« ПретходнаНастави »
acter, particularly in the favoured of some prominence in politics, who classes, and its drawbacks in the way before our entry into the war stoutly of inhuman competition, industrial championed the idea assumed in exploitation, wastefulness, and the Lord Rhondda's obiter dictum, has cultivation of greed, have often been within the past year given two sons pointed out, and cannot be discussed to the cause of the nation and literhere. To-day the question is an ur ally worked himself to death in its gent one whether democracy is behalf ! The actual truth vaguely wedded to thoroughgoing individual apprehended in the common selfish ism, that is, individualism unbal. view appears to be, that men who anced by equally strong social inter have no more interesting goals before ests; whether "government of the them will naturally take to the adpeople, by the people, and for the
ventures of private gain. Slackers and people” inevitably means selfishness other weaklings apart, men must have established as the reigning order in an outlet for their energies; and, in politics and business. *
lack of a higher end which has apThat question may easily go by peal for them, they will inevitably default on the individualistic side, if
pursue a lower one. But the world critical patriotism does not insist abounds in evidence, and perhaps upon a rational decision. Recently,
never more than to-day, that there for example, a cable despatch re. are things which men, regardless of ported Lord Rhondda, food con class, value more than the recruiting troller in Great Britain, as declaring of their pockets. The real problem in that he intends to play socialist for both ethics and politics is to bring the remainder of the war, but will these higher interests into the field then go back to individualism. “I of life. believe," he adds, “that the driving If this is true of men individually, force in human affairs is selfishness. why should it be different with them No doubt matters were so arranged collectively? Is it urged that democby a discerning Providence"!-a re racies have arisen as reactions from mark which shows how easy it is governmental oppression; that they for a British aristocrat to share the are outcomes and expressions of reKaiser's comfortable assurance that volt from authority, and therefore the order of things which puts him stand for the individual as opposed in the dominant class is divine. It is to the collective interest? This argucurious how this assumption of self ment evidently applies only to the ishness as the inevitable dynamic of first stages of democratic developlife persists in the field of practical ment. It is a pertinent consideration politics after it has been overthrown enough as regards the new Russia; and banished in the field of ethics. but what native American is individMen who would scorn the domination ualistic through his personal reaction of greed in their own private lives from tyranny? Whatever may be true continue to maintain that of course of our adopted citizens, the nativeother men must be under that domi- born appear to be individualists, and nation. For instance, an American too often thoughtless and selfish in
dividualists, more through tradition *If, as is often maintained, selfish indi. vidualism is, in the last analysis, the real
and suggestion than any other cause. American policy, then the motto on our
That kind of life constituted the way coins raises the question whether we do not of their fathers; it is the way of the trust in God (if, indeed, we do!) because we men in their vicinage; and it is will not trust one another; and whether it adopted and followed with little real sentiments in the frank maxim, “Every enough thought as to whether some man for himself.”
other way may not be more rational.
Without taking up the issue be pose than that of keeping our policetween individualism and socialism, man government as decent as possibeyond expressing the faith that ble? Shall we like sheep all go human intelligence can find a via astray again, turning "every man to media preferable to either of these his own way”? This will quite cerextremes, I wish to point out the tainly be the outcome, if we do not need of a supreme national interest, take effective means to the contrary ; or ideal, as a greatly needed factor that is, find some effective progresin our American life. That a definite sive interest to draw us on to new aim is needful for success in personal endeavours. affairs is a familiar truth. "Aimless To what then shall we turn? World activity" and "an aimless life” are peace is an impressive objective just terms of reprobation in common use. now, but it will not suffice as an abidA worthy goal kept in view is what ing aim; for it is a negative interest, forefends vacillation and waste and and so commanding only in times of what incites, inspires, and releases stress. Nor is there anything in mere latent potencies. Teleology, however peace to prevent internal decay and disputable in cosmology and physics, rottenness, as we see in the wideis firmly established in biology, psy. spread official corruption of China, chology, and ethics. Nothing that that most pacific of empires. That the lives can be adequately accounted for German militarists exaggerate this without reference to ends served by truth is no proof that it is not a truth. its functions. Aristotle long ago made Neither will our great task of the this truth the corner-stone of his nineteenth century, that of subduing ethics; and St. Paul, we remember, our part of the continent, suffice. declared that “we are saved by hope, Abundant scope for physical progress that is, through the incitement of a in our land still exists, of course, but desired and expected end.
such possible progress is no longer Now, a nation is, also, a thing of great enough relatively, nor urgent life, an organism in a real, if not a enough, to absorb the nation's enerliteral, sense—a great unitary human gies in a dominant way, and to congroup with a rational internal struc stitute its prime task to the suborture, far reaching, mutually serving dination of other interests. functions, and distinctive needs and Certainly no doctrinaire or utopipurposes. No more than an indi an ideal will meet our needs. Anglovidual can such an organism thrive Saxons, unlike the French of 1789, without an aim, a seriously chosen and the Russians of 1917, cannot take end, which shall call forth its ener a dream-born programme seriously, gies, direct its course, and satisfy its Our objectives must be in some real aspirations. And what is the aim, or touch with our experience; they must ideal, of the United States of Amer be the outgrowth of things which we ica? At present, since we realise (at know because we have tried them, the eleventh hour) that our liberties and in which in a measure our interand our security are seriously est is already aroused. Nor will any menaced from abroad, we are sub- predominantly altruistic ideal win stantially one in our determination and hold the devotion of our people. to defend ourselves to the utmost; Egoism-not selfishness, be it obwhich, indeed, is well. But in the served—is strongly intrenched in nature of the case this collective end American life. International altruwill be transitory. What shall we ism would wear the aspect of knightlive for when the war is over? For errantry to our people--something to mere individual advantage once be relegated to foreign missionaries more? With no higher collective pur and an occasional Chinese Gordon.
Even Americans of altruistic temper ply developing the implicit ideals in would perceive that a philanthropic our past and present interests, and foreign policy would be fruitful in enlarging their scope to correspond suspicions and antagonisms on the with our new national estate, as no part of other peoples, whereas a longer a provincial people but a policy to be truly American, con world power. Liberty, for example, ceived, let us say, in the spirit of properly means more than mere abAmerica's welcome to the foreign
sence of external restraint and conborn, must be nationally inclusive, straint-a negative condition. To our with a fraternal welcome for the fel. new citizens from abroad it means low-activity, whether emulative or more very emphatically; and, when co-operative, of other peoples. they do not find that “more," they Of course, the chosen end must
give a harsh report of us. True have charm, and that too for all our
liberty stands for something positive, many diverse classes and racial ele for opportunity, industrial as well as ments. It must have practical aspects
political, for personal achievement for the men of affairs, promise of
and the satisfaction of desires. social advance and betterment for the
Democracy, too, is more than the progressive-minded, and ästhetic and
mere rule of the people, a "more" emotional possibilities for the moral
which is suggested in Lincoln's idealists. Moreover, in contrast to the
memorable words, "government Utopias, it must be a policy rather
for the people.” That "for” points than an established condition--a line
to popular welfare, and in the widest, of action toward an onward moving
most progressive sense. So in the case type of life, a type including all our
of the ideal involved in our fathers' worthy interests and aptitudes, and
task of subduing the wilderness--the capable of assimilating new interests
American application of the ancient as these arise and of adjusting itself
Biblical commission to "replenish to the new facts of a developing
the earth and subdue it, and have world.*
dominion"—the conception of mind. Is such an aim, so variously char.
wrought progressive welfare of men
and women has been the chief factor. acterised, possible? I venture to
The industrial winning of the land think that it may be framed by sim
has meant farms and cities and *It may be well to add that the national
homes all the satisfactions of civil. policy should be frankly avowed; for a
ised life. vague diplomacy is easily regarded by for What more do Americans need in eign governments as intriguing or even per the way of a national end of endeavfidious. There is reason to think that one source of our success with the “Monroe
our for the future than just these Doctrine” has been our outspokenness, which
aims enlarged and universalised? ? has enabled other nations to count upon They are not ideals which have lost our course with confidence and govern their their appeal to human nature; but action accordingly. It is not unlikely that had Great Britain been committed to the
surely the field of their application defence of Belgium and the support of
has been vastly expanded. Within France in recent and clearly authoritative our own borders our great task is still utterances, the present war would have been
the full realisation of liberty. The averted, at least for a considerable period; and it is highly probable that Germany positive and larger meaning of that would not have resorted to ruthless sub
word must be worked out into fact marine war last year, if the course our intelligently and patiently through a nation would take thereupon had been placed beyond doubt in advance. As it was, ing individual opportunity in indus
system of provisions for ever enlargowing to our unpreparedness and the prevalent doctrinaire pacifism, President Wilson's try and commerce, in science and art. warnings were not taken seriously.
If, when need arises, the body of the
people are to fight for liberty, it must through roads and railways, ship be made sufficiently valuable to them canals and irrigation ditches, im. to be worth fighting for. It must proved methods of farming, manufacstand for precious things in the ex ture, and trade, as well as through perience of the average citizen. But schools and churches, science and art, this task, while it is in a special the forum and the press. There is sense our own, is not, and should not properly no conflict between the be, merely for our own benefit. spirit of material progress and the America is the world's great experi spirit of blessing; indeed, the former mental field in freedom, and the may be merely the latter in actioninterest of the world in our results social service in jumper and overalls. should never be forgotten.
Of course, material welfare is not When we turn to man's conquest identical with the ethical ideal. of nature, and that conquest of social Nevertheless, as Aristotle long ago relations in the interest of all which pointed out and social workers have we call democracy, the world inter- rediscovered, some measure of phys. est is even plainer. We cannot any ical well-being is for most men the longer keep to ourselves in easy and essential condition of a growing and often ignoble provincialism. Willing worthy personality; and, when or unwilling we are world citizens. democratically distributed, it is a Should we not, then, in loyalty to our needful, and at times very potent, best traditions, be progressive citi. agency for enlarged and refined in zens, putting our shoulder manfully terests. Irrigation canals have, and generously to the task of develop- literally enough, been means of mening the world for human welfare? tal development and larger life in Is it urged that the proposed policy Egypt and India. In such situations is too ideal to appeal to the majority the engineer at times effects more, of our people? The objection holds spiritually, than the missionary. Now, only when the world development is in the promotion of such enterprises, conceived preponderantly in ethical such campaigns for human dominion and abstract outlines. That limitation, over nature, if the purpose is only however-the vision as etching rather fraternal and democratic and not than as painting-is quite uncalled dominating and exploitative, we have, for. The ethical factor-the pursuit or may have, a form of international. of the fullest life for all men as deter ism which is in no needful conflict mined by the possibilities of their with sound nationalism on the part of diverse natures-must indeed be the co-operating peoples, and which present and dominant; but, on the does assuredly appeal to the con. other hand, intelligent endeavour in structive mind and swelling energies that direction requires that every of practical Americans. form of human interest be given ade Ās to the more idealistic classes, quate scope for expression. The good those interested in politics, liberal of man as discerned by constructive culture, and religion, it seems too mind is necessarily to be achieved obvious to call for discussion that the
policy suggested is one to enlist their *Is it needful to explain that "ethical”
interest and co-operation. Surely full does not necessarily mean or involve either conventional morality or altruism-say, of
many among us after the war, espethe St. Francis type? Action for the common
cially if they are influenced by the good will define the word sufficiently for
fine attitude of President Wilson in the present discussion, and that is a prin his recent state papers, will feel the ciple which economics magnifies likewise,
urge of noblesse oblige, prompting teaching us that only those forms of industry and commerce which are mutually beneficial them, as citizens of the richest, strong. can be lasting and progressive.
est, and best situated nation (because
free from the traditional entangle opportunities, rises before the mind ments and aristocratic counter forces for the years to come, is that of a of Europe) to promote, help on, and fraternal leader nation in world civil. often lead in the great tasks of recon- isation; a power quick to co-operate struction which, before long, will with sister states in the establishment face mankind. One of the first of of that full dominion of the earth these tasks, soon to be urgent, is that by man (to which Germany would of so re-enforcing the rational and drive us in order that her own throne democratic forces in the coming may be exalted), and ready, too, to peace settlement that there shall be join with like-minded peoples in no treaty sanctioning of national or curbing viciously disposed' tribes racial or class injustices—roots of fu (even when they boast of their ture poison trees!—but instead there kultur) when these menace the peace shall be established, in the words of and welfare of mankind. It is the Arthur Henderson, the English la vision of America participating bour leader, some “society of nations whole-heartedly in a future progrespledged to maintain peace and demo- sive world order primarily concerned cratic freedom.” It is most signifi. with material prosperity achieved cant that some of the best of the through enterprises of law, commerce, Entente leaders look to us for this and engineering, but so socially anikind of service. Mr. Henderson, mated that all the humanities-arts, the accredited representative of in- sciences, and ethical religions-apterests assuredly practical and not pear increasingly as its natural exutopian-continues, “European de pression. The school teacher shall mocracy calls to the democracy of follow the flags of commerce, and America, as the deep calls to the find pupils along the new irrigation deep, to prevent the war aims of the ditches, and the journalist, the Allies from being transformed into a prophet, and the poet traverse civilprogramme of conquest and annexa. isation's highways through the juntion," and to aid “in making the gles as bearers of friendly incitement Allied victory a real victory for to isolated and backward peoples. popular liberty and democratic Such a national aim is the worthy ideals.” And Gilbert Murray, in his consummation of our past developNew Year's message to us, says that ment. To such a national aim may America “will help the great mass in well be applied the words of Washthe allied nations, which is also dis. ington at the opening of the original interested, against the small and vio constitutional convention: “Let us lent sections which are not. . . . raise a standard to which the wise She will help us to remember that and honest can repair—the event is ... we must wage war, not in rage in the hand of God.” Let our motto or vainglory, nor in any form of cov- be, not that narrow and exclusive etousness, but in a burning pity for one favoured by some, America for the wrongs of mankind.”
Americans, but that larger and far To conclude: the ideal of America more progressive one, The Earth for which, when her national interests Man. There will then be no preof the past are reinterpreted in the sumption in adding, “In God We light of her new powers and new Trust."
lent will hellet wage any form