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but of nations, and that implies that the complexion of political parties must be represented. The opposition of to-day may be the government to-morrow. Surely it is nothing but common sense to ask that the leaders of the opposition should remain in the closest personal touch with the affairs of the League.
The value of this participation does not end here. Everyone knows that even with the best will in the world, each legislature is enormously preoccupied with purely local affairs, and that its contact with international politics is meager. Yet the texture of diplomacy is largely made out of the acts of legislatures. If the world is to have peace and understanding some means must be found of creating a community of feeling between parliaments. They should have ways of debating with one another as well as within their own chambers. The opposition, no less than the administration, should have direct access to that subtle but decisive information which can be obtained only by being on the spot. Had Mr. Lodge been in Paris, studying the confidential reports, and talking to responsible European officials, had he been made to feel that what he thought really matters, as it undoubtedly does, he would insensibly have tended to forget that his rôle was officially that of opposing what Democrats propose. And when he returned to Washington Republican senators would have listened to him as they will never listen to Mr. Wilson. In other words, it is necessary to expose the opposition to the same influences, and the same information, if any settled national policy is to emerge. What is true of Mr. Lodge is equally true of the extreme left. The irreconcilable radical is ever so much less irreconcilable when he can express himself and when he has to share responsibility. Now the irreconcilable radical is a very considerable person in the modern world, and once he becomes convinced that the League is a secret manipulation he will be equally convinced that it is a sinister manipulation. Deny him the chance to protest and to advise, he will certainly attack and condemn.
It will be difficult enough in all conscience to secure harmony in a League when half the world is socialist and the other half anti-socialist. By calling in representatives of the elected parliaments this schism can be modified and an indispensable bridge built between the conservative governments and the more radical masses. M. Clemenceau, for example, loves France, but he will never have the confidence of Socialist Europe, and anything he does is suspect to it. But M. Thomas also loves France; yet he can converse with socialists. Mr. Henderson can work for understanding in groups when Mr. Lloyd George can produce only a rhetorical explosion. So if the League is not to find itself marooned on the dry sands of irrelevance it should take steps to introduce into its own structure the conciliatory influence of the opposition parties.
Conciliatory they are, and I do not see how any sane person could wish them to be anything else. Senator Lodge talks menacingly about building bridges across chasms to anarchy, but unless the bridges to moderate radicalism are maintained anarchy will follow. For there is just one sure protection against those things which Senator Lodge and most of the rest of us fear. That protection does not consist in playing the ostrich, nor does it consist in losing your head and trying to stamp on those who wish to
make life too decent to be the breeding place of anarchy. It consists in remembering the very wise remark of the British Prime Minister that he feared reaction more than Bolshevism. For everything depends on where you think the chasm is. If you think it begins at a line drawn sharply along the frontiers of Senator Lodge's mind, then I fear most of us will find ourselves on the other side of the chasm. But if you put the frontier far enough to the left so as to include that huge majority of men who want change, and are not yet blind with desperation, there is no reason to fear anarchy here. Bolshevism is extraordinarily easy to combat in a well-fed country, and its existence is a sign of disgraceful incompetence in the governing circles. Bolshevism arises only where rulers have made a botch of their duties, and one of the sure ways of making a botch of them is to close your mind to the loyal opposition.
THE League can be made the instrument by
which the disrooted populations of the world may readjust themselves peacefully. It can be. It may not be. If there is not enough imagination and courage applied to the policies for which the instrument is used, it is altogether probable that the complete collapse of established authority will follow. It is entirely true that if authority is to be preserved and the transition controlled, the Western powers will have to listen to those men whose minds are unpoisoned by their own fears and their own hates. The peril is too real for self-indulgence in the lazy repetition of war cries, and those who are really bent on preserving the order of the world cannot allow themselves to be silenced by those moral terrorists who are pretending to save civilization by dividing it.
The hope of world order to-day is confronted