it is no unthinkable thing that a medical international may find
itself at odds with the state authorities just as the British Medical
Association found itself in conflict with its own national Government.
One has only to add in this connection that the project of a League of
Nations will require an abdication of the claim to absolute sovereignty
on the part of the states constituting it.[38]

Footnote 38:

  This cession of sovereignty may be hidden by a formal _camouflage_;
  but there can be no real League of Nations without it.

So that both from within and without, the march of events is
disintegrating the dogma of state-sovereignty. The traditional political
acceptances are rapidly becoming obsolete. In the main this would appear
to be due to the new situation created by the swift development of the
means of communication during the last century. The territorial factor
in the delimitation of states and in their own internal economy, has
ceased to have the importance it possessed in days when distance set
sharp limits to the intercourse of men. Those days are now past; and
national frontiers and county boundaries are being gradually effaced by
steam, and the sea has been bridged by the electric current and the


The problem created in this way is not in its essence a new one. Since
the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, the conflict between the
national state and the church—whether conceived as an independent
association within the commonwealth or as an international society—has
provided some of the most significant passages of political history. The
struggle for religious freedom in England (which in the event proved the
spring of other liberties) was essentially a struggle to secure the
right of voluntary religious associations to determine their own
religious life and practices; and while the legal decision in the
Scottish Churches’ case was a revival of the Austinian doctrine of
state-sovereignty, and an assertion on the part of the state of its own
right to sit in judgment upon the religious proceedings of a church, the
ensuing situation proved so impossible (as has already been pointed out)
that the legal decision had to be annulled by a special piece of
legislation. Since that decision most of the “free” churches in England
have taken steps to safeguard themselves against similar intrusions on
the part of the state. In the present situation, however, such security
cannot be absolute since the state still has something to say to the
legal instruments under which the churches hold their temporalities. But
the entire episode shows how clear is the British sense that the
omnicompetency of the state does not extend into the sphere of religious
life and practice; and the “Life and Liberty” movement in the
Established Church of England is an indication that the control of the
state even over a state church is not beyond challenge.

The success with which the independent religious association has
established its right to live in the face of the state is probably due
to the circumstance that the region in which it claimed freedom was
strictly defined; and it may be argued that the state has been on the
whole more successful in resisting the claims of the church as an
international society because those claims were allowed to enter regions
in which the church’s competency could be reasonably denied. The case of
Lamennais’ illustrates the point. Lamennais began life as a fervent
monarchist and Catholic. He held strongly to the doctrine of the “two
societies,” the temporal and the spiritual of which the King and the
Pope respectively were the heads.[39] These two societies were distinct
and within their own sphere, independent of each other. But when the
monarchy encroached upon the freedom of the spiritual society, Lamennais
broke with it, and when later the papacy insisted upon a withdrawal of
his opinion that it had no rights outside the spiritual sphere, he broke
with the papacy also. He acknowledged the existence of a borderland in
which the interests of both were commingled—“that undiscovered country,”
as Lord Acton has put it, “where church and state are parted”; but the
broad configurations of the frontier were plain enough. For the most
part the relations of church and state as institutional authorities have
consisted of assaults and intrigues and forays in this “no man’s land”;
and it has not been historically to the advantage of either. And the
whole history of this conflict in France and out of it points to the
moral that without some clear definition of function, the relation of
the state to other associations within and without itself must be one of
continual conflict—that is to say, of course, so long as the state and
the other associations speak in terms of right and authority. Granted a
measure of good-will, the task of delimiting frontiers should not be
insuperable; but if a church or a labour union insists on its rights
while the state insists upon its authority, the natural result will be

Footnote 39:

  “Toute declaration qui supposerait de mon part, meme implicitement,
  l’abandon de la doctrine traditionelle de deux societés distinctes,
  independante chacune dans son ordre, serait non pas un acte de vertu,
  mais un acte coupable. La conscience ne le permet pas—.” This was
  Lamennais’ reply to a papal demand for retractation in 1833. See
  Boutard, _Lamennais_ II., 387.


At the same time that these independent nucleations of authority are
increasingly afoot within the body politic, we observe in recent times a
seemingly opposite tendency to impute competency to the state in regions
where hitherto its writ was not supposed to run. To a purist political
philosophy, the function of the state is broadly twofold—the
preservation of domestic order and the safeguarding of national
interests with reference to other nations. But it has latterly more and
more stretched out its tabernacle to cover other matters; even going so
far as to assume that a positive and comprehensive culture of national
life came legitimately within its domain. That this should be so in a
dynastic state like the German is easily understood; for the security
and pretensions of the dynasty are dependent upon an intense development
of human and material resources for military defence and offence. But
even where such particularist designs have not been so obtrusively
present, the state has tended more and more to absorb into itself the
control and organisation of national life in all its important phases.
It has, for instance, taken upon its shoulders almost the entire burden
of public education; it has conspicuously concentrated its thought and
wisdom upon measures designed to increase the material prosperity of the
nation—though in point of fact this has worked out chiefly as the
prosperity of a few favourably situated persons. The care of the
destitute, old age pensions, health and unemployment insurance have been
included within its competency; and its apparently insatiable absorbent
proclivity is drawing into its capacious hands the control and operation
of the means of communication, the postal service, the railways,
telegraph and telephones. Plainly this extension of its office has been
accompanied by a large and indefinite increment of authority.

For this movement, two circumstances appear to be accountable. Of these
the first is the growth of an ill-defined and only partially understood
sense of collective responsibility for the well-being of the social
whole. Old Age Pensions, for instance, appear to constitute the proper
alternative to the precarious charity or the degrading “poor relief” to
which a less self-respecting social past committed the industrial
veteran. The means of communication similarly appear to a reasonably
educated community to be a public service rather than a gold-mine for
private individuals or concerns. The second circumstance is the prestige
which accrued to the state from the reaction of the late nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries from the bankrupt individualism of the
preceding generations. In their recoil from the anarchy of _laissez
faire_ and industrial competition men sought sanctuary in the state; and
in the event the state gained a repute for competency which led to a
facile transference to it of all those interests that appear to bear
materially upon the life of the community as a whole. But without
prejudice to the question of public ownership, it may be observed that
while the impulse which led to this regard for the state was natural and
admirable, it had the effect of concentrating in the state a volume of
power which was entirely ominous to the liberties of the individual.
Indeed, it may be said without much hesitation that the logic of
state-absolutism was revealed by the Germans only in time to save their
neighbours from the like tragedy of incontinent subjection to the state.
And the sense of personal responsibility was in danger of atrophy under
the pleasing and soporific influence of the popular idea that the state
was a sort of fairy god-mother who could be trusted to step in and make
good individual derelictions and delinquencies—which frame of mind
accorded well with the related drift towards unquestioning submission to
the state.


In democratic communities the sovereignty of the state is a residuum
left over from the period of dynastic government; and though the divine
right of kings is obsolete, we have not yet out-grown the derivative
dogma of the divine right of governments. There still gathers around the
state an odour of sanctity; and in minds that have a turn for
abstraction it is apt to take shape as a sacrosanct objective reality.
But soon or late the democratic peoples will have to look upon the state
with a cold and business-like realism if they are to be delivered from
the dangers that lurk in all quasi-religious and sentimental abasement
to conventional idols. It is just this vague political devoutness that
makes it easy for the common people to be stampeded into invidious
commercial and military enterprises by statesmen schooled in a tradition
either frankly dynastic or still deriving its main presuppositions from
the dynastic period. There is no security for democracy except in a
persistent posture of criticism towards its institutions; and there is
no immediate hope of a sane restoration of our somewhat shattered
fortunes except as we strip the halo away from the state and discuss it
dispassionately in terms of its functions.

Its police responsibilities remain with it as a matter of course, so
long as human nature needs policing; and it must provisionally remain
the organ of the community in its intercourse across its frontiers. With
this latter we are not for the moment concerned; what falls to be
considered is the problem of the state’s function in respect of, first,
the present tendency to form extraneous and independent (and on occasion
conceivably hostile and intractable) centres of authority, and second,
the recent process of investing the state with a sort of proprietorship
and pastorate at large. Summarily it may be said that the office of the
state in respect of these two developments is that it should be on the
one hand the clearing house of the increasing functional and
professional associations among which its ancient sovereignty is being
distributed, and on the other, the trustee of the public in the matter
of producing and distributing the goods that are essential to life. The
state of the case and the course of events indicate a doctrine of public
ownership with democratic functional control, with the necessary
machinery for the due co-ordination of the centres of control.

It seems a fairly safe risk to say that the movement toward the public
ownership of a certain range of utilities will suffer no abatement with
the passing of time. That the means of communication should be public
property should be as axiomatic as that a man’s nervous system should
belong to himself; and no serious question can be raised as to the
certainty of ultimate common proprietorship in this region. With respect
to the means of production the case is less clear; but it is a fair
assumption, that if a reasonable security of the maintenance of life and
health is to be achieved, there must be an increasing public ownership
of the sources of raw material and of the means of production so far as
the essential commodities are concerned. That there is a range of
industrial production beyond this limit which is quite legitimate but
which is nevertheless not a matter of universal concern is obvious; and
it seems very questionable whether it is the business of the state to do
more than to secure that the conditions under which these industries are
conducted are of a piece with those obtaining in the primary industries.
Objects of differential and selective interest do not appear to enter
into the province of the state; it has to do only with those for which
the demand is universal because they correspond to a general need. It is
a question (as has been previously suggested) whether in this region of
production it should not be the general rule that every member of the
community should share; in which case there would be ample time and
occasion for the production of the secondary and more selective goods
for life. There is nothing in this argument which should be construed
into a suggestion that the things called in this connection secondary
are unimportant. On the contrary they are very important; and with the
cultural development of society their importance is likely to grow. The
production of books and objects of æsthetic interest is likely to be
stimulated very materially by any advance in the right sort of
education. But (with the exception of a very narrow margin) these are
probably things which are not suitably and fruitfully produced except as
they are free from central regulation.

Within the limits so indicated, therefore, the trend of affairs is
rightly in the direction of public ownership—in which case we shall
require an organ in which this ownership shall be vested. For this
purpose the state is already to hand, and is indeed, already assuming
the office. Its first domestic office will consequently be that of a
public trustee. But this raises the question whether the trustee is to
be manager as well.

It is of course plain that the trust would be a pure fiction if some
measure of control in the disposition of the property were not implied
in it. Certainly the last word in such matters should belong to the
state. This, however, appears to bring us back to that very doctrine of
sovereignty from which, on our premises, it is our business to escape;
and, indeed, if we have no different sort of state organisation in mind
from that now current we should be starting out on a new cycle of
authoritarianism, were we to vest in the state so much authority. But
already the specifications of a new type of state-structure are being
indicated by the course of events.


It is of some significance at this point to observe that of the
functional associations within the commonwealth to which reference has
been made, the most powerful are those which are concerned with the
production of the primary commodities, and the means of their
distribution. This is no doubt chiefly due to the fact that these
associations represent the most numerous sections of the community. Coal
miners, engineers, transport workers, clothing makers—it is among these
classes that the movement toward combination has been most effectual.
One notable exception—namely, agricultural workers—is to be observed
here, the significance of which exception will come up for discussion
presently. It does not, however, affect the general run of the present
argument. The constitution and activity of the labour unions are
sufficiently well known to require no exposition here—the main point to
be emphasised being that here within the commonwealth are large, growing
and powerful groups formed around a particular interest; and that this
interest is deemed to be vital is evident from the steady growth of the
groups. But we may further infer that the existence of these groups is
due chiefly to the fact that the particular interest which concerns them
was not effectually regarded in the councils of the commonwealth at
large. The interests of the workers were presumably neglected to such a
degree that the class concerned deemed it necessary to organise itself
in order to safeguard and to enforce these interests. Indeed on the
workers’ showing the case was even worse. They argued that not only were
their peculiar interests neglected by the existing powers, but that
these powers were weighted in favour of those against whom more
specifically the worker had to defend his interests. The formation and
growth of the Non-partisan League in America is a recent instance of a
class nucleation under the pressure of circumstances largely parallel to
those here outlined.

The interests here discussed are of an economic kind, but they are vital
and essential. It is to be observed, however, that these particular
associations are not confined either to the worker or to interests
purely economic. Reference has already been made to the Bank Clearing
House. This is an instance of the formation of a powerful group to
promote the common interests of its members, though in this case its
formation was less due to the neglect of those interests by the state
than to the fact that the interests concerned have become so extensive
in range and so complex in character that the state was palpably
incompetent to handle them profitably. In certain cases where the state
has assumed liabilities of this kind (as in railway control) experience
has not in the long run endorsed the competency of the state for the
job. That, however, is less to the point than that we should observe the
tendency to form voluntary associations for the protection and promotion
of presumably necessary interests, and in some cases assuming (as in the
case of the Bank Clearing House) a kind of police authority within its
own field. Besides these economic and financial associations, there are
also large and powerful professional associations which exist likewise
to promote certain special interests. The British Medical Association
affords an instance of such association; and here again we have an
association which in the exercise of its office also assumes a function
of discipline. Just as the Bank Clearing House can put a recalcitrant
bank out of business, so the British Medical Association can “unfrock” a
doctor who has offended against the professional code. It is true that
the excommunicated culprit may in either case appeal to the civil courts
for redress; but the rarity of such appeals shows how nearly complete is
the authority exercised by these professional associations within their
own province. With certain modifications the same general rule obtains
in Teachers’ Unions, the Bar, the Co-operative Societies, Churches and
other voluntary associations of persons, that gather around the nucleus
of a special interest. The case is not so plain in regard to societies
of a specially cultural character which do not so directly abut upon the
general conduct of life, though the place of the Universities, Academies
of Art, Author’s Associations and the like, in the total scheme of
social life, makes it impossible to exclude them from consideration in
any discussion which looks to the integration of all the legitimate
interests of life in an organic full-growing social whole.

Such integration must, from the nature of the case, be a long and
tedious process; and the difficulties involved in its extension to such
distant and shadowy regions as Art and Authorship may be left for
solution until they become more imminent. It is in any case doubtful
whether the interests involved in these and similar cases are such as
would be served by any formal connection with the machinery of
government, except as regards certain narrow legal points (_e.g._
copyright). This is also true of the Churches whose sole point of
contact with the State is in the matter of their temporalities.
Fortunately for the moment the task need not take account of these
remoter complexities; and it will be a matter for legitimate argument
how far associations of a cultural kind are to enter into the
organisation of government, when those associations which are already
abutting on the province of the state and shearing it of some of its
powers have been successfully co-ordinated in a scheme of political


At this point it is important to bear in mind two things. First of all,
the real interests which go to make up the sum of our life are precisely
those which lead us to form ourselves into associations independent of
the state. Indeed, the particular interest which binds a given
individual to the state is generally fortuitous in its origin and
largely imaginary in character. A man chances to be born into a certain
geographical area, and in the great majority of cases that circumstance
fixes his state affiliation for his entire life. An emigrant may
transfer his affiliation to another state; but his case is exceptional.
Moreover, the nature of the interests which bind him to the state is of
a dubiously sentimental and imaginary order. This is not the place to
discuss the significance of that temper of attachment to a particular
political unity which is called patriotism; but it would appear to have
comparatively little to do with any essential purpose of life. This must
not be taken to mean that patriotism is to be decried as an evil or a
futile thing. On the contrary, in so far as it represents a feeling of
loyalty to a social group, it is admirable and of great value. Its value
is, however, compromised by the invidious and divisive colour which it
habitually appears to wear; and its historical uses—which chiefly
consist in its exploitation by astute statesmen—constitute a record
which is hardly flattering to human intelligence. In the main it plays
comparatively little part in the sum total of the ordinary man’s life;
and indeed it is hardly ever heard of in normal times until it is played
up by politicians who want a national backing for a selfish enterprise
at the expense of some other community. Its chief significance seems to
be that it provides a reserve of sentimental devotion which may be drawn
upon without limit in the cause of national prestige or national
defence. Outside war-time, the state appears to touch the ordinary man’s
life directly only when it requires him to pay the expenses of its
upkeep or when he provokes the attention of the police. But on the other
hand, when a man joins a Trade Union or a religious society it is
because the new association bears some sort of vital and immediate
relation to his life. The most authentic interests of life are those
which move men to join together voluntarily for their defence and
promotion; and for the purpose of social development, the associations
that grow in this fashion are at least of no less importance to the
common run of men than the state. It is no longer tolerable, therefore,
that in the general management of the affairs of a community these
associations should be virtually ignored in deference to a doctrine
which presupposes that the state and the individual are the sole terms
of political theory and practice, and that such associations exist
within the commonwealth only on sufferance of the state.

Second, it has some bearing upon our present argument that these
associations may conceivably come at any time into conflict with the
interests of the social whole. A trade union may, for instance, make
claims which are incongruous with the well-being of the general public;
churches have been known to claim advantages which are inconsistent with
the freedom and welfare of other religious societies. With the
multiplication of societies within the commonwealth, and especially in
view of the prospective great increase of strength in the case of trade
unions, it is entirely essential that such bodies should be required
directly to participate in the responsibility of promoting the general
social good. They should—in their character of associations charging
themselves with certain vital though particular interests—be introduced
into the official management of public affairs. So long as they live
more or less isolated and unco-ordinated lives they remain in danger of
becoming antisocial in effect; and the only remedy is to provide for
them a clearing-house in the conduct of which they are directly
implicated; and once more, the state is already to hand and its
machinery should be so ordered as to enable it to discharge this office.

Theoretically our movement is away from the “amoeba” conception of the
national state, which regards it as an independent unicellular affair
with the central state organisation as its nucleus, to a conception of
it as multicellular, and finding a practical unity in the contribution
of all its cells to the activity of a common brain. This may be bad
biology but that is no argument against its political soundness.

A difficult question arises when we come to consider what associations
are entitled to this treatment; and it is plain that no association
which cannot prove a genuine social worth has a claim for recognition.
Some associations are powerful enough to claim and to receive
recognition without formal scrutiny of their credentials; but their
power is itself a presumptive proof that they correspond to a real
social need; and in the early stages of state-reconstruction, it will be
naturally such associations as can validate their claims by the volume
of authority with which they make them that will enter into the
arrangement. For the rest, we shall have to take the risk of being able
to cross the bridges when we come to them.


Discontent with the existing method of assembling the machinery of
government has been growing rapidly in recent years. The progress of the
proportional representation movement is the measure of this discontent;
and it is difficult to conceive any valid objection to the scheme on the
part of those who desire to give to the personnel of the governing body
a more genuinely representative character than it possesses at present.
At the same time, the transferable vote does not and from the nature of
the case cannot secure a completely representative government—at any
rate while we continue to elect parliamentary representatives on a
territorial basis.

We shall no doubt continue to elect representatives on a territorial
basis, for it would appear to be the only effectual method of
representing the chief interests which all individuals in the
commonwealth have in common, namely their interests as consumers (or
enjoyers). But the territorial unit is more or less arbitrary in
definition, and it does not coincide with the other interests that make
up the business of life. And these other interests have assumed a
commanding importance in the conduct of the business of life in recent
times. Reference was made in a previous paragraph to the fact that the
one great industry which was not adequately organised was agriculture.
The reason for this circumstance is to be found in the greater
difficulty which the farmers and the farm workers have had in getting
together. The other great industries are located in urban areas where
facilities of communication and meeting are comparatively easy. The
result of facilitating communication among the farmers is already
evident. The Non-partisan League was brought to birth by the Ford car
and the rural telephone. It is true that the farm-workers still lack the
opportunity of easy assembly; but what has happened in the case of the
farmers has the peculiar interest of being a graphic and simple object
lesson in the processes which have transformed modern life. Our present
political methods and acceptances date back to the period before the
railroad; and not only in politics, but in ethics and religion, we have
yet to take on the task of revising our traditional concepts in the
light of the vast transformation wrought by the swift advance in methods
of communication. The main result is that there are very few men who do
not belong to professional and trade organisations which stretch out
beyond their county boundaries, and there is a growing number to whom
these ultra-territorial associations are more vital and significant than
the local association of citizens in which the accident of their habitat
places them. The new fact for the problem of government consists in the
actual existence and multiplication of these professional and vocational
constituencies; and it is evident that that representative government is
unworthy the name which does not represent these large embodiments of
living opinion and interest.

If for the moment then, we consider the economic aspects of the life of
the community alone, it is evident that two main sources of
representation have to be provided for—the consumer and the producer;
and every man should have a vote in each capacity. The defect of the
Soviet organisation in Russia is that, as it is at present constituted,
it appears to provide the consumer with no direct representation. The
Russian Soviet is a council of workers. But it is evident that the
provision supply, carriage and distribution of commodities to a village
is the concern of the whole village independently of the share which the
villagers may have in the actual production of these commodities. So
that the consumer _qua_ consumer must be represented. The physician and
the teacher[40] may not be producers in a strict and direct sense; but
they are directly interested in the problem of consumption and are
interested in it in the same way as the village blacksmith and the
shoemaker. Moreover, there are problems of sanitation and road-keeping
in which they are all also equally concerned. The village and the city
ward are therefore proper units of representation. But they still remain
only one type of unit. The agricultural labourers who live in the
village may be members of a labour union which charges itself with the
oversight of the conditions of the agricultural labourer’s work. The
physician will also be a member of an association which is concerned
with the special interests of his profession. Here then we have another
type of unit. For our present purpose we are concerned with these units
only as they are industrial and productive.

Footnote 40:

  Of course there may be physicians’ and teachers’ soviets; but they
  will operate provincially rather than parochially, while the village
  soviet would appear usually to consist of peasants.

In Russia the problem of representing these “professional” or
“industrial” constituencies has been solved with greater ease than is
likely to be the case elsewhere. In many cases the owners of industrial
plants have been expropriated and a “shop-council” is in control. This
shop-council sees to it that none but members of the labour union
concerned are employed in the shop; it is free to hire what expert help
it requires to carry on production; and in general it rules the roost.
But it is an elected body, and it forms the cell-unit out of which,
through a hierarchy of local and provincial bodies, the All-Russian
Congress of Soviets is at last constituted. Naturally this scheme is not
yet in universal operation. Some employers are still tolerated to remain
in possession, and a single rule has not yet been established in the
tenure of land. But that is the general principle; and while it must
necessarily admit in practice of all sorts of exceptions, there is no
clear reason why it should not become effective throughout Russia.

But this simplicity is not likely to obtain elsewhere. The forcible
immediate expropriation of the employer is not a probable contingency in
England or America so far as one may judge from present signs. But this
need constitute no insuperable obstacle to the institution of
shop-councils such as for instance have been set up in the woollen
trades at Bradford. And just as in this instance, the shop-council would
be generally the unit out of which an ascending scale of superior bodies
would be formed, reaching at last to what the Russians call the “supreme
council of public economy.” The outline of such an organisation is to be
found already in Mr. Malcolm Sparkes’ scheme (referred to in another
chapter) of a “national industrial parliament”; and all that need be
added to the plan is that this industrial parliament should be
recognised as the actual legislative body within its own sphere, subject
to the review and veto of a final body which would be charged with the
oversight of all the interests of the commonwealth.[41]

Footnote 41:

  This “National Industrial Parliament” has come very near taking
  practical form in the proposal of the recent National Industrial
  Conference for a “National Industrial Council” in England.

Still confining ourselves to the economic interests, we should find it
necessary to secure that the labour unions shall find effective
representation in the legislative organisation; and so long as private
ownership of industrial plant is permitted, the same thing is true of
employers’ associations as well. But it is plain that while industry is
subject to this antagonism of interests within itself, it is not likely
to minister to the public interest as effectually as we have a right to
require of it. Ultimately we shall be compelled to establish the
doctrine that industrial production is a community-interest and to
institute the principle of national Guilds as the ground plan of
industrial organisation. Some approach to this plan has been made during
the war in the interests of increased productivity; and the situation
consequent upon the war in the belligerent countries is likely to
aggravate rather than abate the acuteness of the problem of
productivity. On this account it would be a grave misfortune if industry
were permitted to relapse into its pre-war inefficiency. Thorstein
Veblen, in a shrewd analysis of the working of the capitalistic system
in America, estimates that it “lowers the actual output of the country’s
industry by something near fifty per cent. of its ordinary capacity when
fully employed.” “But” he adds, “it is at the same time plain enough
that this, in the larger sense, untoward discrepancy between productive
capacity and current productive output can readily be corrected, in some
appreciable degree at least, by any sufficient authority that shall
undertake to control the country’s industrial forces without regard to
pecuniary profit and loss. Any authority competent to take over the
control and regulate the conduct of the community’s industry with a view
to maximum output as counted by weight and tale, rather than by net
aggregate price income over price cost can readily effect an appreciable
increase in the effectual productive capacity.... The several
belligerent nations of Europe are showing that it can be done, and they
are also showing that they are all aware, and have always been aware,
that the conduct of industry on business principles is incompetent to
bring the largest practical output of goods and service; incompetent to
such a degree indeed as not to be tolerable in a season of desperate
need when the nation requires the full use of its productive forces,
equipment and man power, regardless of the pecuniary claims of
individuals.”[42] The course of events seem to point to the institution
of the “sufficient authority” which Professor Veblen indicates. It is
clear that this authority must be of a character to ignore the
exigencies of the profit-system, and to operate with an eye single to
the welfare of the community; in which case, soon or late, there must be
eliminated from it those who would desire to turn it to a personal or
sectional advantage. Or at least their possible advantage from industry
shall be so rigorously abridged as to make it cease to be worth their
while to rig the business in such a way as to retard or otherwise to
interfere with output. But, inasmuch as this rigging has been done in
the past chiefly at the expense of the workers, they in their turn armed
themselves for defence, by joining into unions. With the elimination of
the private profit motive from industry, the character of the trade
union as a fighting body would largely if not wholly lapse; and the need
for its direct representation in industrial control would cease to be
urgent or even important. Especially would this be true when a minimum
standard of life had been fixed and universally applied. The union would
merge into the guild which would include not the operatives alone but
the entire effective personnel of the industry. Out of these guilds,
themselves functioning through a hierarchy of bodies from the single
shop upward, would be formed the national industrial parliament which
would be the effectual economic authority of the community.

Footnote 42:

  Thorstein Veblen. _The Nature of Peace_, pp. 173, 174.


That this in its turn should be subject to a still higher court goes
without saying. For in this capacity our industrial parliament
represents the community only as producing. The general interests of the
common man who has to eat, drink, clothe himself, find a roof over his
head, marry, bring up children, are not subordinate to his interest as a
producer; nor are they covered by a parliament which supervises the
productive interests alone.[43] The standard of life must be fixed by
the common will of the community; and it will be the business of the
industrial parliament to see that the volume, quality and conditions of
production shall correspond to this standard; and somewhere there must
be a body which also sees to it that the industrial parliament is
discharging its task efficiently. It must even be in a position to veto
the acts of the industrial parliament should that course become
necessary; and this position could be secured by vesting the purchase
and control of raw material in the hands of this superior body. At the
same time it is evident that there are functions which this superior
body is not efficient to discharge simply on the ground of its being
representative of the general consumer. The problems of education and
public health, for instance, are highly specialised affairs which a
purely representative assembly on the traditional lines has proved
itself incompetent to handle—and it is notorious how both education and
national hygiene have had their development governed and deflected from
its proper course by the too great ascendency of trade and business
interests in the legislature. Just as the industrial affairs of the
community are committed to the charge of those who are directly engaged
in them, so the education of the country should be in the hands of a
self-governing body of teachers, and the public health to a
self-governing medical association—in both cases the personnel being
regarded as members of a public service serving under standardised
conditions, and their representative and executive body being like the
guild parliament answerable to the supreme national assembly.

Footnote 43:

  It has been suggested that associations of _Consumers_, e.g. the
  Co-operative Societies, should be represented in the National
  Industrial Parliament.

It would be palpably beyond the province of this writing to do more than
thus roughly indicate the general direction in which the organisation of
government should and is likely to go; and there are conspicuous
questions—such as national finance and the administration of law—which
would enter deeply into a detailed discussion but have here to be passed
by with no more than this cursory mention. It is now desired only to
emphasise the fact that the actual conditions of modern life have made
the existing legislative machinery obsolete, and that moreover they
point to the nature of the changes which are required to make the
machinery to fit the facts of the case. Summarily, therefore, it may be
said that there are two types of social unit which must be recognised,
the one being of the geographical, the other of the vocational order.
Somewhere these two sources of representation must meet in a supreme
common assembly; and the picture which passes through the mind—say in
England—is of a joint house of county and municipal representatives
chosen by way of ward and village and district councils, and of
representatives of accredited national industrial and professional
associations. Yet, insomuch as this process of delegation would make the
sense of connection between the individual citizen and the supreme
assembly somewhat weak and faint, it would appear to be necessary to
provide for some measure of direct popular representation in the
assembly. So that we should have a house drawing its personnel from
three sources—from the people directly, and by delegation from the two
types of social constituency, local and functional. In this body would
be vested the supreme and final control of national affairs; and to this
body the Guild-parliament and other departmental bodies would render
account of their stewardship. It is only in some such way as this that
remedy is to be found for a state of things, in which, apart from paid
experts in administrative departments, the vital interests of industry,
education and national health are committed to a body to which the
chances of a general election may return not one single person competent
to speak to these matters at first hand.


It is not necessary to extend this discussion into further detail since
we are concerned only to indicate a direction rather than to describe a
finished product. It may, moreover, be justly questioned whether the
business of government can range to any fruitful purpose beyond the
common economic, hygienic and educational concerns of the community, and
such derivative and concomitant operations as they require for their
effectual conduct. In any case it would appear that the remaining
interests of life abut on the legitimate province of government only at
minor and somewhat special points. These particular interests are for
the most part of the “spiritual” order—religious and cultural; and from
the nature of the case it were best to leave them to go their own way in
peace so long as they may not equitably be charged with encroaching upon
the general welfare. Such matters as the property of a religious society
or an author’s copyright represent the kind of point at which the
spiritual interests come into some sort of relation with the state; and
these are essentially matters in the state-regulation of which the chief
care should be to avoid anything that may interfere with independence
and freedom of thought.

For when all is said and done, it is in this particular region that we
must look for the actual and characteristic fruits of a democratic
order. The real wealth of a community consists in the capacity it
possesses and acquires for activity of a creative kind; its true riches
are “the riches of the mind.” And in a sense we may say that the
business of government is to set the house-keeping machinery moving so
smoothly and efficiently that there will be real wayleave for the
spiritual business of life. Just as the best physical condition of a man
is that in which he is least aware of his body, so the best government
is that which makes the governed least conscious of its operation. Here
as elsewhere, _magna ars celare artem_. But is there any guarantee that
such a state-organisation as is here pleaded for will be any more
friendly to freedom of thought than the existing type? So far as the
traditional state is concerned, it regards freedom of thought largely as
a concession which is not quite congruous with the postulates upon which
it habitually acts. Freedom of thought has been wrested from the state
by main force; and then only with the understood proviso that the state
is empowered on due occasion to withdraw the concession. The habit of
free thought has however become so ingrained in the idea of democratic
progress that there is now only one due occasion on which the state can
interfere with it with any prospect of success—that is, in the event of
war. Still from the standpoint of the state, freedom of thought is a
regrettable, though, as things are, unavoidable defect in its machinery.
It interferes sadly with the uniformitarian programme of the typical
governmental mind. But this grudging toleration of freedom of thought is
an inheritance from the dynastic period when it was necessary to have a
population easily mobilisable for whatever adventure the dynast might
plan, or whatever necessity of defence might be laid on him. The
dynastic tradition required a regimentated people; and we have outgrown
the dynastic tradition without discarding all its characteristic modes
of working. This is in part to be accounted for by the fact that the
continued existence of dynastic pretensions and the consequent danger of
dynastic adventures of a predatory kind has necessitated the survival of
dynastic ideas and practices as a measure of insurance even in
communities that have discarded the dynastic principle. There will be no
secure freedom of thought anywhere so long as the world contains any
powerful survival of the dynastic tradition.

Latterly the dynastic tradition has (for patent reasons) been the enemy;
but it is not unlikely that the downfall of the dynastic tradition may
do no more than clear the decks for another more recent predatory
institution, not less ominous for human well-being, which may secure the
reversion of all the stock-in-trade and goodwill of its predecessor in
the matter of national prestige and honour and the like. This is that
commercial imperialism which has already insinuated itself into the
folds of whatever mantle the dynastic tradition is still able to wear—so
much so that it is popularly believed to be impossible to define the
frontier at which dynastic pretensions end and commercial chauvinism
begins. In any case it is sure that as the dynastic institution falls
into desuetude, this commercial imperialism will make a strenuous effort
to step into its shoes and arm itself with its weapons. There may be
some difference between the person who seeks to gobble up the face of
the earth and his brother who seeks to gobble up the markets of the
earth. But for practical purposes they belong to the same class and will
use the same methods. The nations will be persuaded to maintain
sufficient military establishments to protect national capital when it
is sent upon profitable adventures beyond the frontier; and the prospect
of national prosperity and jealousy for national prestige will be worked
for all that they are worth in support of these projects. With the net
result that the attention of the state will be chiefly directed in the
future as in the past to the furtherance of particularist national
interests, and the consequent need of centralised power in the state for
the easy regimentation of the people in case of emergency will remain as
a permanent arrest on democratic development. And all this is the more
tragic in that the “national” interests alleged to be engaged are in
point of fact the interests only of the capitalist class. The rest of
the nation stands to gain nothing material from these operations.

This latter danger can, however, be dealt with by the simple expedient
of declaring that the capital goes out of the country at its own risk.
It is, anyhow, preposterous to assume that capital has any inherent
right to seek national protection when it travels abroad on private
ventures of its own. That should be as clear as daylight; and its
recognition would remove one of the main sources of international
trouble. But it would also release the community from a good deal of the
present wasteful and distracting preoccupation with the business
incidental to the chances of international trouble, and leave it free to
concern itself with the more vital matters of its inner life. And most
of all, with the passing of the dynastic danger, this refusal to
under-write the risks of profit-seeking capitalistic adventures abroad
would remove the chief reason for that residual embargo on utter freedom
of thought which must exist in a community which has to be held in
readiness for swift regimentation. Men will never be wholly free until
the possibility of war has disappeared from the earth.

With the diminution of the chances of international friction, the
urgency of domestic uniformity will in great part disappear; and
democratic life may be counted upon to express itself in a free and
unlimited variation of thought and interest. At the same time it is
obvious that the present doctrine of property-rights within the
community entails a serious limitation upon the freedom of the mind.
Notice has already been taken of the effect of the property-privilege as
it operates in the hands of the capitalist employer upon the freedom of
the worker; but the hindrance to freedom ranges far beyond this region.
In domestic legislation, the rights of property have virtually been “the
law and the prophets”; and modern states have shown themselves more
jealous for the defence of vested interests than the culture of the
national life. It may be indeed that they have not perceived that these
two things were different, not to say opposed. But how far these vested
interests enter into the counsels of the state is evident from the fact
that it has tended to treat any doctrine which assails them as criminal;
and crimes against property are almost invariably treated with greater
severity than crimes against the person. While these class rights are
still recognised as entitled to the corporate protection of the
community, there will be a region within which freedom of thought will
be still frowned upon and so far as may be denied. The sun is too high
in the heavens to permit of persecution save in sporadic cases; and it
would seem that this is the last ditch in which privilege is still
entrenched in its retreat before the advance of freedom. _Lese-majesté_
has ceased to be a dangerous crime; the heretic in religion enjoys his
heresies unmolested; and the accident of noble birth has ceased to
confer a privilege. The “divine rights” of property will presently go
the way of the divine right of kings; and then democracy will have all
its enemies under its feet, unless there may be lurking beyond the
frontier some unforeseen and unforeseeable enemy. Yet this enemy too the
spirit of democracy may be trusted to subdue.

Entire freedom of thought is contingent upon the ultimate disappearance
of all forms of special and exclusive privilege, whether it appertains
to monarchy, aristocracy or property; and freedom of thought is still
tolerated grudgingly because government is contaminated by a survival of
habits of thought derived from the doctrine of special inherent and
sacred rights. The type of government pleaded for in these pages is one
which assumes that no special interest shall have precedence over the
good of the social whole, and which requires that every separate
interest shall be subordinated to and co-ordinated into a general scheme
of social welfare. The rights of property will be subject to such
curtailment as the common good requires. And since therefore the main
causes of existing limitations on freedom of thought will have
disappeared, there seems to be no reason why this type of government
should at any time take it upon itself to repress or to control thought.
To this statement one exception may require to be made parenthetically,
namely, that the continuance of sources of international trouble that
may eventuate in war will probably necessitate occasional interference
with freedom of thought and action. This matter we shall consider in
more detail presently. Meantime, it is not rash to believe that in a
state of the type here indicated, there will not only be any disposition
to set bounds upon independent thought but a definite tendency to
encourage it. It may conceivably come to conceive of national “prestige”
in terms of perfect and untrammelled intellectual freedom.

Three conditions seem to be necessary to such an end. The first has to
do with national education the aim of which should be to make every
individual capable of thinking for himself and imparting to him a social
vision which will discipline and fructify his thought. To this matter
also we shall need to return at a later point.

The second condition is the provision of opportunities of free public
discussion. To this subject some reference has already been made; and
nothing more extended need now be added, save only, perhaps, the thought
that the encouragement of free public discussion is the proper safeguard
against the vagaries and dangers of a suppressed and inarticulate
dissent. Let the new thing be brought into the Agora as it was in old
Athens; and the daylight will declare whether it be gold or stubble.

The third condition is the full and unconditional recognition of the
right of association,—the only proviso being that no association shall
have private or occult or undeclared purposes. A strong tendency to the
formation of social groups of various kinds, political, cultural,
religious, recreational, should be hailed as a sign of life in the
community. And even if the association be formed for the promulgation of
the view of a dissenting minority, it should be as frankly encouraged as
any other. For no view ever gains a considerable following which does
not embody some fact or truth of experience which is necessary to the
wholeness of life.


                             Chapter VIII.
                        A DEMOCRATIC WORLD.[44]

    “We believe in association—which is but the reduction to action of
    our faith in one sole God, and one sole law, and one sole aim—as the
    only means we possess of realising the truth; as the method of
    progress; the path leading towards perfection. The highest possible
    degree of human progress will correspond to the discovery and
    application of the vastest formula of association.

    We believe, therefore, in the Holy Alliance of the Peoples as the
    vastest formula of association possible in our epoch;—in the
    _liberty_ and _equality_ of the peoples without which no true
    association can exist; in _nationality_, which is the _conscience_
    of the peoples, and which, by assigning to them their part in the
    work of association, their function in humanity, constitutes their
    mission upon earth, that is to say, their _individuality_, without
    which neither liberty nor equality is possible; in the sacred
    _Fatherland_, cradle of nationality, altar and worship of the
    individuals of which each people is composed.

                  *       *       *       *       *

    And, as we believe in humanity as the sole interpreter of the law of
    God, so do we believe in the people of every state as the sole
    master, sole sovereign, and sole interpreter of the law of humanity,
    which governs every national mission. We believe in the people, one
    and indivisible, recognising neither castes nor privileges, neither
    _proletariat_ nor _aristocracy_, whether landed or financial; but
    simply an aggregate of faculties and forces consecrated to the
    well-being of all, to the administration of the common substance and
    possession, the terrestrial globe.”—


Footnote 44:

  This chapter was written some time before the League of Nations plan
  adopted at the Peace Conference was issued. It is, in spite of a few
  points which might require modification, allowed to stand as it was
  written, since the general course of the argument still appears to be
  sound, especially as it raises points in relation to which the
  official scheme will most certainly require great changes.

                  “Come, read the meaning of the deep!
                     The use of winds and waters learn!
                   ’Tis not to make the mother weep
                     For sons that never will return.

                   ’Tis not to make the nations show
                     Contempt for all whom seas divide;
                   ’Tis not to pamper war and woe
                     Nor feed traditionary pride;

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    It is to knit with loving life
                      The interests of land to land,
                    To join in far-seen fellowship
                      The tropic and the polar strand.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                 And more, for Knowledge crowns the gain
                   Of intercourse with other souls,
                 And wisdom travels not in vain
                   The plunging spaces of the poles.

                 O may our voice have power to say
                   How soon the wrecking discords cease,
                 When every wandering wave is gay
                   With golden argosies of peace.”

                                                       —GEORGE MEREDITH.

DEMOCRACY can only thrive in a democratic setting; and while any
powerful remnants of the dynastic tradition survive in the world, it is
unlikely that democracy will be able to reach the full term of its own
development. For the dynastic tradition is from the nature of the case
of an incurably predatory character; and democracy will be arrested in
its self-realisation by so much of the dynastic habit of thought and way
of life as it may be necessary to retain in order to gain immunity from
attack. It has been one of the commonplaces of the Great War that the
democratic countries have been compelled to defend themselves against
Prussianism by adopting the familiar Prussian methods of repression and
regimentation. And what the war has actually provoked is always
potentially present. So long as there are dynastic nations with highly
centralised and omnicompetent authority and consequently in a more or
less advanced state of preparation for military enterprise, it is not to
be expected that their democratic neighbours will leave themselves at
their mercy; and the common democratic rights of freedom—whether of the
person or of thought—have to be so far permanently subject to
curtailment and even entire suspension in the event of war. It is easy
to say that once the danger is past, the former liberties will be
automatically restored; but it does not so work out in actual fact. For
authority is ever loth to relinquish any advantage it has gained; and
there are always parties in every community who either on selfish or
academic grounds are favourable to the curtailment of democratic rights.
The restoration of these rights has commonly to be effected against the
opposition of parties interested in their curtailment. It is a matter of
common knowledge that powerful interests are already at work, for
instance, to secure that the hard-won privileges of the Trade Unions
shall not be restored to them; and we may expect to find very
considerable and dangerous opposition to the re-establishment of those
civil liberties which were suspended “for the duration of the war.” It
is not likely, however, that this opposition can be long maintained. But
it is certain that it will be some time after the close of the war
before the domestic liberties of the democratic countries will be
restored to the point which they had reached at the beginning of the
war; and by so much democratic advance will have been retarded.


So that the development of the democratic principle requires the
cessation of war and of preparedness for war. And this to begin with
requires the disappearance of the dynastic tradition. But will the
disappearance of the dynastic tradition necessarily carry with it the
abolition of that preoccupation with national “prestige” and the like
out of which it has always drawn its strength? The dynasty may vanish;
but nationalism may remain; and the catchwords of national prestige and
national honour may conceivably become a menace to peace and therefore
to freedom as real as the dynastic tradition.

And at the present time there is, as has been previously shown, a very
real possibility that the disappearance of the dynastic tradition may
leave the door open to another type of predatory nationalism no less
injurious to the cause of democracy. This is that “commercial
imperialism” to which reference has already been made. The impression
has been deeply made upon this generation that the accumulation of
wealth constitutes the primary business of the community. It should aim
to become the richest, wealthiest nation. It is not generally perceived
that the distribution of this wealth is of a character which robs it of
any right to be regarded as a “national” interest. It is the interest
only of a comparatively small class within the nation. Yet so sedulously
has this illusion of national prosperity been cultivated, and so feeble
is the faculty of discrimination in the multitude, that it will yet be
possible for commercial adventurers to invoke and receive national
endorsement of their projects even to the extent of a guarantee of
military support in case of need. The surplus capital of a nation will
seek avenues of activity beyond its frontiers and it will move heaven
and earth to secure that the nation shall be committed to the business
of protecting it when it goes abroad. And it will do this by fostering
the illusion that in some mysterious way its profitable foreign
excursions bring prosperity to the home community. A moment’s reflection
should be sufficient to show that operations of this kind will bring to
no nation any compensation that is even remotely commensurate with the
cost of guaranteeing them.

Nor is it for their foreign adventures alone that these particular
interests will work up national pride and prejudice. They look upon the
home market with the same avid eye as the foreign; and it is an affair
of common knowledge that they have not hesitated to inflame national
feeling in order to secure invidious protective tariffs against other
nations. “Keep out the foreigner” is always an effective battlecry; it
bears a certain immediate and obvious plausibility to the untutored and
uncritical mind. The argument for free trade labours under the
disadvantage of not possessing this kind of effective simplicity. Except
in cases where free trade has been tried and is supported by experience,
the argument for it has to lean upon postulates which are not so easily
demonstrable to the crowd and which do not lend themselves to glib
catchwords such as the protectionists delight in. It is easy for
instance, to show that the prosperity of a particular industry depends
upon its security against a foreign competition which apparently starts
with the superior advantage of cheap labour; and a case may be fairly
made for the protection of a young and struggling industry from unequal
competition. The protectionist, however, extends his argument to cover
all industry; his concern is not for the growth of a struggling industry
but for a monopoly of the home markets—what time he is also actively
invading foreign markets. The free trader has in reply to show that a
protective tariff is a stranglehold upon all industry. Because, for
instance, it renders the capitalist producer immune from foreign
competition, it reduces the necessity on his part to improve methods of
production; and in so much as his care is for his profits rather than
the real development of industry for the good of the social whole, he
will tend to remain content with obsolete and antiquated methods of
production so long as improvement is not essential to the maintenance of
profits. Moreover, it works in the direction of compelling the
industries of the nation to utilise the raw materials available within
its own borders even though these be inferior in quality to those
obtainable elsewhere, with the result that the national industries are
seriously handicapped in competition in foreign markets, even in some
cases in the home markets. The problem of clothing oneself in the United
States of America is a sufficient illustration of the fantastic illusion
that a protective tariff makes for the common good. The tariff on
woollen goods may be useful to the owners of the woollen industries in
America; but the advantage is gained at the expense of the whole people,
including the very operatives in woollen mills.

This is, however, not the place to state the whole case as between
protection and free trade. Chiefly it is to our point here to emphasise
the fact that the advocates of a protective tariff belong mainly to the
capitalist class; and that they will plead for a protective tariff on
the ground of national prosperity, and that national pride and prejudice
will be invoked in support of the argument. They will be careful to
abstain from calling undue attention to the point that a protective
tariff will discriminate in favour of the classes that are already
sufficiently prosperous, and their popular argument will have much to
say about the high wages of the worker. “Make the foreigner pay” was the
battlecry of the Chamberlainite fiscal reformer in England; and what the
foreigner pays we all enjoy together. It sounds fair enough; until it is
seen that by no chance whatsoever does the foreigner pay anything. He
may lose something in the diminution of his trade; but he pays nothing.
The payment is made by the domestic consumer in the higher prices which
immediately prevail in respect of “protected” commodities; and this
higher price brings an advantage to whom? To the worker? Not at all, if
the capitalist can help it. Will the worker get higher wages? Only if he
is strong enough to demand it. The empty hypocrisy of this talk about
national prosperity should be evident from the fact that the very people
who are interested in high prices are those who are equally interested
in lowering wages. The increase of the wage rate during the war has not
automatically or proportionately followed the rise in prices; it has
always to be wrested by main force from those whose interest lies in
keeping prices high and wages low. Under a protectionist régime, wages
are rarely high enough to compensate for the higher cost of living, and
the more dependent a country is upon importation from abroad, the truer
is this statement. It is only in countries like the United States of
America where the natural resources are large and more or less easily
available that protection can effect any substantial appearance of
social prosperity, and even in these cases it is scarcely doubtful that
the general prosperity would be greatly increased by the removal of a
protective tariff. The dividends upon invested capital would no doubt be
lower; but the general level of material well-being would be appreciably

Democracy must make up its mind upon this point. It must turn a cold and
critical eye upon all plausible talk about national prosperity and ask
whether this prosperity is in fact the thing it professes to be.
National wealth is so inequitably distributed that the production of
wealth as a national concern is a polity _pour rire_. Protection and
commercial imperialism are devices which work in the interests of the
already prosperous classes, a very small minority of the community. This
is not to say that there are not advocates of protective tariffs who
sincerely believe all they say so fluently about “national” prosperity;
of these good people it is not the disinterestedness that is to be
called into question but the intelligence. But it as sure as anything
can very well be that if a statutory limit were set upon profits,
incomes and fortunes, we should hear very little about protective
tariffs and the need of protecting commercial interests “_in partibus
infidelibus_.” To say that this would immediately crush the incentive to
the commercial and industrial enterprise of the nation would be an
unworthy reflection upon the patriotism of those who are at present
directing the enterprise. In any case the point which is coming up for
the decision of democratic communities is whether they are going to
identify themselves with, and commit themselves to, the support of
enterprises which primarily serve the interests of a class already well
enough provided for and which can bring no advantage to the people at
large commensurate with the risk involved in endorsing them. With the
crumbling of the dynastic tradition, the one substantial cause still
outstanding of international misunderstanding is commercial rivalry; but
this commercial rivalry is in no sense a rivalry between peoples; it is
purely a rivalry between the capitalist interests in the different
countries. Are the democracies still prepared to suffer arrest of their
own development by retaining a sort of potential war-footing in the
interests of what are after all mainly class-adventures?[45]

Footnote 45:

  The proposal to establish an _International Labour Standard_ will, of
  course, do something to rob the protectionist argument of the force it
  borrows from playing up the “dumping” of goods produced by underpaid
  foreign labour.

But it may be urged that even in the event of the elimination of this
type of commercial rivalry, the national feeling would still
remain—intrinsically and without the adventitious aid of dynastic or
commercial interests—a permanent ground of separation and possible
dissension between peoples, even democratic peoples. We are told that
there is such a thing as national “honour” which is a sacred trust and
which the nation must be prepared to defend against all comers. It may
be seriously questioned whether this conception of national “honour” is
not an archaism which has lapped over from the age when men still talked
of gambling debts as “debts of honour” and gentlemen adjusted their
differences by means of “affairs of honour.” It should be evident that
no nation has any kind of honour which is subject to real offence save
at its own hands, or which can be forfeited save by its own act; and a
nation in anything like a mature stage of ethical development should be
(in a memorable phrase) “too proud to fight” merely because its _amour
propre_ had been pricked by some ill-behaved urchin among the nations.
No self-respecting citizen resorts to fisticuffs in order to avenge an
insult; and the more self-respecting he is the more effectual is the
interior constraint which forbids him to act in that way. And it is
equally inconceivable that a self-respecting nation should think it
worth while to assert itself in a retaliatory way against what after all
can amount to no more than rudeness or impertinence. It is true that
there is a good deal of residual superstition in this particular region
which is apt to magnify out of all proportion the significance of such
improprieties as disrespect to the flag; but a little good humoured
realism is all the antidote that is required. Such things as these have
no real meaning except where symbolic and formal punctilio still takes
precedence over the actualities of life. For the rest, the only possible
sources of offence to national honour lies in the region where national
honour travels abroad in the persons of official and unofficial
individuals of that nation. But at this time of day, it is inconceivable
that any issues should arise in this region which are not capable of
easy and friendly adjustment. In point of fact, that is what usually
happens. Apologies are made; a formula is adopted; and the affair blows
over. It will occur to the cynical that in recent times the point of
honour has been chiefly insisted upon on such occasions as the pursuit
seemed likely to eventuate in some material advantage; in any case the
point of honour survives only as an affair of statesmen and diplomats
and provokes no more than a languid interest in the remainder of the
nation, which has more pressing concerns on hand. National “honour”
seems on the whole to be but a frill left over from the day in which the
divine right of kings was still a live dogma.

In the fact of nationality itself there is nothing which necessarily
tends to a breach of the peace. We know that it represents no fact of
organic inheritance which is bound to perpetuate divisions of an
unfriendly or unneighbourly kind between peoples. There is no modern
“nation” which can claim homogeneity of racial origin, of language, of
religion. It describes a political unity within which a people by the
simple process of living together has developed and is continuing to
develop a particular way of life and quality of culture. The peculiar
colour of national life is due of course to some extent to its
geographical location, to the circumstances of its history, and to its
natural resources, but national unity is achieved in the evolution of a
common tradition and a common culture. Nor is it possible to fix any
real bounds to the growth of a nation. It is a historical commonplace
how the small primitive groupings of man have steadily grown in extent
until we have reached the stage of vast aggregations of polyglot peoples
comprehended under a single national name—like the British Empire and
the United States. The “nation” possesses no fixity, and national
feeling undergoes continual change and modification as the result of
changing circumstances. There are many like the present writer whose
early schooling left them with the impression that there was a necessary
and permanent antagonism of interest between the British and French; but
since then the Entente Cordiale and other momentous happenings have
completely banished that hoary tradition from the British mind. It is,
moreover, not open to question that the increase and improvement of
means of communication have done much to dispel the ignorance from which
national prejudice and international suspicion drew their strength. The
biological judgment upon nationality is pertinent to this point: “All
the most important agencies producing the divergent modification of the
nations are human products and can be altered.”[46] These agencies are
presumably the factors which constitute what Mr. Benjamin Kidd called
social heredity; and he has shown with great force how possible it is to
“impose the elements of a new social heredity” on a whole people and to
change its character accordingly.[47] The sum of the matter is that
nationality is a fluid and changing entity; and its intrinsic nature and
its history appear to point to the conclusion that it is a necessary
stage in the evolution of human society, by which the caveman is to
become at last a citizen of the world. There is nothing to justify the
expectation that present national characters and national frontiers will
remain as permanent factors in the life of the world.

Footnote 46:

  Chalmers Mitchell, _Evolution and the War_, p. 90.

Footnote 47:

  Benjamin Kidd, _The Science of Power_, p. 305.

This does not mean that the world will not continue to be organised on
the basis of nationality; it means only that the present national
divisions are not permanent. The law of natural variation will operate
in producing diversity in the complexion and culture of communities; and
the race will contain to the end an infinite variety of social types.
Indeed as the dynastic imperial tradition decays, the tendency to induce
uniformity among the peoples brought under a common rule will disappear;
and the free play of variation will probably be more evident in the
future than it has been, at least in the near past. The emphasis upon
the rights of small nations and the disruption of Russia and of the Dual
Monarchy into their constituent nations both alike indicate that we
shall have a considerable accentuation of distinctive national types in
the years ahead of us. But this is not in any sense a matter for
misgiving; for the larger the variety of typical national cultures, the
more varied and rich will the life of the race become. As Lord Bryce
said in the early days of the war, the world was already too uniform and
was becoming more uniform every day; and a reaction from uniformity is a
sign of renewed life.

At the same time it must not be forgotten that without some balancing
principle there are dangers inherent in nationality. It has been justly
observed that nationality is an admirable thing when it is being
struggled for, but that once achieved it is apt to become a peril. The
passion for nationality may overshoot its mark. National
self-consciousness may breed national self-conceit; and out of this
temper especially under the conditions of modern commerce may grow the
spirit of aggression. It is useless to hide this fact from ourselves;
the recent history of Italy gives ample demonstration of it. The Italy
of Garibaldi was hardly recognisable in the Italy of the Tripoli
adventure. It is therefore necessary that the nations that have come to
new birth in the world-travail of these last five years, should be
preserved from the danger of becoming aggressive at the expense of their
neighbours, and in this necessity is contained in little the entire
problem of international integration which is likely to occupy the minds
of statesmen and political thinkers in the coming century. At the same
time the ultimate security of the peace which is necessary to the
progress of the democratic principle must lie not in external safeguards
and checks but in the increasing democratisation of national life. The
elimination of those residual predatory interests which still dog the
steps of democracy and are still able to pervert it to their own ends
may be helped by the creation of international machinery which will
limit the area of their opportunities; but it depends most of all upon
the progressive disappearance of class and sectional privileges within
the nations. For privilege is always predatory; and so long as there
still remain privileged classes within the nations no international
machinery of adjustment and restraint can do more than preserve a highly
precarious equilibrium between conflicting interests.


Upon this whole subject there is little to be said which is not already
perfectly clear to those who have given it any serious thought. Two
courses are open, and only two, to modern democracies. They may choose
to retain the traditional dogmas of national sovereignty and “honour,”
and the current acceptances of the business system, or they may resolve
upon a break with the past. The consequences of the first choice are
perfectly evident from the state into which the world has been brought
by its operation in the near past. It implies the retention of a
privileged class with interests to be defended at home and abroad; it
will work out in competitive commerce and as a natural corollary in
competitive armaments. And competitive armaments soon or late mean war.
It has already been pointed out how the doctrine of military
“preparedness” must inevitably retard and arrest the realisation of
democratic liberty within the nation, but it must farther be recognised
that any general retention of military establishments, under the
conditions of modern industry, must eventuate in the total destruction
of democracy and civilisation. The other choice means a deliberate and
progressive attempt to organise the intercourse of nations upon a basis
of reciprocity and co-operation. Even though the consequences of such an
attempt may be at present uncertain and problematical, it may at least
be asserted that they cannot be worse than those which have so
tragically ensued from the former tradition.

Indeed, we have already come to a state of the world in which the former
tradition has long ceased to correspond to actuality. So long as the
means of communication remained elementary and slow, it was possible for
nations to live more or less independent lives and it was in their
interest to become self-sufficing and self-contained. They were
sufficiently far from one another to meet only in the event of border
brawls or of predatory excursions on a large scale on the part of a
strong neighbour against a weaker. But with the modern development of
the means of communication a policy of isolation has become utterly
impossible. The world has become a neighbourhood; and national interests
are inextricably intertwined. When President Wilson said in 1916 that
the European War was the last great war out of participation in which it
would be possible for the United States to remain, he was speaking with
this particular circumstance in mind; and not even his foresight was
sufficient at that time to see that the day of isolation was already
over. In six months, the United States was engulfed in the bloody
maelstrom. The policy of national isolation is obsolete; and the persons
who advocate military preparedness and protective tariffs are “back
numbers.” These atavistic policies are no longer possible except at the
cost of the incalculable impoverishment of the nation which adopts them.
The nation that shuts others out also shuts itself in and will slowly
perish from an inbreeding mind and an ingrowing energy. For the barrier
against mutual confidence and goodwill which is military preparedness,
and the barrier against reciprocal trade, which is a protective tariff,
hinder much more than the exchanges of friendship and trade. They hinder
that exchange of spiritual, intellectual and cultural goods which are on
any radical analysis more essential to a people’s growth and wealth than
its trade.

Even as things are, those barriers are not sufficient to prevent a
certain mutuality in trade and in culture. Neither the German tariff
could keep Sheffield steel out of Germany, nor does the United States
tariff keep Bradford cloth out of America, and in the region of
intellectual and cultural interests the commerce has attained in recent
times a considerable briskness. But in the present state of the world,
why should a nation still cling to the illusion that it is a source of
strength to be self-contained? It is simply silly to continue to live on
homemade goods and homemade ideas when one’s neighbours are ready to
supply those which they are in a position to produce better than
ourselves, and to supply them freely on a basis of fair exchange; and it
is no compensation for the consumption of second-rate goods that it
helps to increase the bank balance of a few of one’s countrymen,
especially when these few countrymen who are thus profited can out of
their profits procure the superior foreign article which they put out of
the reach of the rest.

The organisation of the world upon a basis of international reciprocity
becomes a necessity by reason of the proximity into which modern means
of communication have thrown the peoples. The process is indeed already
afoot and in spite of hindrances will inevitably grow in power and
range; and we are only anticipating events when we set out to organise
the nations on a foundation of mutuality. The process is, however, not
without its difficulties; and the conditions which are necessary in
order to create a league of nations bound together by a principle of
reciprocity may be passed in brief review.


First of all it is necessary that the last vestige of imperial dominion
should disappear. A nation which is held unwillingly within a particular
political unity should be emancipated and be set up in independence.
Real reciprocity is only possible on a foundation of common freedom, and
it is a pre-requisite of any scheme of world federation that any
so-called “subject” nation which puts in a claim to independence should
have its claim conceded at sight. The whole conception of reciprocity is
denied when a nation is dragged into the scheme at the tail of another.
At the same time it should be made clear that an independence thus
recognised does not carry with it the prerogative of a sovereignty of
the traditional kind. Independence is to mean autonomy in domestic
affairs but not independent action in external affairs. Reciprocity
implies joint action in matters of international interest; and in so
much as the working of a reciprocal scheme implies the power of
authoritative action by some superior joint council, it is clear that
there must be a cession of such portion of national sovereignty as is
implied in the joint transaction of international affairs. Nor is this
to be a rule merely for the lesser or the newly emancipated nations.
Clearly it must be a rule for all nations great or small which enter
into the arrangement. It is supposed that the nations will be found
unready to make this surrender; in which case it is in no need of
demonstration that a League of Nations is impossible save only for the
purely negative business of adjusting difficulties and settling
disputes. That indeed were a great gain, even though from the nature of
the case it would in all probability be only temporary. Nations still
boasting sovereignty would soon or late be tempted to take matters into
their own hands in the event of adjustments and settlements which proved
unsatisfactory. But in point of fact there is no difficulty at all about
this cession of sovereignty except in the minds of incurable jingoes or
legal doctrinaires. The thing has been done and is in practice on a
large scale already. That vast unity called the United States of America
became and remains possible only because independent states have
voluntarily ceded certain elements of their sovereignty to a federal
authority; and there is no objection other than that of chauvinistic
prejudice or of academic theory which could effectually prevent the
creation of a United States of Europe on the same basis and a greatly
extended United States of America as well.

But it requires to be emphasised at this point that we need less a
league of nations than a league of peoples; and if it be alleged that
this is a distinction which implies no real difference, the answer must
be made that the difference is indeed deep and vital. Sir Rabindranath
Tagore has lately criticised the idea of the nation on the ground that
it is the organisation of a people in the interests of its material
welfare and power;[48] and insomuch as the nation finds its focus in the
sovereign state, its effect is separative and divisive. A league of
nations in the Western World would tend to be a league of states, of
governments; and the psychological inheritance of such a league would
tend to an undue preoccupation with schemes and policies rather than the
broader matters of human intercourse. It is inconceivable that a league
of nations will be able to divest itself from the characteristic
stock-in-trade of the specialist in “foreign affairs,” since it would
naturally be engineered by statesmen schooled in the traditional order.
No league has any chance of permanence which does not break wholly with
the current conventions of international business; and the only hope of
such a break lies in the direct selection by the people of the various
countries of their own representatives on the council of the league. The
league must be democratically controlled; and that with as much direct
democratic power as such expedients as proportional representation and
recall can secure. The foreign offices of Europe are so incurably
steeped in an evil tradition that the less they have to do with any
future league the better. The secrecy, the intrigue, the diplomatic
_finesse_ in which they have been expert are incongruous with the
democratic principle; and it is necessary in the interest of
international understanding that they should be put out of commission
with all decent haste. The kind of domestic organisation for foreign
business which a league of nations requires differs _toto coelo_ from
the existing institution; and it will have to be built from the bottom

Footnote 48:

  See _Atlantic Monthly_, March, 1917, p. 291.

A league of peoples requires plain dealing in the open; but there is
nothing gained even then if there be no public apprehension of the
nature of the business in hand. Hitherto, the common man has displayed
but a flickering interest in the external affairs of his country; and
this vast and important region has been left the monopoly of a
comparatively small coterie of people who have made the shunning of
publicity a fine art. This circumstance is bound up with the fact that
speaking generally these persons have consistently belonged to the
prosperous classes; and the conventions of the diplomatic tradition have
made it a preserve of people possessing considerable independent
incomes. It is needless to observe how inevitably the whole service must
be vitiated by this anti-democratic discrimination. The established
system is secured by employing in it only those whose upbringing and
education have instilled into them the spirit of class superiority and
ascendency. The Foreign Offices of Europe have from the nature of the
case been the breeding ground of jingoism and chauvinism. The principle
of democratic control in foreign affairs, both by the public discussion
of international business and by the thorough democratisation of Foreign
Offices is a _sine qua non_ not alone of democracy at home but of any
such league of peoples as may be established.

It follows as a corollary that there should be a systematic education of
the people in foreign affairs. Popular ignorance would nullify any
advantage which accrued from the democratisation of the control and the
conduct of international business. For the control and conduct would
under such conditions pass back into the hands of specialists and
experts and interested parties. This popular education does not fail to
be considered in detail at this point. But it may be questioned whether
it can be effectively sustained unless in some form or another foreign
relations can be made a permanent issue of domestic politics. Perhaps we
may come to the point of instituting the popular election of the persons
in whom the responsibility of foreign business shall be vested. At the
present time it is only rarely, and then but in a subordinate way, that
questions of foreign policy enter into the issues of an election; and
until some means is devised of educating the public mind in the
subject-matter of foreign relations, this condition will continue.


It is, however, likely that the force of circumstances may expedite this
process of education. The articles of the coming peace are guaranteed to
contain a provision for general disarmament; and so far as Europe is
concerned, this will be a work of necessity and not of supererogation.
Professor Delbrück, for instance, has come to acknowledge that the
“derided notions” of disarmament, hitherto “entertained only by persons
of no account,” are likely to be raised to “the position of the ruling
principle of our time.”[49] His conversion is due to the fact that the
war will leave the belligerents of Europe in a financial position which
will not only make the increase of armaments impossible, but will
require the very drastic reduction of their military establishments. The
only danger to the process of disarmament lies in the circumstance that
two of the belligerent powers, the United States and Japan, have been so
little crippled by the war that they are in a position and may get into
the mood to maintain large armaments. It is useless to obscure from
ourselves the further circumstance that these two powers that are in a
position to afford large military establishments look upon one another
with a considerable measure of suspicion despite their recent
association upon the same side in the war, and the formal professions of
mutual good-will that have latterly been made. It must be borne in mind
that Japan is still mainly dynastic in government and consequently
imperialistic in spirit, that its economic development seems to require
an expansion of marketing opportunities, and that its over-population
will stimulate emigration. In these matters there is plenty of
inflammable stuff; and we should be guilty of not facing the facts of
the case, did we not perceive that by reason of the attraction which
Western America has for the Japanese emigrant, and of the peculiar
interest which America has taken in the welfare of China, situations of
very great peril may arise between Japan and the United States. It is
upon such a state of the case that the argument for universal military
service in America will be based; and indeed must be based; as it is
inconceivable that any American in his senses should apprehend any
danger from the other side of the Atlantic. The certain democratisation
of Europe and the virtual certainty of the impossibility on financial
grounds of any considerable war-like enterprise on the part of the
European nations make the contingency of a Transatlantic war unthinkable
at the present time, or indeed at any future time. This, of course,
pre-supposes that the causes of friction likely to arise from the
national underwriting of private foreign investments will be removed by
a common understanding that the private ventures of capital abroad are
made at its own risk.

Footnote 49:

  _Prüssische Jahrbucher_ (November, 1917).

The possible strain of the situation between the United States and Japan
is, however, already alleviated to some extent by the prospect of a
democratic movement in the latter country. Japan can in any case hardly
expect to keep its institutions intact if it enters into reciprocal
relations with democratic communities. Now, for the first time, a
commoner is premier of Japan; and the widespread social discontent is
likely to stimulate the tendency to popularise the machinery of
government. It is probably too much to expect in the present state of
Japanese education, that the veneration in which the dynasty is held
will speedily disappear. Yet after the swift and dramatic disappearance
of “divine rights” in Germany, it is not wise to assume that historical
processes of this type are necessarily slow.

Apart, however, from the possible causes of friction between the United
States and Japan, there seems to be little insuperable difficulty in
reaching an international understanding concerning disarmament.[50] Upon
such an understanding, the whole future of the projected League of
Nations hangs. The League will be no more than an empty shell if the
constituent nations still continue to go about with loaded fire-arms.
Yet even if the League itself were not to come into existence
immediately the economic necessity of disarmament would of itself
suffice to change international relationships very profoundly. Reduction
in armaments will involve a revolution in foreign policy. For the two
things go together. A particular kind of foreign policy requires a
corresponding scale of armaments; and the state of a nation’s armaments
very materially affects the objects and the tone of its foreign policy.
In a word the reduction of armaments would compel the nations in some
sort to moralise their mutual relations. The old basis of
ambition-_cum_-fear backed by force will have to be displaced by a
practice of plain dealing and mutual understanding. Since the nations
cannot afford to fight one another for some time to come, there is
nothing for it but that they learn to behave themselves properly toward
each other. After a while it is permissible to hope that they would not
want to fight each other.

Footnote 50:

  This statement does not seem quite so true now as when it was written,
  in view of the provisions of the Peace Treaty.


But if disarmament is likely to compel a new type of international
dealing, it is plain that there must be some kind of international
clearing house. We have gone past the stage at which one nation can
transact a bargain with another which will not affect the interests of a
third party. The shrinkage of the world has thrown the nations too
closely together for any of them to suppose that they can determine
their policies in isolation and carry them through piece-meal with this
one and that, without reference to the rest. Preferential trade
agreements, for instance, are not merely an affair of the contrasting
parties; they affect all the nations. And it is impossible any longer—in
the absence of _force majeure_—to establish relations of that kind
without the consent of the rest of the world. The case for an
international clearing house is indeed at this time of day irresistible.

Moreover, the immediate stress of the food-situation throughout the
world is certain to require some such organ for the co-ordination and
the distribution of the available food-supply. It seems likely that the
supply of food for the world will be for some years inadequate to the
need without careful distribution; and it will require the most careful
organisation and rationing of what food there is if the people of some
parts of the world are to escape very great and protracted hardship. For
this, a clearing house is necessary. Fortunately we have the foundations
of this organisation already laid—on the one hand in the machinery of
international distribution created by Mr. Hoover, and on the other in
Mr. David Lubin’s far-seeing institution of an international bureau for
the survey of the world’s grain resources. From a central organisation
of this kind the world will need to receive its food for some time to

Nor is the problem of food the only urgent matter of this kind. There
will be presently a very great demand for the raw material of industrial
production. In the past, raw material has been provided by means of
private ventures of all kinds on a competitive basis. Any reversion to
such a chaotic and uncoordinated method of providing raw material would
be attended by consequences of a most disastrous kind. There would be no
guarantee of equitable distribution among the nations; with the result
that those unfavourably placed in the matter of capital or credit, would
be put in a position of permanent and increasing economic dependence and
disability. If the nations now released from ancient tyrannies are to be
set upon their feet, it is plain that they must receive supplies of raw
material as nearly adequate for their need as possible. Otherwise we may
create a number of pauper nations. In addition to this fact, there is
also the danger that the private exploitation of the sources of raw
material would tend to the subjugation of backward peoples whose lands
chanced to be rich in such material. It is an old and a shameful story
how the need of civilisation for raw material has led to the laceration
and impoverishment of the native population of (say) Africa; and it is
necessary that the conscience of the world should refuse to tolerate the
system of concessions and the like which made this criminality possible.
On both grounds—the need of industrial production among the civilised
people, and the rights of the undeveloped peoples—a system of the joint
international quest and distribution of raw material is requisite.

This international rationing of raw material may seem a drastic and
impracticable proposal; but any consideration of its alternatives must
drive us to the conclusion that we cannot escape some experiment however
inadequate in this direction. In the present state of the world, the
balance is so overwhelmingly in favour of the strong nations that any
perpetuation of the private and competitive quest of raw materials will
simply lead to a struggle of great commercial imperialisms in which the
victims will be the weak nations. Just as the unprivileged classes
within the nation have been the victims of the great industrial powers,
the weaker nations which start with a handicap in the struggle will be
disabled in perpetuity and will be squeezed between their stronger
neighbours. It is difficult to see that the economic dependence and
subjection of one nation to another differs appreciably in its
consequences to the people at large from that political dependence and
subjection to destroy which the European war was undertaken and fought
at so terrific a cost.


The necessity and the logic of the case leads us therefore, to expect
the creation of an international organisation which shall have certain
positive functions in addition to the negative task of mitigating the
causes of international friction and the adjustment of differences. The
hope of the permanence of the League lies in its positive activities
rather than in its purely negative offices. Moreover, the just rationing
of food and raw material would of itself so considerably diminish the
possibility of international misunderstanding, that we may look to the
extension of the positive and integrative functions of the League while
the need of purely mediatorial activity would naturally decrease. Nor
have we exhausted the matters in which the need of the nations requires
action and organisation of a constructive and positive kind. At the
present time it is plain that some of the peoples newly liberated are
not in a position to conduct their affairs without outside assistance.
Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia, for instance, must be guided and
protected for some time to come; and while the peoples of these
countries might choose to be placed under the wing of one or other of
the existing “great” powers, it is not open to argument that such a
connection should be under an arrangement which secured the
accountability of the protecting power to an international body. If
Great Britain becomes foster-mother to Palestine, or France to Syria,
the agreement should be so formulated that this relationship is always
subject to revision at the hands of the League of Peoples. The case with
the native populations in the former German colonies is still more
clear. Africa, in especial, has suffered unspeakable things from the
imperialistic rivalries of the European nations; and its whole future
development is bound up with a guarantee that its territory and its
peoples shall be immune from invasion and exploitation at the hands of
nations with selfish purposes. This again points to the institution of a
system of international tutelage and supervision. It goes without
saying, of course, that any such international action should consist not
only of protection and tutelage, but of education into self-government.
The question as to the mode in which this international supervision
should be exercised is secondary. The proposal that it should be made
effective by means of international commissions is met with the
objection that international commissions have proved to be a failure in
practice. In some cases this is doubtless true; but it is not the whole
truth. The Danube Commission and the Postal Union furnish examples of
successful management by international commission. But there is no need
to mix up the question of international supervision with the method of
rendering it effective. There appears to be no inconsistency in
maintaining that the method of international commission would be most
fruitful in some instances, while the method of devolving the work upon
a single nation suitably placed for doing it would be more advantageous
in other cases. In those instances, where a weak or backward people is
capable of appreciating the alternatives, there is no reason why the
choice should not be left to the people themselves.

One of the further consequences of the contraction of the world is that
health has become an international question. The days when a plague
could be confined to a city are over.[51] The recent spread of the
so-called “Spanish” influenza is an instance which proves how
indissolubly bound together the world has come to be. And the system of
national quarantines has to be superseded by an international organ for
the localisation and the extirpation of diseases which like the bubonic
and the pneumonic plagues are capable of easy and destructive diffusion;
and for the removal of those conditions of filth and insanitation in any
part of the world to which these scourges owe their origin. It is
likely, moreover, that the great increase in pulmonary and venereal
diseases as by-products of the war require international handling if
their worst consequences are to be averted.

Footnote 51:

  If, indeed, there ever were any such days. In 1665, the Great Plague
  was brought from London to Eyam, a little Derbyshire town, in a parcel
  of cloth consigned to the local tailor!

It will also belong to the proposed international body to oversee and
improve the facilities for travel and transport. Obviously this is
largely a question of keeping the seas an open highway for traffic. The
phrase “the freedom of the seas” has a special connotation in current
discussions which is apt to obscure the real point at issue. The claim
made by the German Government for the establishment of the “freedom of
the seas” seemed and was intended to imply that British naval supremacy
had constituted a hindrance to sea-borne trade in normal times. No one
with any historical knowledge would be able to consent to that judgment.
British naval supremacy has been in no sense a limitation upon the
“freedom of the seas” in times of peace. The seas have always been free
in modern times; and so far from its having been restricted by British
naval supremacy, a good case may be made out for the contrary view. The
safety of the high seas is possibly more connected with the efficiency
of the British navy than a superficial judgment might allow. The freedom
of the seas only comes in question in war time; and if we are minded to
eliminate war from the world the whole problem loses its relevancy
anyhow, except in so far that some measure of police surveillance may
continue to be necessary. In the meantime it should be remembered that
the insular position of Great Britain has created the necessity in past
times for a strong navy in order to secure the freedom of the seas for
its own commerce; but it is not to be maintained for a moment that it
has in recent times used its supremacy to limit the freedom of other
commerce. Even if the policing of the high seas should be placed by the
international authority in the hands of Great Britain, its past record
shows that it may be trusted; and in any case its own interest in the
free and unimpeded passage of commerce upon the seas is a guarantee that
it would discharge its office effectually.

Still, it is probably not desirable that the control of the seas should
be devolved upon a single power. The universal interests of the nations
in the franchise of the ocean highways make it necessary that their
protection be an international obligation. This part of the problem
should, however, present no insuperable difficulty. In practice the high
seas are to all intents and purposes already neutralised. Our
difficulties arise when we come to the question of narrow inter-ocean
waterways. The most conspicuous, though perhaps not the most important,
case of this type, is the water connecting the Black and the Ægean Seas;
and the obvious solution lies in the permanent neutralisation of the
Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmora and the Dardanelles. There is no
difficulty involved in the institution of an international commission to
carry this project into effect. This particular outlet affects so many
nations that it is intolerable that it should remain the particular
property of a single nation; and the only possible alternative is this
of neutralisation under international commission. The straits of
Gibraltar present a different though a no more difficult problem. With
the development of modern ordnance, the military and political
importance of the Rock of Gibraltar has virtually disappeared; and its
value is chiefly that of a naval base and coaling station. It is
difficult to see what purpose under modern conditions the retention of a
kind of British sovereignty in the Straits serves. In the days when the
route to India had to be protected, it was of course another story; and
there is really no reason why the Straits of Gibraltar—as well as all
other narrow waterways—should not be neutralised in perpetuity under
international guarantee. The experience of the present war in the matter
of submarine attacks on merchant ships in the Mediterranean showed how
ineffectual any guardianship of the Straits is likely to be in the
future; and the same thing is true of all waterways which are not
sufficiently narrow to be swiftly barred against entrance by submarine

The most thorny part of this problem lies in the question of the two
great inter-ocean canals, Suez and Panama. These two passages are now
held by single powers though they are governed in such a way as to give
virtual equality of use to the seacraft of all nations. Apart from the
profits which accrue to the possessing nations from the charges upon
traffic, it is difficult to see what advantage the arrangement
possesses. It is in the interest of the possessing nations to encourage
the general use of the canals, so much so, indeed, that it has been
found expedient by the United States to renounce the idea of
preferential treatment to its own shipping in the Panama Canal. Probably
not much would be immediately gained by the neutralisation of these
canals, though it is likely that the pressure of circumstances may lead
to such an event at a later time. Nevertheless, any international
authority would find it necessary to secure that craft of all nations
should have free and equal access to the canals at all times.

But the facilitation of international traffic is not an affair of the
water only. It is no less essential that the great trunk railroads
should be effectually co-ordinated. The British project of an “all-red
route” round the world is an instance of the kind of co-ordination that
is required. The Interstate Railroad Commission of the United States
supplies the idea at another angle. The convenient international
transport of persons and commodities, the regulation of time-schedules,
of fares and freights, is surely part of the subject matter of a League
of Nations. It has long been seen that the roads of a nation are its
arteries and veins; and the provision of cheap and easy transit for
persons and things may well become one of the most potent factors in the
cohesive energy of a League of Nations.

Enough has already been said upon the conditions of international trade
which are requisite to the project of a League of Peoples. Invidious
protective tariffs, “favoured nation” clauses, preferential arrangements
of any kind must work injuriously to the process of integration. That
these devices are also injurious to the nations which utilise them is of
less moment to us at this point than their effect in creating rivalry
and antagonism. To secure a genuine and universal reciprocity in trade
should be one of the aims of the league, as it will also be one of the
primary conditions of its consolidation and growth.


But may not this concentration of authority in the hands of an
international body create a kind of super-state? In any case this danger
is very remote at the present time; but it is no less necessary that at
its inception conditions should be agreed upon which will safeguard it
from such a tendency. This might be done in one of two ways. It might,
for instance, be ordained that the machinery of the League should not be
unitary, but that the commissions requisite for various purposes should
be independently appointed by the contracting nations and derive their
mandate directly from them; and in the event of overlapping, the
commissions concerned might adjust the matter by joint session. The
other alternative is that there should be a supreme international
authority, but that it should be subject to a “Barrier Act.”[52] This
would provide that the power and the enactments of the authority should
be perpetually subject to the revision of the contracting parties; and
it would be impossible for the international body to take any material
step outside the limits of its mandate and consequently to extend its
sphere of authority without the general consent of the nations
concerned. Perhaps both these conditions are necessary—the direct
appointment of commissions and the Barrier Act; and in any case a
general agreement should be reached beforehand as to the limits and
nature of the functions to be vested in the international body. It is
plain, of course, that in any event the League must stand upon consent.
It will be a voluntary association of free peoples; and its maintenance
will depend upon the impossibility of its ever accruing any authority
sufficient to prevent the withdrawal of any nation which might be so
minded. It is questionable whether once the League had come into
operation, any nation could afford to withdraw; but no power should be
veiled in it to coerce a nation to remain in the League against its
will. The basis of free and voluntary association is the only guarantee
of genuine and fruitful solidarity.

Footnote 52:

  The Barrier Act was a Presbyterian device against hasty innovation.
  “Every proposal which contemplates a material change in the
  constitution of the Church or in its laws respecting doctrine,
  discipline, government, or worship, after being considered and
  accepted by the Synod, must be sent down to Presbyteries for their
  approval or disapproval, before it can become the law of the Church.”
  (The Book of Order of the Presbyterian Church of England, p. 50.) Just
  so, the Federal Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
  relative to prohibition had to be referred to the several states for
  endorsement before final ratification.

This, however, raises the question of whether the League should be armed
with powers to enforce its decisions. That it should be endowed with a
definite judicial authority goes without saying; but is it to be
supported by a police organisation? In the present state of opinion it
appears likely that some kind of international police force will be
attached to the League; but there are some reasons for doubting whether
such a provision is necessary or likely to be useful. In this connection
the interesting point has been raised that the Constitution of the
United States established a court to adjudicate upon disputes between
the States, with no provision of force to compel a State to accept the
Court’s decision, but depending upon public opinion alone to validate
the judgment. Had there been any attempt on the part of those who framed
the Constitution to invest the federal authority with power to coerce a
recalcitrant state, it is likely that the Union would never have come
into existence; but the Union was founded and survived despite the
absence of coercive sanctions, and the venture of faith has been
vindicated by the growth and unity of the American people.[53] There is
a real danger lest the institution of a police force at the disposal of
the League might prove a disruptive factor; and the question should be
carefully canvassed before a decision is reached. In any case it is safe
to say that it should be the business of the League to work towards the
ultimate elimination of coercive sanctions.

Footnote 53:

  Technically, in the Civil War, force was used to prevent the secession
  of the South; but what the North really fought for was the abolition
  of slavery.

But meantime is there any method by which the League could effectually
deal with recalcitrant nations other than direct physical compulsion? A
good deal has been said about the use of economic boycott; but it
requires some casuistry to distinguish successfully between military
coercion and economic boycott. Certainly in intention both devices come
within the same category, and in result they may work out in curiously
identical fashion. Constraint by starvation bears in effect a strong
family resemblance to constraint by destructive _force majeure_. At the
same time it is evident that a nation which chooses to put itself “in
_contumaciam_” must in some way or another pay the penalty of its
offence. The Bank Clearing House deals with an offending and impenitent
member by the simple process of exclusion. In the League of Nations, a
nation in the same position should be dealt with in the same fashion; it
should understand that its persistency in the offending attitude carries
with it exclusion from the comity of nations. It should, that is, be
compelled to accept the responsibility of imposing the punishment upon
itself. It has put itself outside the pale; and no injustice is involved
in accepting its deed at its obvious face value and letting it remain
where it has chosen to place itself until such time as it elects to
think better of its action. It is doubtful whether any constituent
nation would think it worth while to indulge in a contumacy which
automatically led to excommunication.

It would take us too far afield from our purpose to discuss the details
of the organisation required by a League of Nations. Questions of
constitution and representation, the problems involved in the adhesion
to the League of vast composite aggregates like the British Empire, and
of the place of some of the minute independent states that still remain
in the world,—these and many more matters will have to be faced in the
institution of the League. Here, however, it has been our business
merely to point out that some such device as a League of Peoples is
entirely necessary to the further development of the democratic
principle, and to pass in brief review certain of the conditions which
the League must satisfy, and certain of the functions it must assume, if
it is to be consistent with and helpful to the realisation of the ideal
of democracy. A League to enforce peace may be no more than the Holy
Alliance _redivivus_, an unholy alliance in defence of the _status
quo_.[54] What is needed is a League to guarantee freedom and to promote
fellowship, and given such a League peace will largely look after
itself. It is not sufficiently recognised that to make peace an object
in itself is to condemn the world to virtual stagnation. The only peace,
like the only happiness which is permanent, is that which is a
bye-product. Permanent peace will come from a voluntary association of
peoples co-operating on a basis of reciprocity; and such a consummation
is not so far off as it would at fist sight appear. The reciprocity
which has been established between the Allied peoples in the war will
have to be continued long after the war. Their needs are so vast that
they will only escape death and want by close co-operation. Moreover,
the agreement of the Allies reported in the press as these pages are
written to send food to their late enemies, is an asset of the utmost
importance to the creation of the League. And once the League is
properly afoot, we may live in the hope of the day which William Blake

               “In my exchanges, every land shall walk,
                  And mine in every land;
                Mutual shall build Jerusalem,
                  Both heart in heart, and hand in hand.”

Footnote 54:

  It is hardly possible to resist the remark at this point that the
  League as fashioned in Paris bears a strong family likeness to the
  Holy Alliance, and so far behaves uncommonly like it,—_e.g._, towards
  Russia and Hungary.


                              Chapter IX.
                       EDUCATION INTO DEMOCRACY.

    “Education teaches in what social welfare consists. It is of first
    importance to you that your sons should be taught what are the
    ruling principles and beliefs which guide the lives of their
    fellowmen in their own times and in their own country; what the
    moral, social and political programme of their nation is; what the
    spirit of the legislation by which their deeds will have to be
    judged; what degree of progress Humanity has already attained and
    that which it has yet to attain. And it is important to you that
    they should feel themselves from their earliest years, united in the
    spirit of equality and of love for a common aim, with the millions
    of brothers that God has given them.”—MAZZINI.


“IT was,” says Mr. Benjamin Kidd, “with a well-founded instinct that
William II. of Germany, on his accession turned to the elementary school
teachers of his country when he aimed to impose the elements of a new
social heredity on the whole German people.” It is impossible at this
time of day not to go far in agreement with Mr. Kidd when he tells us
that it is not so much what is born in a man as what he is born into
that shapes his life. The most powerful formative influence in the
shaping of character and outlook is “social heredity,” “imposed on the
young at an early age and under conditions of emotion.”[55] This
judgment is no longer a matter of speculation. Dr. Stanley Hall’s work
upon the phenomena of adolescence has made it clear that the plastic and
absorbent stuff of youth will inevitably take its abiding shape and
colour from the cultural setting in which it finds itself. The advocates
of sectarian education in the famous English controversy about the
Balfour Acts were, from their own point of view, speaking within the
universe of the soundest possible psychology when they insisted that in
religious education “atmosphere” was paramount. It was a piece of very
astute observation on the part of the ancient Jews that led to the
practice of bringing their twelve-year-old boys to Jerusalem for the
Passover ceremonies. All the early training was crystallised into a
definite direction of life by the induction of the youth at his most
sensitive moment into the highly charged emotional atmosphere of the
Holy City at the great festival of national remembrance and hope. He
went there a boy; he returned home a Jew.

Footnote 55:

  Benjamin Kidd, _The Science of Power_, p. 305.

Again and again in the course of this examination of the conditions of
democratic evolution, we have had reason to look to education for a
solution of many fundamental matters. It is indeed no longer possible to
overlook the absolute primacy of the school in any progressive
democratic polity; and if the foundations of the coming democratic
commonwealth are to be well and truly laid, they must be laid around
about the child. Our present purpose does not require that we should
consider the actual machinery of the education proper to democratic
development—that is a matter for the educator. Our business here and now
is to consider the broad general characters of such an education.

It is a commonplace that needs no labouring that modern education
suffers many things from the “dead hand.” The tradition of the “grammar
school” which aimed at opening the field of knowledge by a training in
letters is still with us, despite the fact that we have become
familiarised in recent years with a rounder and fuller conception of
education. We have been told again and again that the business of
education is to produce good citizens, to promote the growth of moral
character, and so forth; and slowly this emphasis has made some headway
in the minds of educational officials. But the whole implication of this
conception of education is far from being realised, even by those who
are actively engaged in the work of education. A disproportionate
pre-occupation with “letters” and knowledge still remains to betray our
bondage to traditional ideas; and this in spite of the fact that popular
education has in recent years received a very definite orientation
through the demand for industrial efficiency. But as yet there has not
been—save in the region of what is called “technical education”—any
serious and sustained effort to co-ordinate the whole subject matter of
education to this particular end. “Technical” education appears in the
scheme not as an integral or organic part of the process as a whole, but
as a somewhat arbitrary and unrelated annex to the last stage of the

To this demand that education should minister to industrial efficiency
we shall have reason to return presently. Here we are concerned only
with the fact that though this demand has been fairly general and
insistent, it has not succeeded in shaking the hold of tradition upon
the method of the educational process. Popular education still consists
in the main of variations upon and extensions of the three R’s; and
though the experts have discussed widely and in detail the ways and
means of directing the educational processes to given ends, the
solutions have not yet arrived in any very substantial way in the

Roughly, our popular education is still governed by the idea of
equipping the young person with such a quantum of knowledge as he may be
supposed to require in order to make a living and gain some sort of
settled place in life. It has become more and more possible in recent
times for boys and girls who show unusual aptitudes to proceed to the
higher branches of learning; but in the main our thought of popular
education has been coloured by a pernicious doctrine of “minimums.” We
have asked how little education can be given consistently with the need
of the individual and the society in which he lives; and the opposition
which meets any endeavour to raise the “school leaving age” proves quite
conclusively that we have not generally advanced beyond the stage of
regarding that education as best which is soonest done with. For this
the economic strain of life is partly accountable; it is desirable that
the boys and girls should be wage-earning as speedily as possible; but
even more responsible for this state of things is a general ignorance
concerning the meaning and purpose of education. Indeed, few of those
who are now parents have reason to recall with any profound interest or
gratitude the days when they were receiving an alleged education.
Something in the nature of a systematic campaign of education in the
interests of education would seem to be necessary if the popular
indifference is to be removed to any good purpose.

It has indeed to be remembered that popular education is still in its
infancy; and the prejudice it has to overcome is the result of the
inevitable failures of its experimental stages. When it is recalled that
elementary education in England was until 1870 in the hands of voluntary
agencies, and that only since that date has education become universally
accessible, it is perhaps remarkable that education should have made as
much headway as it has made; and much of our criticism of current
educational methods tends to overlook what is under the circumstances
the real magnitude of the achievement in education. At the same time it
is plain that our educational methods are in need of much sustained
radical criticism if our purposes in education are to be saved from


But most of all do we require to clear our minds concerning the goal we
are seeking through education. It is true, as Professor Dewey has
pointed out, that it is not possible to define an end for education; for
in a profound sense, education has no end. A true education will be that
which fits an individual to go on learning to the end of his life. The
aim of education is more education. At the same time this education will
not be for its own sake, or for the learning it helps the scholar to
acquire. Here again Dr. Dewey helps us by reminding us that one aim of
education is social efficiency. Plainly and beyond peradventure no
education will serve a democracy which does not produce socially
efficient persons.

But this word _efficiency_ has become discredited by its recent use. We
have heard something of efficiency engineers who have tried to reduce
human faculty into mathematical formulæ for the purpose of speeding up
and suitably supplementing the mechanical processes of industry. It
amounts to no more than a systematic endeavour to fit the human agent to
the machine so as to get more out of the machine. The result for the
life of the human agent as a whole is hardly taken into account. And
even if this myth of efficiency engineering has met the fate it
deserved, its very appearance and name are symptomatic of the general
direction of popular thought upon the main business of a community. Nor
is this confined to the classes that are interested in getting the
utmost out of the worker, or to the unreflecting public. The British
National Union of Teachers at its Annual Conference in 1916 declared
that “this great war, with its terrible wastage of human life and
material has brought into bold relief the economic potentialities of the
child. As never before, the nation now realises that efficient men and
women are the best permanent capital the state possesses.”[56] So that
the business of education is to develop the economic potentialities of
the child in order to provide capital for the state. It does not appear
that the child has any rights in the matter at all. He is to be trained
in order to become “the best permanent capital” of the state. It is to
be hoped that two more years of war have brought a more fruitful vision
to the National Union of Teachers.

Footnote 56:

  Quoted in the _Public_ (N.Y.), July 6th, 1918.

Yet the word _efficiency_ is worth keeping, for it embodies the true
conception of educational aim so long as it is rightly interpreted; and
industrial efficiency must be allowed to enter into our interpretation
of it. Industrial efficiency gains its preponderant emphasis in recent
discussion because we are still in the toils of the disastrous illusion
that the national ideal is national wealth. We think of the nation’s
well-being in terms of its financial prosperity; and naturally we tend
to subordinate all our social processes to this end. But the result of
this tendency will be to create not a society, but a wealth-producing
machine; and those human possibilities in which the final wealth of life
lies, will have to fight a doubtful battle for their very existence, and
at best can gain no more than a precarious foothold in the interstices
of the money-making organisation.

From this bias education must be delivered—at whatever cost; and a
doctrine of social efficiency enunciated which will be comprehensive
enough to satisfy the requirements of the single mind and the social
whole at the same time. In point of fact, these requirements are
virtually identical, for that which makes a full man makes also for a
full fellowship. The individual is to find himself in precisely those
things which enable him to contribute his due to society. We need,
therefore, to enquire somewhat broadly into the nature of the things in
which the individual shall render his due to the commonality. We shall
then be in a position to state in general terms what we should look to
the educational process to provide.

Professor Dewey has laid down in this connection a principle of the
utmost importance. He affirms that “we may produce in schools a
projection in type of the society we should like to realise.”[57] If we
are to train the young for social life, the proper method is to surround
them in childhood, so far as that may be, with the conditions of the
ideal social life toward which we look. The school should be the
_societas perfecta_ in miniature. This naturally requires a very
considerable departure in _tone_ from the conditions which still
prevail. The pontifical and authoritarian tradition of the mediæval
school is still with us; and an attention is devoted to problems of
discipline and order which is disproportionate to the real business of
preparing for life in a democratic commonwealth, and is to a great
extent from an angle and in a spirit alien to the purpose in hand. A
considerable breach in this system has already been made by the new
emphasis upon the value of self-determination in education from the
earliest stages; but the relaxation of the traditional canons of
discipline does not carry us far enough. Self-determination must be
recognised not only as an individual right but as a group
responsibility; and the practice of popular self-government should begin
in the schools. It is symptomatic of the present tendency among
educators of a liberal and radical type that in the prospectus of a
school soon to be established, it is laid down that the internal
government “shall be increasingly democratic, scholars and teachers
sharing both legislation and administration,” and that the external
government shall be vested in a council, representing the trustees, the
faculty and the scholars. This is a sane and fruitful method of
initiating boys and girls into the larger responsibilities of social
life. Already the plan has been adopted in some existing schools with a
considerable measure of success; and if the school is to be the organ of
a genuine training in social efficiency, we need a wide extension of
this method.

Footnote 57:

  _Democracy and Education_, p. 370.

But beyond this discipline in self-government, the school has to
undertake the fitting of the child for other kinds of social

(_a_) He must be trained to contribute his share to the supply of the
physical needs of the community. Obviously, in a school, the direct and
complete application of this principle is impossible. It is laid down in
the prospectus before referred to that “all must share, teacher and
scholar alike, in the labour that lies at the basis of human life and
unites all men through their common need”; and it is ordained that “the
kitchen, the crafts-room and the garden shall rank equally with the
classroom.” It is proposed to give the scholars “direct experience of
agricultural processes and the preparation of the main articles of food,
spinning, weaving, dyeing, sewing, carpentry, building, pottery,
printing and any other crafts directly contributing to the life of the
community.” Naturally, no child is required to become expert in all
these occupations; but his training in them will presently serve to
reveal his special aptitudes and to determine his own personal choice.

It is not contemplated in this particular experiment that machinery will
be introduced to any considerable extent; and while it is stated that
machinery will not be excluded, it is obvious that it is regarded with
some dubiety, if not hostility. But it is necessary to accept the
position that the machine industry is here with us and is here to stay;
and a proper perception of its true function will save us from assuming
a fallacious attitude in regard to it. While the incentive to the
development and improvement of large scale mechanical processes has been
the pursuit of profit, the real office of these processes is to diminish
the purely mechanical and menial operations which are necessary to life,
and consequently to release a larger volume of human energy for tasks of
a more independent and creative nature. There are certain necessities of
life concerning which our requirements are that they should be good in
quality and abundant in quantity—and as no question but of utility
arises in relation to them, they may be assigned to the large-scale
machine industry. This, however, does not in the least absolve us from
including in our school curriculum a provision for the habituation of
children to mechanical processes of this kind. But because these
processes are necessarily monotonous and irksome, every effort should be
made to introduce into them what elements of interest may be attached to
them; and to reduce to the lowest possible point the current tendency to
make the worker a mere accessory of the machine.

Miss Helen Marot has recently described proposals for an educational
experiment which aims at the association of discipline in industrial
production with the educational process. This particular experiment
takes the form of producing wooden toys; and while, as Miss Marot sees,
the production of toys has anyhow an intrinsic interest, the details
which are given show how radically the atmosphere of the machine
industry might be changed by giving it a place in the school curriculum.
Miss Marot’s assumption that the machine industry can be so transformed
by democratic control as to satisfy the creative instinct has already
been adversely criticised in these pages; but the present discussion is
not affected by criticism of that particular point. What it is to our
purpose to observe is that mechanical processes may be relieved of some
of their present irksomeness by supplying them with their appropriate
background. First of all, it is necessary that the worker should be
acquainted with the whole process of manufacture in order that he may
participate in his own special task with a measure of intelligent
interest; and this will involve a degree of familiarity with the
technical problems of management, with accounting and costing, with the
internal conditions of the industry and the plant, and with the larger
economics of the enterprise. But in addition to all this more immediate
business of habituation to routine, provision is made for the
development of artistic judgment and execution and for the acquisition
of knowledge relating to the craft itself—consisting in this case of
“authentic accounts and inspirational stories of industrial life,
especially of the lumber, wood-working and the toy industry.”

Obviously not all trades command the interest which can be created
around toy-making. In the manufacture of articles of utility which are
produced by processes of a highly standardised kind, it would be less
easy to introduce elements of romance and sentiment. Still much can and
should be done in every trade; and admission to any particular trade
should be preceded by some discipline of this kind. If ever industry is
organised on the basis of national Guilds, surely one function of the
Guilds will be to establish national trade schools in which a generous
training of this kind can be given and which shall be closely
co-ordinated to the entire scheme of public education.


But it cannot be too frequently emphasised that we are not to accept the
present subordination of social life to the exigencies of the machine
industry. That the machine industry is here to stay need not be argued;
and we may dismiss as impracticable the suggestion of a return to the
handicraft system. The machine industry must be retained for the
production of utilities where no question of beauty or ornament arises;
and it should be so ordered as to reduce the purely mechanical
operations entailed in the manufacture of the staple commodities to a
minimum. Consequently care should always be had to prevent an
exaggerated emphasis upon the place of the machine industry in
education. It is not to be pretended that mechanical processes can ever
in themselves minister substantially to the joy of life. The best that
can be said is that their present disadvantages can be materially
reduced; but not even the sense of partnership and democratic control,
the shortening of hours and the addition of intellectual interest, taken
all together, can turn factory life into “a thing of beauty and a joy
for ever.”

Some emphasis has already been laid upon the difference between
productive and creative activity. Creation is not merely production, but
reproduction, that is to say, the activity in which we express
_ourselves_ for the joy of the thing itself. The present writer was
brought up in a slate-quarrying town in North Wales. The workers spent
their time in mining and dressing roofing-slates—an industry which
involves no special skill save only in the department of
slate-splitting. This is handwork and no satisfactory mechanical
substitute for it has yet been contrived; and there is much emulation
among the workers in this process. Apart from this there is nothing
note-worthy about the industry except the very considerable extent of
partnership which prevails (or used to prevail) in the work itself and
of fellowship in the dressing shops. But after the day’s work was done
there was a somewhat remarkable activity of another kind. Sometimes a
worker would take a piece of raw slate home with him and spend his spare
time in turning it into candlesticks or some other article by means of a
lathe or by direct manual work. The result from an artistic standpoint
was doubtless very crude; but it was interesting and instructive to
observe the almost instinctive way in which men, released from necessary
toil, turned to the production of things of beauty. This free
self-expression took other forms in other men. Welsh quarrymen have
always been well-known for their literary tastes; and the town contained
a considerable number of quite capable writers of both prose and verse
in the Welsh language. Others there were—and these were a large
number—whose dispositions were musical; and since the purchase of
musical instruments was as a rule beyond these men’s pockets, they
devoted themselves to vocal music. The congregational singing in the
churches was famous throughout the country; and while there were many
individual vocalists and composers of considerable merit, the
development of choral singing reached an extremely high point. It was an
intensely religious community and was full of religious activities of
many kinds. It was perfectly plain that the real business and joy of
life lay not in the production of roofing-slates but in the exercises of
creative self-expression to which the men appeared to turn naturally and
instinctively when the business of making a livelihood was over.

This is a parable for the educator. While the business of producing the
necessities of life should be so conceived and ordered as to make
participation in it as much a pleasure as a duty, it is not to be
gainsaid that the joy and the ultimate wealth of life lies in the free
and self-directed activity of self-expression whether by the individual
himself or in some free concert with his neighbours. Education for life
will necessarily take account of this circumstance—not only because it
provides a means of personal satisfaction but also because it might, and
properly developed would, become the chief and the most characteristic
contribution of the individual to the life and growth of the community.
The school must therefore provide opportunity of independent personal
self-expression—in every manner of medium—in order that the peculiar
creative aptitude of each child may be discovered and encouraged.
Whether it be wood-carving or verse-writing, pattern-designing or
violin-playing, any education that pretends to fit a child for a vital
social service must make room for it.

It is in this region that we are to look for the differentiation of
future social function according to particular aptitudes. To-day,
education reproduces the traditional social schism between the
privileged and the disinherited classes. On the one hand, we have
schools and universities which aim to provide a culture appropriate to
those who have to assume the business of leadership and government in
the community; on the other we have a popular education which appears in
the main to aim at providing a docile mass amenable to leadership and
government. There is virtually no attempt to sift out of the mass those
who have aptitudes for special social tasks or genius for any form of
artistic production. Its methods—mitigated only by the vagaries of the
personal equation—are calculated to turn out human products having the
uniformity of a sheet of postage stamps. This method can have no result
but that of producing and perpetuating a general spiritual poverty. In a
democratic community it should be intolerable that schools for children
should exist other than the common school. The common school being what
it is, it is not surprising that there should be a demand for schools
that give a better chance to the human material of boys and girls. This,
however, tends to stereotype a class-distinction; and for that reason to
limit the field in which the talent for public leadership and artistic
and political genius might be discovered. In the common school there
should be provision and encouragement for the exercise of free and
original self-expression in every possible way so that each child may be
enabled to discover its own peculiar vocation in the commonwealth. Not
every child will reveal a faculty for creative self-expression of a high
order; but every child should have the chance of doing so. And it is the
only safe assumption on which to proceed that every child has in it the
latent capacity for making a unique and original personal contribution
to the total life and wealth and beauty of the community. The common
school should become the mine out of which we dig the raw material of
our poets, whether minor or major, our singers, our sculptors, our
fabricators of beautiful garments, our painters of pictures, our
orators, our thinkers and our house-decorators; and there is an untold
wealth of this raw material which is lost to society all the time under
the conditions of our present preoccupation with the making of money. It
would be stupid to suppose that every child can become a great artist;
but some kind of artist in some kind of medium every child should have
the opportunity of becoming, on the assumption that here—in this region
of creative self-expression—lies the richest contribution he can make to
the common life.


But the democratic principle further requires the intelligent
co-operation of persons in the conduct of affairs; and it is the part of
the common school to furnish the necessary equipment of this
partnership. In this equipment there are two main elements. The first is
the provision of adequate capital of information for the stimulation and
direction of thought; the second is the encouragement of independent and
original thought.

There is a certain body of knowledge which it is essential that the
child should have if he is to think rightly and to order his conduct
accordingly. This body of knowledge may be roughly described as
knowledge of the world in which we live; and its two chief parts have
reference to the world as it now is, and to the story of how it came to
be what it is. The former involves observation and interpretation of the
actual conditions of the life in which the child lives; and the process
should begin where the child stands. In the modern teaching of
geography, the beginning is made in school-yard or the precinct and from
this centre it broadens out to cover one’s city, one’s county, one’s
state or province, one’s country, until at last it embraces the round
earth. This is as it should be. In the past the teaching of geography
has been a mere imparting of a mass of facts, which have seemed to
possess no direct relation to life; by making the child’s own location a
focus round about which the available and necessary knowledge of the
world can be gathered in a more or less coherent fashion, the relation
of facts, which in themselves might seem remote and irrelevant to the
business of life, becomes more evident, and the entire study gains a new
vitality. This discussion is now trenching dangerously upon the province
of educational theory; but it is needful to emphasise how indispensable
it is that knowledge should not be, as it has so often been, allowed to
appear unconnected with the actual business of living in this world.
Even yet one may hear children asking in a bewildered way—“What on earth
is the use of my learning the height of Popocatapetl?” Or “what good is
it to know the length of the Yang-Tse-Kiang?” Information of this kind
has no doubt a certain fascination for some types of mind; but it may be
left for those minds to seek it out for themselves. The business of the
school is to make possible the acquisition of the knowledge which bears
upon the contribution which the pupil is expected to make to the
community. This is not to say that there is not knowledge which is
desirable for its own sake, or that the love of knowledge should not be
encouraged for what it brings. Moreover, soon or late all knowledge will
possess a social value. But the knowledge which is most valuable is that
which the individual acquires for himself; and the responsibility of the
school in this matter is to release and quicken the capacity for
independent and continuous acquisition of knowledge. But this
_desideratum_ is not in the least compromised or neglected by ordering
the acquisition of knowledge in the first instance with reference to the
actual business of social life.

It is the business of the educator to determine what the subject-matter
of the curriculum must be in order to give the pupil adequate knowledge
of the world in which he has to live; it is our business here simply to
stress the point that this knowledge shall be of a relevant and vital
kind. It should have to do not only with the physical features of the
world, but with social and political institutions and the like; and
indeed throughout it should have more to say about the ways than about
the places in which people live. But chiefly this aspect of the
educational process should aim to equip the pupil with the necessary
knowledge to enable him to acquire more knowledge through his own direct
experience of the world.

But this knowledge of the world as it is would be hopelessly inadequate
were it not connected with some knowledge of how the world came to be
what it is. Here again the subject-matter must be defined by the
experience of the educator. The business of this writing is to emphasise
the requirement that this knowledge of the past shall be ordered
conformably to the ultimate social fruitfulness of the pupil. In his
boyhood the present writer was required to study geology—at first sight
a somewhat irrelevant subject for a lad in his early teens. But he
happened to live in a district where slate-quarrying was the only
industry; and when he learnt that his bread and butter came from the
“Llandeilo Beds”; and that these same “beds” occupied a specific place
in a more or less orderly process of world-making, the study of geology
assumed a new interest. But its most important action was the awakening
of a dim sense of being an “heir of all the ages.” This feeling received
a very powerful reinforcement from another side. The writer well
remembers his first reading of the story of the Pilgrim Fathers.
Hitherto history had seemed to consist mainly of the puerile and
discreditable exploits of a succession of royal persons of whom none
were better than they should be; and he had wondered what on earth all
this had to do with a boy living among the Welsh mountains in the
nineteenth century. But the Pilgrims Fathers were different; here at
last was something that seemed to have a meaning, and it is easy to see
what that meaning would be to a lad whose upbringing had been in a
Strong Nonconformist tradition. It took long years to fill with a
connected content the interval between the sailing of the _Mayflower_
and the campaign for the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in
Wales; but from henceforth the lad knew that he stood in the succession
of a tradition that had made a difference to the world and that he owed
a very great deal to it.

The story of how we have come by our inheritance of freedom, of the
age-long upward struggle of mankind, this above all should furnish the
inspiration and the guidance for our service of the present. For this
reason, emphasis should be laid upon the history of peoples rather than
of states, upon the movement of social life rather than upon historical
biography. It seems hardly credible but it is strictly true that the
present writer left school without ever having heard of the Craft Guilds
of the Middle ages; or of the great tradition of ecclesiastical
architecture which enters so organically into the story of social
development in England. He had heard in a somewhat casual manner of Wat
Tyler and John Ball, and of other incidents which disturbed the normal
flow of royal intrigue and adventure; but of the story of the common
people he knew virtually nothing at all. Yet after all that is the
history that chiefly matters; and much has yet to be done to give it its
proper place in the school curriculum.

Whatever the subject-matter, its arrangement and presentation should be
so ordered as to inspire and enable the child to make a willing and
worthy contribution to the life of his community. But the social
emphasis in education, if it is to be true to itself and indeed to the
general history of mankind, must define society in wider terms than that
of the immediate community. Mr. Wells has told us that mankind has been
forever “pursuing the frontiers of its possible community.” Whether by
revolution within the commonwealth, by imperial expansion or by fusion
with other commonwealths, there has been an abiding impulse—erratic and
often perverse in its operations—to broaden the basis of human
fellowship. And in the present position of the world, there is nothing
so urgent as to quicken a social sympathy wide enough to embrace the
world. It is peculiarly the function of geography and history to serve
this purpose. Geography should assume that frontiers are the lines at
which peoples meet rather than part; and history should lay stress upon
the forces that have made for human unity rather than for national
power. If the writer may be permitted to indulge in a last personal
reminiscence, the tendency in the teaching of history in the past may be
illustrated by the fact that the outstanding impression left upon him by
the school history was that the French were the hereditary enemies of
the British; and it is something to the point to observe that the text
books of American history have in the past failed to lay proper emphasis
upon the circumstance that during the Revolutionary War the best mind of
England was on the side of the colonists. The gratuitous and
unhistorical prejudice which the traditional attitude in school history
has bred is not a little accountable for the divisive tempers that have
led to wars. To-day the shrinkage of the world has made this attitude
more than ever disastrous; and in view of our hope of a League of
Nations it is essential that geography and history in particular should
be treated as the opportunity for a general expansion of social


It is hardly necessary to point out that the conception of history which
is pleaded for here includes the history of thought, of art, and of
religion; and that so far as is possible, this history should be learnt
by direct recourse to its sources in the classic literature and art of
the past. But generous and comprehensive as the provision for acquiring
knowledge should be, the educational process has not finished its
business until it has habituated the youth to the task of using this
knowledge as the basis and material of independent thought. Democracy
faces no greater danger than the inability of the people to exercise a
critical judgment upon the voices that clamour for their suffrages; and
the experiences of war-time have shown that freedom is not inconsistent
with a very dangerous unreflective docility on the part of the public.
This danger is the greater when the staple of a people’s reading is the
daily press, which envelops men in the tumult and the clangour of
passing events without providing them with the longer perspective
necessary to a valid judgment. The power of the demagogue and the
tyranny of the press are to be mitigated only by an educational process
which does two things—first of all, provides a background of general
knowledge and interest, and second, turns out individuals able and
accustomed to think for themselves. And just because the life of
democracy requires free discussion, the school curriculum should contain
stated provision for the discussion of current matters, which would turn
out to be a powerful stimulant of independent thought, especially in its
critical aspects. The more constructive and sustained elements in
independent thought may be encouraged by a careful development of the
time-honoured method of the essay. But whatever the precise methods may
be, the aim must be the systematic encouragement of the habit of
independent thought; and in this connection, with proper safeguards
against putting a premium on “cussedness,” it is important that
dissenting and minority opinions, which whether right or wrong contain
some guarantee of independence, should be welcomed and valued as the
promise of ultimate social usefulness.


Important as the materials and methods of education are, we cannot
afford to forget that there are two other elements of our problem,
closely related to one another, which are in the end of greater
importance. The first of these is the teacher. It is not a gratuitous
slander upon the general body of teachers to say that the whole method
of recruiting teachers and the conditions of the teaching profession
tend to degrade teaching into a trade. A great deal needs to be done to
exalt the teacher’s office in the public mind; and the teaching
profession should be so honoured as to give it the first call upon the
human material in the community. As things are, it is far too much
regarded as a means of livelihood, comparatively easily qualified for,
and tolerably well remunerated; and the training required for admission
into the profession is quite inadequate. If only teaching were rightly
esteemed and its practitioners held in such honour as even judges, who
do a much inferior work, are held, it would be possible to exercise a
far more careful selection of persons suited by their temperamental and
moral characters for the work. For we have to look for something
infinitely greater than the successful communication of knowledge, or
the training of mental faculties. Robert Owen followed an essentially
sound instinct when, having established a school for infants in New
Lanark he put at the head of it a man who could neither read or write,
but who was familiar with birds and flowers and had “a way with him.”
Robert Louis Stevenson, writing of Wordsworth, says, “I do not know that
you learn a lesson. You need not agree with any of his beliefs; and yet
a spell is cast. Such are the best teachers. A dogma learned is only a
new error, the old one was perhaps as good. But a spirit communicated is
a perpetual possession. These best teachers climb beyond teaching to the
plane of art; it is themselves and what is best in themselves that they
communicate.” It was said during the education controversy in England
that some teachers taught more religion in an hour’s arithmetic lesson
than others did in a year of “religious instruction,” and the saying is
true. It is the spirit communicated that makes the difference between a
real and a spurious education.

Especially is this the case when we consider the business of education
from the point of view of social efficiency. For the prerequisite of
social efficiency is social vision, social passion; and this is
supremely a matter of contagion. For this reason, the true type of
teacher will be devoid of the pontifical, _ex-cathedra_ temper and will
rather seek out a relation of comradeship with his pupils. The form of a
democratic education will be essentially co-operative; and its spirit
will be that of fellowship. This brings us to the second outstanding
point of our discussion, namely, the question of “atmosphere.” Upon this
subject there is little more to be said than what is contained in
Professor Dewey’s dictum that the school should so far as possible be a
miniature of the society we desire to create. The creation of
“atmosphere” is of course specifically the task of the faculty; and the
eagerness and the enthusiasm of their participation in the more informal
amenities of school life is an important factor in the process. But most
of all is a genuine social passion in themselves the surest guarantee
that they will help in the making of socially creative and effective

Much is being said at the present time concerning the introduction of
military training into schools. It is worth notice in passing that Mr.
Fisher, the British Minister of Education, recently informed a
deputation of miners that the government had canvassed the question and
had decided that the innovation had neither educational nor military
value and would not be adopted. It is no doubt true that military
training would have a beneficial effect upon the physique of the boys;
but, quite apart from its dubious value for education and any subsequent
purpose, it must be observed that the genius of the military business is
intrinsically hostile to the development of the democratic ideals. For
the military organisation is a regimentation of men for power; it
entails the mechanisation of the human material and imposes a discipline
of uniformity upon those who are subject to it. Democratic education has
to do with life, and its genius moves in the direction of the largest
possible spontaneity and variation in the individuals with whom it has
to do. Moreover, military discipline introduces the authoritarian temper
into the atmosphere; and this is a temper altogether at variance with
the spirit of frank comradeship in which a democratic education should
be pursued. What advantages may accrue to the future in the shape of
improved physical health and strength in the community is more than
counter-balanced by the injection of an undemocratic virus into the
minds of those who are called to sustain the democracy of the future.

Nor is it impossible to compensate ourselves for the loss of physical
training consequent upon the rejection of military training. For there
are other ways of providing for physical efficiency; and those other
ways are more consistent with the aim of a democratic education. In the
sports field, for instance, you have at once an instrument of physical
training as well as a definite education in a team work, which does not
depend upon uniform and synchronous movements commanded from without,
but upon the intelligence and dexterity of the players themselves.
Moreover, the sports field affords an illustration of the proper use of
the competitive spirit. The military discipline has its eye upon
potential enemies to be destroyed; the sports discipline has its eye
upon rival teams of friends and thus always a cheer for the beaten team
in the end. It has been observed that the difference in temper between
the behaviour of the German and the English soldier was to be traced to
the fact that the football field had played a large part in the training
of the latter; and it is not unlikely that even the superior military
efficiency of the English soldier in the latter stages of the war has to
be attributed to the same circumstance. In any case, sportsmanship is
nearer akin to the spirit of democracy than the military discipline.

A plea has been made for military training on the ground that the rhythm
of its movements has a certain psychological value. That the place of
rhythm in education has been neglected is indeed true; and there is
little doubt that a more sustained attention to it would add much to
physical grace and the joy and beauty of life. The question, however,
remains whether the military rhythm which rests upon a principle of
regularity is likely to have the psychological effects proper to such
education as these pages contemplate. The rhythm of the folk-dance like
the rhythm of the ballad is a far more accurate version of the rhythm
which is natural to men and women; and the rhythm of Walt Whitman, which
is of the same order, reflects the genuine rhythm of democracy. The
Eurhythmics of Dalcroze, because they encourage a spontaneous
self-expression through the free rhythmical movement of the body promise
more for the future grace and beauty of democratic life than a military
discipline can from its very nature do.


The sum of the matter then is this, that the test of a true democratic
education lies in the quality and power of the social vision it evokes
in the growing child, in the measure of power and capacity it gives to
the child to share in the realisation of the vision, and in this sharing
to give to the child the inspiring and joyous promise of personal
self-fulfilment. Here we have tried only to sketch in very rough and
fragmentary outline what would appear to be the temper and the general
configuration of such an educational process; and much has been omitted
which naturally belongs to a full discussion of the subject. Of the
place of dramatic and symbolic activities in education, generous notice
should be taken in any extended treatment, for it is obvious, first of
all that the dramatic and the symbolic make a peculiar appeal to the
child, and second, that the social enthusiasm which it is our desire to
quicken can be quickened more effectively in no other way. There is one
point, however, upon which it might serve an immediate purpose to dwell.
The graduation ceremony in an American school provides a fitting close
to a school career; it rounds it off with dignity and solemnity. But
something more than this should be done—whether on leaving school or
college or trade school—in order to impress upon the individual that he
is passing into another world demanding other and more responsible
service. Some solemn ceremonial of initiation into the rights and
responsibilities of citizenship, accompanied by every circumstance of
gravity and reverence, should furnish the fitting close to the period of
training. At present we slip out into the business of life in a ragged
insignificant way. Our entry upon responsible citizenship should be
signalised by a great public observance which should serve the purpose
not only of launching the youth upon his course in life, but also of
reminding the rest of the community of its vows and its obligations to
the common life.[58]

Footnote 58:

  This discussion closes without any attempt to deal with the problem of
  education beyond the school age. The office of the University in
  democratic development is obviously large and important; but here
  again the writer confesses his inability to handle the subject
  adequately with any degree of confidence. Valuable suggestions
  concerning the social ministry of the University may be found in _The
  Coming Polity_, by Patrick Geddes and Victor Branford, especially in
  the chapter on “The University Militant.”




 ● Transcriber’s Notes:
    ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was silently corrected.
    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.
    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.
    ○ Text that was in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

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